barcelona · cementery · mysterious corners · spain

A walk through the city of the dead

IMG_20150327_185053IMG_20150327_184435Visiting a graveyard may seem a strange thing to do if you are not actually visiting someone close to you and who now rests there. Nevertheless, Barcelona’s main cemetery is kind of a tourist attraction. Many times I heard it was worth a visit before I finally decided to go there and, to be honest, it was not at all what I expected.

Shortly after I had passed the huge entrance gate, I felt like I just walked into a different world. The cemetery is like a small city of the dead. There are hundreds of miniature buildings looking like tiny cathedrals, churches, and houses. The cemetery has a number of squares with benches, trees, Mediterranean plants and flowers, and you can find many art sculptures, antique statues, and the like. It feels a little bit surreal to stroll through the streets of this city of the dead.


The first thing I noticed is that there are numerous statues of angels that are watching over particular graves. You can immediately tell who was once wealthy and who was not. Some of the dead city’s inhabitants dwell in small modernist palaces and mausoleums surrounded by sculptures, others only have a window in one of the many high walls.

One particular sculpture that immediately calls one’s attention is that of a skeleton covered in blankets lying on a robust stone coffin. It felt strange to walk among the tombs, somehow creepy but also fascinating and overwhelming.


The cemetery is huge. It starts at the food of the city mountain and goes up all the way to the top. The whole place covers an area of 56 hectares. Although a quite unusual place to go, it is definitely worth seeing even if you are not visiting any of its eternally resting inhabitants.


The city cemetery is located at the back side of the city mountain, the Montjuic (‘Jewish mountain’). You need to take the bus to get to the main entrance in Zona Franca. It’s about a 15 minutes ride from Plaza España.

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