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Christmas Eve in Punta Arenas, Chile, 12/24/13


What else would a person do on Christmas eve other than visit the Cementerio Municipal, the final resting place of many members of Punta Arenas' high society?  We dressed warmly, as usual, and prepared for spits of rain, as usual.  We read this account in a cruising guide:  "The inhospitable nature of its climate (cold all year round and often windy) is illustrated by the fact that more than 300 years elapsed between 1520 when Ferdinand Magellan sailed the strait that bears his name, and the establishment of Punta Arenas, the first successful settlement, in 1848."  Jimmy and I can attest to the cold and the wind...!

This mausoleum reads HRVATSKO.  The stately beauty on the right reads, MENENDEZ.

 This proud edifice is for the Kusanovic family.

 
Amid the tall cypresses pruned into oblong shapes, the grand mausoleums of the elite stand beside the humbler plots of immigrants who came from as far away as Russia, Spain, Wales, and Croatia, mainly during the gold rush from 1880-1910.  Also buried here are the casualties of the Strait's many shipwrecks. The cemetery ranks right up there in tourist places to visit.  We were sort of surprised to see many East-Central European names on the markers, as we hadn't realized that Croatian immigration in Punta Arenas was crucial to development in the Magellan region and the city in particular. 

 Not everybody was granted a grand mausoleum.

Sometimes what is available will have to do.  Many of these grave sites are old.




Monument to the Unknown Indian, which contains the body of an Ona found beside that of a Chilean man on Diego de Almagro Island in 1929.  The many miracles attributed to the Indian in the last part of the 20th century led to the transfer of the monument to a place in the cemetery with enough space to install a wall for the thank-you plaques and gifts of people whose wishes were granted.

Close up of the toe.

This is one-half of a line of crypts, all individualized and maintained by loved ones of the deceased. 





But these two creeped me out!  One crypt gaping open as tho someone had already escaped, flown to another world, now beckoning you or me!  The bricked-in crypt looks straight out of one of Poe's horrors!

 Jimmy wearing a large green cap.  These cypresses had to be chopped to access the graves.

 My favorite. Bicycle madness in the wind!

 Caption?  I have a headache.  Or, I must have lost my head....

The End.

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting. We visited a similar municipal cemetery in Ushuaia back in 2007 ... no trees like the ones at this one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cemeteries are usually fascinating - this one might be the best ever! love from your seester!

    ReplyDelete

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