City of Dead

Considering Sao Paulo is a relatively young city (1771), the some of the graveyards of the city are surprisingly large and incredibly elaborate. A morbid fascination, I admit, but Brazilians, like many Old World European cultures, place great value and importance on remembering their dead.

Cemitério do Araçá:

This cemetery was established in 1887 and covers 222,000 square meters (137,000 square miles.) It is home to the Masoleum of the Military Police of Sao Paulo.

(My) photos cannot capture how expansive this graveyard is.

Only the best for the deceased.

Something trying to get out??

Neighborhoods of the dead

Neighborhoods of the dead

Flower market along the wall of the cemetery - excellent product placement.

 Cemitério da Consolação‎:

This is the oldest operating cemetery in Sao Paulo. The graveyard is full of works of art created by world famous sculptures, such as Rodolfo Bernardelli, Victor Brecheret, Bruno Giorgi and Antonio Celso de Menezes, all hired to decorate the graves of the important and elite. There is even an art tour offered at this cemetery.

Cemitério São Paulo:

This was established for the overflow crowd of aristocrats and opened in 1926. It is also home to the works of many famous sculptors such as Victor Brecheret Galileo Emendabili and Luigi Brizzolara. 

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13 Responses to City of Dead

  1. Alex says:

    Those are pretty impressive!

  2. workmomad says:

    Old graveyards are usually an excellent way to learn about the history of a place, if you have the time and the quiet to wander through them.

  3. It’s true. It is interesting to see the various heritages that made up Sao Paulo’s early years. In the case of the many of the graveyards here in Sao Paulo, it is also an art education.

  4. I loved this post because I too found the cemeteries of Sao Paulo fascinating back in the 80’s. Even the less aristocratic ones out in “interior” were on my list of things to visit and see. These are some great pictures…

  5. Jo E says:

    São Paulo was founded on 1554 and became a city on 1711 so it is old (for Brazil standards), but São Paulo was a very poor village so only a few historical builds exists from before it was promoted to a city by the Portuguese.

    • Right. As far as official cities go, relative to ones such as London, Paris and Barcelona, it’s a bit young. I didn’t know it was a poor village before becoming a city. I wonder what initiated it’s growth as opposed to the surrounding areas – coffee was everywhere, right? Or no?
      Thanks for your comment!

  6. Ray says:

    Dear B.A.B,

    Sao Paulo was mainly poor for many centuries because it was very geographically isolated, it’s hard to comprehend today when you can just take “Imigrantes” highway and drive to the coast in less than an hour, but for many centuries, there was no connection by roads or trains to the Santos Bay area, the few available trails were slippery, step and impassable during the rainy season. So, if you needed to go to Europe for example, you would have to take a train all the way to Rio de Janeiro, the city of Sao Paulo always had cooler weather comparing to the interior of the state, so slowly, the wealthier farmers started building “summer” homes in the city where it was much cooler and there was no cholera outbreaks or mosquitoes and it was much more comfortable to live.
    When decent roads were built to the harbor area of Santos the city’s economy exploded, the coffee farmers started investing their money in new factories and that came around the same time of the largest immigration of European folks who came and worked at the new factories.
    The rest is history, the city took off and saw many cycles of development over the last century.
    It’s probably worth to mention that most of the new cemeteries in the city such as “Cemiterio do Morumbi” are pretty much following a completely different style, it’s all grass with simple “brass” plaques marking the grave sites with the name of the person and the birth date and the death date, very simple and spartan.
    Ayrton Senna, the famous Brazilian formula 1 driver was buried at Morumbi Cemetery and there is even a few souvenir shops near the entrance of the cemetery selling Arron Senna stuff and pointing tourists to visit his grave site.
    I also have always been fascinated by the old cemeteries and all the beautiful pieces of art in all the mausoleums.
    Cool post, great pictures! 🙂


  7. Ray says:

    oops, I meant “steep”, not step 🙂

  8. Hi :),

    There is a place downtown called “Pateo do Collegio”/ Pátio do Colégio, that’s where the city was founded by the Jesuits. They have a small museum inside with a model of how was the city back in the day. But the thing that I really love about that place is the peace that you find there, there is this beautiful garden inside, with a delicious gourmet cafe and a piece of the original wall from Jesuits school. While drinking your coffee, you have to try the small basket of different breads, delicious.
    I really think it’s worth visiting.
    Here you can find some information:
    I found some pictures from the Cafe on internet 🙂


    • We were there two weekends ago!! I loved it! You’re so right, it’s very peaceful. We ate at the cafe and tried to order the breads, but the early crowd from the morning mass ate it all up. My three-year-old daughter loved it too! Not sure if this was there when you last visited, but they have this small room that is dark and has stars in the ceiling. She would have sat in there the rest of the day if we let her.

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