On June 09,1999 this graveyard became a museum as the International Cousil of Museums & Peruvian National Culture Institute considered it as a site with high cultural & historical value.
The cemetery wasn't finished until 1807, and it is the first municipal cemetery in Latin America. It opened on May 31, 1808 by Viceroy José Fernando de Abascal y Sousa , and designed by architect Matias Maestro Alegria
Priest Matías Maestro, was a multifaceted man, born in Vitoria (Spain) in 1776, came to Peru by the end of the 18th century to start a new business. In 1793, he became a Catholic Priest and since then he dedicated himself to “renewing” the churches and altarpieces with the latest fashion style: Neoclassical. He became General Director of Lima’s Public Beneficence Society in 1826 and died on January 7, 1835.
This gaveyard museum houses the largest collection of the 19th Century European marble sculptures in Latin America. Behind the art, the most important personalities of the 19th century and the aristocracy from Lima were buried here. Get to know some legends and some superstitious events that happened here! The impressive Museum Cemetery "Presbyter Matías Maestro" that holds 200 years of history. It became the first American civil cemetery.
Located in the Uptown district, home to more than 850 tombs, mausoleums, one of the largest collections of European sculptures and monuments, fine exponents of the various artistic styles, cultural and religious that took place in Lima during the nineteenth and twentieth century’s.
The architectural styles of the mausoleums found within are broad ranging. It houses the remains of several important political, military and literary figures. Also some important people of each decade are also buried here.
One of the most impressive sculptures is one made of bronze and its called "The Christ of the Cross", located in San Gonzalo pavilion close to door 2. Its eyes seem to follow you.
The most prominent of all the mausoleums is the Panteón de los Próceres where heroes of the War of the Pacific (1879–1884) are buried. The mausoleum's entrance reads "La Nación a sus Defensores" (Meaning "The Nation, to its Defenders").The crypt of the heroes houses the bodies of 295 that belong to heroes of the war with Chile and among them you can find 2 women and Don Miguel Grau bodies.
There is a popular cult to Sebastiana Ureta widow of Berrio, the "White Witch" who was a nice lady that lived in XIX century and used to read cards and cure people that was afraid.
This graveyard museum can be visited daily basis from 09.00 am until 18.00 pm and once in a while there are special visits at night.