Mérida’s main cemetery (Cementerio General) first began operation in 1821, when Lieutenant Felipe Trejo became its first “tenant”. Before that, Mérida citizens went to the neighborhood churches to bury their dead; and when a government decree ruled that cemeteries be established outside the city limits, the cemetery was established on a piece of land which belonged to a hacienda.
This historic site has told the story of the end of the lives of Mérida citizens for more than 200 years; although today there are other cemeteries as well, this was the only one for many years. Here you will see many different styles of structures: neoclassic, eclectic, Greek, Gothic, French, made out of stone or granite brought from Europe by the families made wealthy by henequen production.
While walking through the cemetery, take note of the fact that the buildings at the gravesites are of the same architectural style as the houses where the dead used to live, as a way to make the transition from life to death a little easier.
The free night tours of the Cementerio General take place every Wednesday at 8 pm. This is an excellent way to learn more about Mérida’s history, and about funeral rites that took place from pre-Hispanic times until today. You can hear stories about people, legends, and traditions, as well as appreciate the architectural styles of the tombs and mausoleums.
During the 50-minute tour, guide Wilbert Sosa Gutiérrez, who has worked at the cemetery for more than 15 years, will entertain you with anecdotes and stories, blending facts and legends; a delicious attraction for locals and visitors. Don’t hesitate to ask everything you want to know about the cemetery; every question triggers a new astonishing anecdote.
Don’t miss the “Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres” (rotunda of illustrious men), where you will find the remains of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, first socialist governor of Yucatán. You will also see the wall against which he was executed by a firing squad in 1924, still standing in the cemetery today. You can also visit mausoleums of politicians, composers, teachers, and other important people in the history of Yucatán. A unique experience in which you can learn about the heritage of our city!
The tours continue during the month of October. Click here to learn more about Day of the Dead activities.
The tours begin at the main house located inside the cemetery.
Calle 81A x 90, Centro
By Violeta H. Cantarell
With information from the Ayuntamiento de Mérida
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