Mérida, Yucatán, (October 05, 2021).- With more than 25 thousand vaults, ossuaries, and mausoleums, the General Cemetery of Mérida turned 200 years old. It began operating in 1821 and is one of the oldest in the country.
It is located in what were the lands of the Xcojolté cattle ranch, in the then Camino Real to the State of Campeche, so during all this time, it has accumulated stories both for the characters that are buried there and for their buildings.
In the pantheon, sculptures such as gigantic angels, crosses, musical instruments, emblems of renowned professionals, and funeral inscriptions stand out.
As part of the commemoration of the 200 years of history, culture, and tradition of the General Cemetery, the commemorative plaque was unveiled alluding to the bicentennial of this pantheon, the only one that despite its age continues to function as such.
As part of this celebration, the Mérida City Council will resume the serenades, but in the “Rotonda de los hombres ilustres” (Roundabout of Illustrious Men), where the remains of great Yucatecan musicians, such as Ricardo Palmerín and Guty Cárdenas, rest. The General Cemetry honors music, art, and science in this city.
During the municipal administration 2012-2015, the site was declared Historical Heritage, and in this framework, the first step was taken to start a series of works to promote culture and art, as well as to publicize the activities that are carried out, in order to give the General Cemetery a life beyond just being a meeting point between the living and the dead.
The setting up of this cemetery in 1821 was considered an unpopular measure in its time, since people, especially those who had resources, used to be buried in churches, and they disliked the idea of being buried outside religious temples and with people of all social classes.
Now, 200 years later, in this city of the dead, people of all ideologies lie, in an environment of tolerance and great diversity in this space considered historical heritage.
Among the characters buried there is Alma Reed, an American journalist who worked as a correspondent in Mexico. She became famous for her intervention in saving the life of a young Mexican, a minor, accused of murder and sentenced to death in that state of his country. His action led the Californian legislature to issue a law that prohibited the application of the death penalty to minors.
She worked for the New York Times as a correspondent in Mexico, and by 1923, her professional work took her to Yucatán, accompanying an expedition of American archaeologists and anthropologists to carry out an evaluation and propose the rescue of the Maya archaeological sites in the region.
During her stay in Yucatán, she met the governor of Yucatán, the revolutionary Felipe Carrillo Puerto, with whom it is said to have established a sentimental relationship. It is alleged that the melody and the famous song of “Peregrina”, the work of the poet Luis Rosado Vega, with music by Ricardo Palmerín, has stood as testimony to this romance.
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