Don't search for the tomb of Christopher Columbus in the cemetery that bears his name. It is not there. Built between 1871 and 1886 by the architect Calixto Arellano de Loira y Cardoso, a graduate of the Bellas Artes in Madrid, this is one of the largest cemeteries in the world 57 hectares of radiating paths dotted with Rococo and Neoclassical mausoleums and family vaults, with the Central Chapel, modelled after Il Duomo in Florence, at the centre.
Reflecting Cuban society, the cemetery is organised into areas, almost like neighbourhoods, according to the status of the occupants: priests, soldiers, aristocrats, the poor, immigrants, atheists… One of the most poignant graves is that of La Milagrosa (The Miraculous), a young woman buried with the body of her new-born at her feet. Legend has it that when the grave was reopened a few years later, the baby had crawled into her mother's arms.
Since then, it has become a symbol of hope for anxious mothers and bashful lovers.
10400 La Habana
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