A couple of days ago Alex Proimos, iCat fellow for Ciudad Saludable, and me set out to visit the old lima cemetery called “Presbitero Matías Maestro” which was a great and eye-opening experience.
We took a cab to the cemetery, for about 15 soles, and ended up at the main entrance or door #4 according to the layout of the place. Here the guard directed us 3 blocks down to the main office where we could buy our entries and picture permits.
We set out to walk the 3 blocks when our taxi driver honked several times at us and called us back to the taxi. He gave us a warning about the zone being very dangerous to walk around, warning that latter was confirmed by the lady at the cemetery office; she even walked us to the nearest gate to secure our entrance to the place.
In this little walk the office lady told us that this cemetery dated back to the 18th century, and is the resting place of many of Peru’s national heroes and VIP’s. It used to be open to the public but they closed it down to stop thieves from stealing the marble, bronze and other valuables from the tombs. Unfortunately it is not a very touristic place mainly because the dangerous area where is located, a fact that is too sad because it’s a very fascinating place filled with history and myths.
In light of this I wanted to share 3 of the most memorable things and reasons why you should visit this hidden jewel of Lima.
Nation’s Heroes Tomb: The resting place of the nation’s heroes that fought in the war against Chile. This is an impressive mausoleum/chapel. Unfortunately to get access you need to go and ask the military office so a soldier comes and opens the door.
Little Ricardito: This little kid named Ricardo, is believed to grant miracles and it counts with a lot of people that believes in him and comes to his grave to care for it, pray, leave offers and thank you notes. This is where you get to see the mix of faith and folklore in the culture of the country.
A place to face dark magic: A very creepy but interesting place is the mausoleum that belongs to the Goyeneche family, said to be worth the same as 3 ferraris, and sadly one of the most affected tombs by the pillage of graves. It is here where shamans and witches used to do their spells, many involving animal sacrifices, and you can still see the traces where they splat the blood of the animals all over the place, also the guards of the place don’t want to clean it up out of fear (a smart move if you ask me).
This place is truly a jewel of history, where tradition and myth coexists so perfectly, sadly trapped in not-tourist-friendly zone but if you take some cautions is a trip worth taking.
You can check out the full album of this trip on Picasa, enjoy
For more about my journey in social entrepreneurship check An MBA without borders