Cementerio General

While some may think it’s morbid, I love walking through cemeteries in other countries. I really learn a lot about a country and its culture by doing this. I also think it’s interesting to see how cultures pay tribute to their dead.

The most historic cemetery in Santiago is Cementerio General, and I visited it twice over the past two months. It was founded in 1821 and almost every leader of Chile is buried there along with lots of famous Chileans. I think it’s definitely worth visiting once you finish with the main attractions in town.

Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Main entrance

Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Cementerio General

Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Cementerio General

The cemetery is very well signposted with each “street” named after an important figure buried on it, making it very easy to find certain graves. Most of the famous Chileans are buried pretty close to the main entrance.

Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Cementerio General

Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Cementerio General

Walking through the cemetery, the graves of the wealthy citizens are incredible, many built in the style of Greek, Roman, or Egyptian temples. I even found some in the Moorish style. Some of the graves had creepy statues on them.

Egyptian temple tomb at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Egyptian temple tomb

Moorish palace tomb at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Moorish palace tomb

Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Cementerio General

The most famous person to be buried in the cemetery is Salvador Allende. He was the president of Chile at the time of the 1973 Military Coup and committed suicide at Palacio de La Moneda. His remains were moved here in 1990 after the end of the Pinochet military dictatorship. It’s the most visited tomb in the entire cemetery and features a slab of granite with an excerpt of his farewell speech etched into it.

Tomb of Salvador Allende at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Tomb of Salvador Allende

Tomb of Salvador Allende at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Tomb of Salvador Allende

There are several pantheons dedicated to certain groups of Chilean society, such as military leaders, firefighters, police officers, and even football players.

Carabineros de Chile at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Carabineros de Chile

Societe Francaise at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Societe Francaise

Colo Colo footballers tomb at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Colo Colo footballers tomb

Among the famous Chileans buried in Cementerio General are several presidents, generals, authors, and more. The presidents include Manuel Montt, Pedro Montt, José Manuel Balmaceda, and Manuel Baquedano.

Tomb of Manuel Montt at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Tomb of Manuel Montt

Tomb of Pedro Montt at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Tomb of Pedro Montt

Tomb of José Manuel Balmaceda at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Tomb of José Manuel Balmaceda

Tomb of Manuel Baquedano at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Tomb of Manuel Baquedano

Chilean founding father Manuel Rodríguez, former vice president Luis Barros Borgoño, and Venezuelan-born educator Andrés Bello are also buried in the cemetery.

Tomb of Manuel Rodríguez at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Tomb of Manuel Rodríguez

Tomb of Luis Barros Borgoño at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Tomb of Luis Barros Borgoño

Tomb of Andres Bello (right) at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Tomb of Andres Bello (right)

While it’s great to see the tombs of the elite, it’s important to see how normal citizens are buried. They really make good use of limited space. It looks like they are buried in multi-level apartment blocks, and some of the graves are beautifully decorated.

Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Cementerio General

Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Cementerio General

Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Cementerio General

Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Cementerio General

Reading the names on the headstones throughout the cemetery is also interesting. It shows how cosmopolitan Chile is.

Polish names at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Polish names

Druze Society at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Druze Society

One monument not to be missed is the memorial to those who lost their lives during the military coup and dictatorship, and those who were executed for political reasons. It’s closest to the Cementerios metro stop entrance.

Political victims memorial at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Political victims memorial

Political victims memorial at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Political victims memorial

Political victims memorial at Cementerio General in Santiago de Chile

Political victims memorial

To reach the cemetery, you have two options via metro, both on the Yellow Line. One of them, Cementerios, drops you off at an entrance, but not the main entrance. If you want to enter through the main entrance, you can get off at either Cementerios or Cerro Blanco and walk about 15 minutes.

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