Death and poetry by the sea: The Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

An homage to everlasting rest by the Puerto Rican sea, under our sun.

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery is a nineteenth-century cemetery located in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. This location is the final resting place of a number of Puerto Rico’s most prominent cultural and political figures, among which we find poet José Gautier Benítez, nationalist leaders Don Pedro Albizu Campos and Lolita Lebrón, poet Mercedes “Clara Lair” Negrón-Muñoz, playwright Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, and the painter Rafael Tufiño. These mentioned are a great inspiration to me and have nurtured my artistic visions (and envisionings) so I always pay my respects when I visit the island.

Construction of the cemetery began in 1863 under the auspices of engineer Don Ignacio Mascaró. The cemetery is located outside the walls of San Felipe del Morro Fortress, one of the island’s most notable landmarks. The average height of the wall is forty feet and its width ranges from fifteen to twenty feet.

The cemetery was named in honor of Saint María Magdalena de Pazzi.

 

 

 

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