I’ve spent the last week at home fighting for my life with some vicious sickness I got because of this madness called the carnival. Four days of being wet, the weather wasn’t that good overall and people came with their microbes from all around Ecuador and more. Perfect conditions. A half of the town sick. So in the last week nothing special happened in my life. So maybe this is the moment to take something out of my archive.
Guayaquil. What an awful city. Big, noisy and dirty. And has earthquakes that I mentioned here. But there are some interesting places there. I mentioned few of them but I left some for later. Including the most tourist ones – Saint Ann’s Hill and Las Peñas – and one not so popular but historical – the oldest cemetery in the city. That’s what this post is going to be about. I was going to write about the other attractions to but it turned out the necropolis itself contains enough material for a full post.
I like strolling through the historical cemeteries a lot. When I said I was going to explore the Guayaquilean necropolis, I was told it was a bad idea because of its bad energy. Although, being a child of illuminated end of the XX century and the beginning of XXI I decided that yeah, bad energy but whatever, I don’t believe in some superstitions.
Normally, cemeteries carry for me the inspiration and calm, of course of meditative kind but not oppressive. There, I felt just bad. I felt strange anxiety. Without any fear, of course, because what was there to be scared of, but I had strong sensation that something was not right. I’m pretty sure it was caused by huge concrete walls to store the corpses. Not columbariums for urns but multistory lockers for coffins. With stairs and balconies so one can reach their relatives easily. The city of the dead. And even worse looking from above – as a communist blocks of flats.
“Burying” corpses over the ground level is related to seismic activity. This way the graves don’t break and the epidemiological risk is avoided. But still, it scares me. The “doors” of compartments are decorated – sometimes with screwed-on or glued plaques, usually beautifully carved, sometimes just with paint. Some of the paintings amaze, some are definitely amateur.
The cemetery lies on a hill. Above the concrete part there are single graves, crosses and elements of the tombstones from the nineties spread al over the place. At the bottom of the mountain, there is the luxury part. Family chapels, tombs and vaults, intricately sculpted figures and tombstones, nice pavements and neatly trimmed lawns and shrubberies. And palms, because why not?
At the end of the concrete stairs, up over the concrete blocks of graves, there are two small fields of more conventional, underground graves. The Star of David and names on the tombstones give an obvious indication of their origins. And traditional rocks instead of flowers on the graves. Amongst the dead I found also Fismans from Warsaw, Abramowiczs from Kamins and Kaufmans from Lowicz. And it’s not the full list. They died in different times, some of them still during the war, some of them a long time after it, but most of them were born still in XIX century. I don’t know when they came to Ecuador of who they were. I didn’t manage to get this information. We can only assume.
At the exit I said goodbye to the same guard who let me in looking suspiciously on a gringo with a camera and the same cat from the first picture.