The term cemetery tourism may sound strange to many people. After all, funeral subjects and places of burial are not usually on the agenda of vacation trips or city tours. However, observing and visiting cemeteries is much more common than may be reflected in the popular imagination.
Some examples are the historic Parisian necropolis Père-Lachaise, considered one of the most pop cemeteries in the world. The place has about two million tourist visits every year. There you can see references to the tomb architecture, part of French history, and visit famous gravesites such as those of the singer Jim Morrison or the writer Oscar Wilde. In Latin America, La Recoleta, located in the neighborhood of the same name in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, is one of the most visited tourist cemeteries in the country. Filled with sumptuous works of art, it has illustrious burials, such as the iconic Argentine first lady Evita Perón.
And speaking of Brazil, many of our cemeteries are second to these famous necropolises in any artistic aspect. Besides the high architectural and artistic quality, many of these spaces show us the history of these cities and states right before our eyes.
Some of these cemeteries already have guided tours to guide visitors, researchers, and historians interested in this legacy so rich in regional narratives, arts, information, curiosities, and biographies. Check them out!
Saint John the Baptist
In service since 1852, São João Batista Cemetery is also known as the ?cemetery of the famous? In its 192 thousand square meters it gathers beautiful tombs and artistic mausoleums focused on the Catholic sacred culture.
Among its 35,000 interred are great personalities of national history such as Carmen Miranda, Cazuza, Nara Leão, Santos Dumont, Cecília Meireles, Tom Jobim, Cândido Portinari, Zuzu Angel and other personalities such as singers, writers, actors and noblemen, scientists and politicians. In 2015, it was the first cemetery in Latin America to gain its virtual map and receive online visits through Google Street View.
Address: Rua General Polidoro, S/N, Botafogo. Rio de Janeiro-RJ.
Phone: (21) 3217-3182
The São Pedro de Alcântara Cathedral began to be built in 1884 to replace the modest main church of Petrópolis at the request of Dom Pedro II and his daughter, Princess Isabel.
Its neo-Gothic project was conceived by the Bahian architect and engineer Francisco Caminhoá, following the molds of the main European cathedrals, and its conclusion was only finished in mid 1969, after the Proclamation of the Republic.
Currently there are the remains of Emperor Pedro II and Empress Dona Tereza Cristina (brought from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro in 1921) and also those of Princess Isabel and her husband, Count D'eu (buried there in 1971), forming the Imperial Mausoleum.
Address: Rua São Pedro de Alcântara 60, Petrópolis - RJ
Phone: (24) 2242-4300
JK Memorial - Brasília
The JK Memorial is not a conventional cemetery in the Federal District (as in the case of Campo da Esperança, where the flow of burials and tributes with wreath in Brasilia is intense).
In this masterpiece conceived by Oscar Niemeyer are the mortal remains of president Juscelino Kubitschek, creator of the new Brazilian capital - and one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering of the 20th century.
Inaugurated on September 12, 1981, the memorial houses not only JK's official tomb, but a complete museum dedicated to him and his family's history through a beautiful photographic collection, furniture, and personal objects of a man ahead of his time. Its curatorship and interior have a very striking presentation, obeying the modern and timeless artistic protocol at the height of the Plano Piloto.
Address: Praça do Cruzeiro, Eixo Monumental - Brasília -DF
phone: (61) 3225-9451
Considered a true open-air museum, the Consolação Cemetery is one of the necropolises that resemble the luxurious European cemeteries. In activity since 1858, it was protected by the Conselho de Defesa do Patrimônio HIstórico do Estado de São Paulo and houses a cultural project of visitation maintained by the Programa Memória e Vida.
There are some of the greatest works of tomb art in the world, with sculptures and cemetery architecture projects commissioned by the greatest national and international artists of the time. This was the demand of the rich families from São Paulo in the XIX and XX centuries, portraying the great economic development of the period.
Among the historical figures and personalities buried in the Consolação Cemetery are the Marquesa de Santos (benefactor of the construction of the chapel), Tarsila do Amaral, Mário de Andrade, Emílio Ribas, Cândido Fontoura, the first lady Ruth Cardoso among many other artists, industrialists, such as the Matarazzo's, politicians and noblemen.
Campo Santo Cemetery - Salvador
Being the only cemetery in Salvador between 1840 and 1856, Campo Santo Cemetery is the oldest in the city and tells part of the region's important history, as it is full of tomb artworks that accompany historical passages.
Its construction marked the end of burials in churches, a sanitary movement common to the inauguration of most of the first public cemeteries in Brazil. Its main gate and part of the cathedral were even depredated by the population in an episode known as "Cemiterada".
Administered by Santa Casa de Misericórdia da Bahia since 1840, the necropolis preserves its historical features allied to a new modern wing, conceived advanced with environmental technologies and futuristic design.
Address: Largo do Campo Santo, s/n. Salvador - BA
Phone: (71) 2203-9777