This world famous cemetery is in a district of Lisbon called Prazeres, translated into English it means ‘pleasures’. So these burial grounds are known as Cemetery of Pleasures. Tall cyprus trees, planted along the walkways, stretch up, growing to such a dark green hue that the trees appear to be black. Life-sized concrete mourners are scattered throughout the cemetery, their tragic poses a forever reminder of sadness and loss. Then again, there are few tombs and mausoleums that have a whimsical air, like this replica of a castle turret. A few tombs have strange colorful fungus and moss growing on the outside. The cemetery is well laid out with streets and intersections. A tomb adorns this circular drive as though it were a statue or a monument. The Cemetery of Pleasures was constructed in 1833 and it does look like some of the burial sites are a little worse for wear. But the concrete mournful maidens dutifully sit at the sides of the larger mausoleums. One of the grander mausoleums holds 100 deceased relatives and two priests. This is the tomb of Sousa Viterbo a Portuguese poet and journalist. The shrouded maiden holds a metal-cast death mask of the deceased poet and over the years the oxide from the mask has leaked a greenish hue down the front of her shroud. This is an inset in one of the tombs. Many tombs have windows and curtains as though the dead were put to rest in small homes. A great deal of the windows are now adorned not only with curtains but spider webs and fallen twigs that have somehow been blown through small crevices in the doorways. I didn’t walk the entire grounds but I saw a great deal. On one side of the burial grounds the graves were lined up agains a concrete wall with a view of Alcantara Valley, Tagus River and 25th April Bridge. I heard construction noises close by and when I looked over the concrete wall, a couple of workmen with a lot of power equipment were digging in the hill just on the other side of the graves. An entire community has been newly erected at the bottom of the hill. Lisbon is built on a fault line and considering the major earthquake and tsunami in 1755 that destroyed most of the city I thought about how all the bones from the dead and the debris from these huge mausoleums would come crashing down this hill and onto the people in these homes. But then the mind does wander to more macabre thought when walking amongst the dead. Cemetery of Pleasures? Perhaps.
A Haunting, a walk in the park, haunted, History, ice, parklands, street scene, traveling, Uncategorized
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