Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spooks in the Central Cemetery

Scary creatures in the cemetery. 

In comemoration of All Saints Day, Bogotá's Central Cemetery put on a show this evening, complete with a tour, costumed creatures and even a fire dance.

No ghosts appeared, but the young people from Mision Bogotá gave a guided tour of some of the cemetery's most important and interesting residents, including ex-presidents, a beer brewery founder and an astronomer.

The tour visited the tombs of presidents, popular saints, the composer of Colombia's national anthem (who wasn't paid and died in poverty) and a hero/martyr of the war with Peru.

Bogotá's Central Cemetery is full of tradition, history and superstition. It's somewhat neglected, but that also adds to its ambience.

They're going to do the tours every Monday evening, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at least until the year's end, I was told. My advice is to bring a good camera with a wide lens and hopefully a tripod.

Related posts: A Magical Mystery Tour thru Bogotá's Central Cemetery , A Glimpse of Historical Tragedy , Remaking Bogotá's Central Cemetery , You Can't Prohibit Faith
The cemetery's front entrance, with Death equipped with his sickle. 

The tomb of the Bodmer sisters, who have become popular saints. The family lost four girls, for reasons which have been lost to history. People now visit them and ask for healing and other miracles. 

Leo Kopp, a Jewish--German immigrant who founded the Bavaria beer brewery, has also become a saint. People line up to whisper in his ear and ask for favors. 

The cemetery's central row, with the chapel in the back. 

This wealthy family's tomb could be a chapel. 

Columns with heads in the cemetery chapel. 

Torch-carrying mision Bogotá guides explain a tomb's history. 

Do I see ghosts?

The elaborate tomb at the cemetery's entrance, of a rich kid who drowned in Germany. 

The tomb of the boy, named Ignacio, has become another place of worship. 

At the tomb of Julio Garavito, the astronomer who's on the 20,000 peso bill. Garavito's also become a popular saint, and believers rub bills against his tomb with the hope that he'll bring them more money. 

The evening ended with a fire dance based on an Aztec ritual meant to protect believers from ghosts. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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