For some, cemeteries are creepy places to avoid. For others, they are peaceful and fascinating places to explore. If you find them interesting, I have a suggestion for you today—Montánchez cemetery.
Montánchez is a small town in the centre of Extremadura, halfway between Cáceres and Mérida. And here’s where you’ll find the best cemetery in Spain, as voted by readers of Adiós Cultural magazine last October.
What’s cool about it?
The first thing that catches your eye are two poetic messages painted over the main door.
The texts read as follows:
‘A temple of truth is this that you are admiring.
Do not ignore the voice of that who warns you that everything, but death is an illusion.’
‘This is a mansion of silence and calm.
Go. Only sinners are terrified of it.
Here return the bodies to the earth and the new life.
The soul awakens.’
The originality of this cemetery comes from its location. Dating from 1810, it’s situated on a craggy hill topped by an Arab castle. It was built by digging and shaping the granite of which the hill is made. Tombs are displayed on terraces at different levels, the highest ones set against the castle walls.
As the cemetery is over 700 metres above sea level, the ‘wow’ factor is, without any doubt, the views. From the main entrance turn right and be amazed by the sight over the pastureland.
They say on a clear day up to 50 towns and villages can be spotted from there, although the charm of a winter foggy day is unbeatable. The fog was so thick the day we visited Montánchez that I felt I was walking down a hall of death towards the clouds.
After visiting the cemetery your next stop should be the castle, but that’s something I will cover in a different article.
|Montánchez cemetery - Practical info|
Distance: 59 km from Cáceres; 45 km from Mérida; 302 km from Madrid.
Directions to the cemetery: from the main square (Plaza de España), facing the town hall, take the street on the left and follow the sign that reads ‘Castillo’ and ‘Iglesia’. Turn left to Calle Soledad and walk up Calle. Pass by the church and keep going up Calle Castillo and follow the sign ‘castillo’. The cemetery is in a sort of square at the foot of the castle.
Montánchez on a map
Do you like cemeteries? Which other Spanish cemeteries have you visited? Share your comments below.