As you may know, Lima is a huge city, over 9 million people live here and it came as a surprise that I had not seen even 1 cemetery. Not that I am fascinated with death like some Americans, but I have always found cemeteries to be very interesting, especially old cemeteries, and I knew there had to be one somewhere. I asked my program coordinator where we could find one and she offered my group a tour by NIGHT of Lima’s oldest cemetery.
The tour began at 7 pm when it had just gotten dark and it was done on an open bus, so of course my group chose to sit on the top/open part of the bus, which was really cool. The cemetery was about a half hour from where we began and it was interesting to pass through districts by night, we started in Miraflores which is a nice, richer district, and ended up in La Victoria which is Lima’s poorest district. Seeing the change in scenery and people was very interesting.
Once we got to the cemetery I already knew we were in for quite a thrilling adventure. The cemetery was opened in 1808 and there are around 800 mausoleums as well as another 800 or so tombs on the premises, many of which are occupied by the bodies of deceased priests, heroes of war, and important literary and political figures.
What surprised me is that when I told my host family about the cemetery they had never visited it, and gave me the impression that it wasn’t very interesting, but I found it extremely interesting and incredible.