A Fascinating Cemetery
Built For Royalty
The Granada Cemetery – Granada, Nicaragua
Located on the outskirts of colonial Granada is an extravagant cemetery sprawling with grand mausoleums, marble tombs and detailed religious sculptures. Rumored to be Central America’s oldest known cemetery it was used mostly between 1876 and 1922 during the city’s wealthiest years. The cemetery’s wealthiest spared no expense to show off their status even in death.
The cemetery is located 1 mile from the city’s central square, about a 30 minute walk through some sketchy streets and you’ll be greeted by open gates welcoming you to venture inside.
The cemetery is also the final resting place of six Nicaraguan presidents including the first official president Fruto Chamorro. A large finely sculpted and well landscaped memorial to these former presidents is one of the first you pass by after entering. Adding to the lavishness is an 1880 neoclassical stone building Chapel of Spirits (Capilla de Animas), a scaled version of the French chapel of the same name. Further inside is a scaled version of the Notre Dame cathedral.
Walking further into the cemetery a security guard noticed my presence. We exchanged nods and smiles and as I explored beyond the main entry deeper into the grounds he took it upon himself to shadow behind – either for my protection or that of the cemetery’s residents I am unsure.
Inside the style shifts from large tombs of the wealthiest to towering statues engraved with the family name. Lying on the far edges is the absence of expensive tombstones, with some graves marked only by decaying wood grave markers. The beautiful Mombacho volcano is seen in the background and all of the inhabitants here are surrounded by beautiful green forest – not a terrible place to rest in peace.