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Necrópolis de Colón

This sprawling cemetery is the final resting place of city residents and notable people from Cuban history, including the independence leader General Máximo Gómez.

Take a poignant walk around the streets of the village-like Necrópolis de Colón (Christopher Columbus Cemetery). This popular Havana attraction is atmospheric, intriguing and unnerving all in the same breath. Christopher Columbus Cemetery houses the tombs of everyone from commoners to dignitaries and venerated individuals.

Established in the late 1800s, the cemetery has witnessed millions of burials and continues to be used regularly. It covers an area of some 140 acres (56 hectares) and is split into sections according to the social status of the deceased. Find humble tombs, huge family vaults, elaborate mausoleums and statues of allegorical figures, many of which are magnificent works of art.

Enter through the main gateway, located at the ground’s northern side. Pay attention to the carvings of inverted torches, laurel wreaths and winged hourglasses that adorn the portal. Stroll down the wide central boulevard to the chapel and then wander along lanes framed by a contrast of sparkling white monuments and decaying graves.

Look for a monument to Cuban firefighters and statues dedicated to the nation’s baseball heritage. See the tomb of Máximo Gómez, a military general that fronted Cuba’s independence war in the late 1800s. One of the most revered sites is the crypt of Señora Amelia Goyri, La Milagrosa, a martyred woman that passed away while in labor. Other famous tombs include that of Ibrahim Ferrer, a legendary singer with the bands Afro-Cuban All Stars and Buena Vista Social Club.

Situated in the Vedado neighborhood, the cemetery is a 20-minute drive from Old Havana. The quickest and easiest way to get here is by taxi. Alternatively, catch the hop-on hop-off tourist bus. Nearby is Plaza de la Revolución, where Fidel Castro once conducted rallies. Note the murals that decorate the square’s buildings such as one of Castro’s close friend and political ally Che Guevara.

Christopher Columbus Cemetery is open daily.


Guide to Exploring Colon Cemetery


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