Fancy a different kind of sightseeing tour? Visit the most curious cemeteries in Malaga, with one of the most important funerary heritages in the country due to its enormous diversity.
Far from being dark and gloomy places, each one has a charming particularity that is definitely worth a visit if you are nearby.
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The most curious cemeteries in Malaga
Necrotourism is the denomination for the tourist activity visiting cemeteries, pantheons, necropolises or crypts in cathedrals.
We propose a route through the most curious historical cemeteries in the province of Malaga.
Sayalonga Round Cemetery, Axarquía
We start with this peculiar cemetery that youcan also see in the cover photo of our article.
The beautiful white village of Sayalonga in the Axarquia region is home to one of the most peculiar cemeteries in all of Spain: Its base is octagonal, from which it has derived its name as a round cemetery.
Built in 1840, it is the only round cemetery in the whole of Spain. There are theories about masonic influences which you can see in the masonic symbols scattered around the grounds. It also has an interpretation centre next to the entrance.
On the outskirts of the village is the viewpoint Mirador del Cementerio with panoramic views of the cemetery and nearby villages of Sierra Almijara.
San Antonio Cemetery, Archidona
About 50 km north of Malaga and about 660 meters above sea level is situated Archidona. Its 19th century cemetery was awarded as the third most beautiful cemetery in Spain.
It stands out for its beautiful gardens and pantheons, as the one of the García Checa family. Next to it are the Hermitages of Nuestra Sra. de los Dolores and San Antonio.
Another hermitage worth visiting is located next to the Archidona castle, the Virgin of Grace Shrine from the fifteenth century. From there you can enjoy spectacular views.
We advise to go up on foot, although there is a fairly steep slope. If you go up by car, you must be careful because the road is very narrow, with very pronounced curves. Two cars fit very tightly.
Interesting to know
The Pilgrimage of the Virgen de Gracia in honour of the patron saint of Archidona takes place during the night from August 14 to 15. There is a traditional nocturnal Pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Virgen de Gracia.
Jewish cemetery, Casabermeja
The Andalusian funerary heritage also has a Jewish cemetery in Casabermeja. In fact, it is the only one existing in Andalusia and it was declared a National Monument and an Asset of Cultural Interest.
Interesting to know
On March 31, 1492, the Catholic Monarchs signed the expulsion of the Jews in Granada: The Jewish people had until the end of July of that same year to leave the territories of the crowns of Castile and Aragon.
Cemetery Castle, Benadalid
To the north of Estepona, in the green valley of Genal, is situated the town of Benadalid. Within its urban area stands the old 12th century fortress of Arab origin, which today is a fortified cemetery.
It was rebuilt in the 17th century by the Count of Feria and in 1821 the town council took possession of the castle for the construction of a cemetery.
Cemetery of Frigiliana
In the heart of the old quarter of Frigiliana, one of the most beautiful villages in Spain, lies this 18th century cemetery. So, there is no need to take a detour while strolling through the Moorish streets, where this cemetery blends in harmoniously.
Castle cemetery, Álora
With spectacular views over the village, this ancient Moorish fortress of Phoenician origin rises above the village. Partly in ruins and partly rebuilt, the fortress housed the municipal cemetery for more than two hundred years.
The visit is free and you can still see the remains of the old cemetery and a chapel.
Recommendation: The access streets to the fortress are extremely narrow and we don´t recommend it you do not want to suffer unnecessary stress. Although the access is very steep, we recommend going up on foot. You can leave your car in the municipal car park and walk to the fortress. It is about 750 meters and it takes about 11 minutes.
English Cemetery, Málaga
One of the essential curious cemeteries in Malaga is the old English cemetery from the year 1831. It is the oldest Protestant cemetery in Spain.
It is located on Paseo de Reding, near the wealthiest areas of Malaga capital, El Limonar, one of the neighbourhoods where the Malaga bourgeoisie settled in the 19th century.
As its name indicates, it was built in the 19th century for British citizens living in Malaga. Declared of cultural interest, it has great historical value. There we can find tombs of various characters from the cosmopolitan and historical life of Malaga from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Cemetery San Miguel, Málaga
Located to the north of Malaga’s old town, another must is the historic 19th century San Miguel cemetery. It has impressive individual crypts and mausoleums of different architectural styles.
There the remains of the most illustrious figures of the bourgeoisie of Malaga are laid to rest there.
The cemetery is closed for burials since 1986 and a large park has been created nearby, the Parque de San Miguel.
Anecdotes & Mysteries
Sayalonga and its Masonic origin
According to private research, the builder of the cemetery was Pedro Gordillo, master stonemason of Malaga Cathedral, who was probably a freemason.
According to this theory, he built the octagonal-shaped cemetery, which for the masons represents balance and indicates the idea of a perfect and finished work.
Throughout the enclosure we can find symbols of Freemasonry, such as the pyramid or the three steps. The cemetery even caught the attention of Iker Jiménez, who dedicated a space to it in his mythical program, Cuarto Milenio. Watch it here.
Interesting to know
Freemasonry is a discrete international organization, a kind of brotherhood that seeks the improvement of man in society through moral development and the cultivation of numerous disciplines such as science and the arts.
The city council of Malaga is also betting on renewable energies, even if it is in the most unexpected places.
Thus, we can find now solar panels in the Parque Cementerio de Málaga: Specifically on the roofs of 308 covered niches. These hich will allow the generation of hundreds of thousands of kilowatt hours per year.
Curiosities of the English Cemetery
There are so many curiosities of the English Cemetery in Malaga that we dedicate a separate paragraph to it. In its beginnings, the cemetery was surrounded by an extraordinary garden very close to the sea.
There the English citizens used to spend the afternoon and there was even an area to have afternoon tea in the shade.
The inhabitants of the cemetery
There are many historical figures that lie here like: Renate Brausewetter, German movie star who made her debut with Greta Garbo. Marjorie Grice-Hutchinson, a great patron of Malaga.
Robert Boyd, shot in Malaga for his participation in the failed insurrection of the Liberals in December 1831 along with General Torrijos. Johan Bolin, Swedish consul in Spain.
The poet Jorge Guillén also lies here. Billy Beyts, military man who met young Princess Elizabeth II. Henry Touchez-Jesson, husband of Sarah Churchill and son-in-law of Winston Churchill. Or George Langworthy, known as the Englishman of the Peseta. Favourite Adopted Son of Torremolinos, he was the founder of the first hotel, the Hotel Castillo de Santa Clara.
In the cemetery also lie 42 soldiers of the German Imperial Navy after the shipwreck in the bay of Malaga in 1900. In gratitude for the help received, Germany donated the bridge of Santo Domingo, popularly known as the “Bridge of the Germans”, to the city.
And last but not least there also lies Alvin Karpis, the criminal who spent the longest time imprisoned in Alcatraz and who retired to Torremolinos.
Stories to keep you awake at night
If you want to combine Halloween in Malaga with Necrotourism, here are a few stories to keep you awake at night.
Apparitions in San Miguel Cemetery
There are several stories about apparitions of the deceased in the cemetery of San Miguel in Malaga.
One of them is very well known, where several witnesses present at the congregation for the anniversary of Jane Bowles’ death claim the presence of a person dressed in mourning clothes with a curious resemblance to the deceased. According to people who visit the grave every year and some security guards, Jane usually visits the grave every year on the anniversary of her death.
Other stories are about the deceased child Antoñito who is heard calling out to his mother. Or the little Mary who appears in a semi-transparent form, or Father Eliseo who can be seen walking in monastic robes among the tombs.
There are many witnesses claiming to have seen these apparitions. Is it true, what do you think?
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