Cemetery dos Prazares

Cemetery dos Prazares (29)

The cemetery “dos Prazares” forms part of the historic patrimony of Lisbon and holds great cultural, leisure and informative value.  

Despite leisure activities not normally being associated with cemeteries, the reality in this case is that interesting guided visits are given here that take in a variety of themes; from the symbolism of death to professions, masonry and famous individuals.

Though if what you would really like is to discover the nooks and crannies of this cemetery for yourself, you are free to get lost among its seventy symmetrically placed passages.

Located in the west of the city at tram number 28’s last stop, the cemetery “dos Prazares” was built in 1833, after a devastating outbreak of cholera. The ease with which the disease spread and high death rates resulted in the authorities banning funerals in churches, chapels or convents’ cloisters.

To provide a viable solution to this problem, two cemeteries were built, one on each side of the city. That of “dos Prazares”, located to the west, was used for members from the wealthier Lisbon neighbourhoods. 

Maybe that is why you can find mausoleums, pantheons and exceptionally designed tombs, given that they belonged to some of the most important families of the capital.

Musicians, poets, actors, soldiers, painters and businessmen are all buried in this strangely named cemetery, which in English means ´Cemetery of the Pleasures`. The great Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa laid here until 1985 but now lies buried in the cloister of the Jerónimos monastery, in the district of Belém.

During a walk here, you can go right up to the cemetery’s higher end where a fine view of the river and “Alcántara” area is available.

What’s more, you will be constantly surprised by the sculptures displayed in some mausoleums, decorated with strange figures like those outside the pantheon of Lieutenant General Pedro Folque, who lies inside a kind of fort made of towers and battlements. 

Others are far more modest than the general’s but have equally lovely details. This is the case of various pantheons with windows covered by crocheted curtains, a front garden with gate and entrance door and matching table and chairs, just like in any normal house. 

Without doubt, this cemetery makes a fascinating and charming place to walk.

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