About the cemetery

About the cemetery

With Christianity people got used to bury the dead near churches. At first, the graves were on the outside of the temples and along its own walls.
As the faithful went to the place to do their religion duties, it was necessary to put these early graveyards under cover of the ravages of time. So, soon the halls and the arcade were built, which is the origin of the chapels where the faithful gathered when they wanted to pray over the graves. This burial ground was joint to the church itself through porches and arcades, until it was shut to separate it from the church building but forming a continuation of the religious center itself.

Creating outside the walls cemeteries.
The parish burial practice remained in Spain until the second half of the eighteenth century, where are beginning to spread some ideas of the Enlightenment. In 1785 Benito Bails had written a work to stress how detrimental it was for people to keep parish cemeteries within towns. In 1786 the councilor Tomás Pascual de Almunia, representative of the nobility, had also hit on the closure of all cemeteries, proposal that, likewise, had the approval of the Faculty of Medicine. It was Carlos III who would issue a Royal Order, on April the 3rd, 1787, outlawing such custom and ordering the setting-up of cemeteries for the faithful, if possible away from the city, as a measure against previous unhygienic and unhealthy practice.

Beginning of the General Cemetery of Valencia.
The law was fulfilled in our city and in the nineteenth century. It took the Proclamation of April 26, 1804 issued by Manager Chief Magistrate Cayetano de Urbina, and it was from that moment that truly begins the demolition of the parish cemeteries and it’s projected the creation of a General Cemetery for all citizens.

The profits from the sale of land from parish cemeteries was 318 397 reales , which together with the funds advanced by the River Factory and others provided by the Municipality , gave a total of 679 543 reales that were applied to actual construction of the new cemetery . The project was designed by the city architect Cristóbal Sales, in partnership with fellow architect and scholar Manuel Blasco, and was approved by the Fine Art Academy of San Carlos.

To construct it, it was chosen the mill land Molí de Tell, along the path of Picassent. Work began in July 1805 and concluded in 1807, and it was inaugurated the morning of Sunday 7th June and the first body was buried the next day, using a common grave. A year after this opening the first 80 tombs were rosen.

Consolidation and growth. At thirty years of its opening all forecasts were exceeded to be fully occupied. That's when successive enlargements happen, new streets and blocks of tombs are openened and new spaces are incorporated. In 1846 it was built the first Mausoleum: the one of Juan Bautista Romero, followed by the ones of the family Dotres and White-Llano.

In 1876 a new expansion is approved. Around 1880 they are adopted the terms to build new tombs and porticoes. According to the original plan projected in 1871, it’s decided to build on an area of over 15,000 square metres- in the current section 3rd: the so-called the Gates or Columns Gallery - a gallery formed by 170 robust monolithic columns and Doric capitals. The works, which were completed in 1892, were paid by the profits from the sale of the mausoleum lands.

In 1886 it was built the waiting room, and in 1907, the Patio de las Palmeras Architects like Sebastian Monleón, Joaquin Maria Arnau, Francisco Almenar, Gerardo Roig, Vicente Sanchoand Antonio Martorell, designed the mausoleums with renowned sculptors of the era: Mariano Benlliure, Ricardo Boix, Eugenio Carbonell, Carreras and Alfonso Gabino, to name some of them, that along with other professionals, helped to give splendor to the current image of the cemetery.

In following time common graves were opened to bury the dead, according to the circumstances of death and the time lived. Epidemics of. Nineteenth Century and especially the Civil War (1936-1939) caused this type of burial.

In the decades of the 50’s to 80’s there is an extensive development of the cemetery, living in an era of peak. The economic boost, increasing population and no-cremation produced an increase in burials, in addition to more artistic headstones, which, in turn, introduced a changing profile in the cemetery.

In March 1988, following the Mortuary Sanitary Police’s new laws, Municipal Crematorium opened. An Avant-garde building, designed by the architect Fernando Romeu, being surrounded by tall eucalyptus, palms and pines. An evocative Garden of Remembrance for the burial of ashes was allocated in Section 11, composed of four quadrants and a pyramidal mound in the center.

One of another recent constructions is the City Funeral Home (2000), a modernist design building planned by architect Jordi Pinyol.

Currently the cemetery is divided into 21 sections, with their quadrants, blocks, letters and numbers, individual in each of the blocks. Section 20th, recently built, is located in the southern area of the city near the new river channel, next to the Funeral Home and the administrative offices.

Islamic Cemetery.
Following the November 1992 law this new space was constructed (since 2000 and in agreement on the Islamic Community of Valencia) by section No. 14. The new installation has two entrances: One, which is used for family visits and communicates with the General Cemetery and exhibits a horseshoe arch at the gate with the Islamic Cemetery identification written in Arabian. The other one is used exclusively for burials and communicates directly to the outside, facing the district of San Isidro.

Present and future.
Every November 1st Municipal Corporation carries a wreath at those mausoleums, tombs and niches containing the remains of important figures, for one reason or another, of the Valencian society.

This guide is a part of the multiple projects of the Municipal Corporation: To consider the cemetery as a place of culture. The limited schedule on the foundational area now proposed is the beginning of a more ambitious plan:To trace new routes, thematic tours, to locate and catalogue the graves of famous Valencian personalities , mausoleums and headstones of historic, architectural and artistic interest... In short, careful records to allow their preservation and the ability to appreciate, even more, the real treasure that the cemetery contains, a rich, incalculable cultural heritage.

There are five inputs to access the cemetery: the Principal gate, named San Isidro, located to the north, the Boulevard - Crematorium, the Section 18 and along the Funeral House, the Section 20.

Plaza Santo Domingo de Guzmán, nº 27
Camino Viejo de Picassent s/n.
46017 - Valencia, Spain

Tel.: -96 352 54 78 (extensions 2502-2807-2808)
Fax.: - 96 378 22 90

E-mail: sercementerios@valencia.es
Website: http://www.ayto-valencia.es
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