The history of Peru can be found in books, archaeological sites and vestiges left by our ancestors. However, you can learn more about this South American country through a place of eternal rest.
It is considered by UNESCO as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Latin America and recognized as Cultural Heritage of the Nation. This museum is the oldest cemetery in Peru, which for its grandiose architecture and fine sculptures is valued by thousands of visitors both domestic and foreign. It is an open book of history, art and culture for more than two centuries.
Thus, the Presbítero Maestro Cemetery Museum offers its visitors a trip to the past where they can meet again with personalities that have left an indelible mark throughout Peruvian history.
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Now let’s take a closer look at this mausoleum, let’s walk through its corridors, unveiling its most intimate popular legends as well as its history, so you don’t miss a tour on your next visit to Lima:
Inside the Cemetery
Considered the first municipal cemetery in Latin America, the General Cemetery of Lima, better known as Presbítero Matías Maestro, was built between 1805 and 1808 in the limits of the city and, at present, the neoclassical architecture precinct preserves the largest collection of European marble sculptures of the XIX century in Latin America.
That adorn the luxurious mausoleums of Peruvians and illustrious characters such as José de la Riva Agüero, Ricardo Palma, Abraham Valdelomar, José Carlos Mariátegui, Ramón Castilla, Francisco Bolognesi, among others.
Walking through its wide avenues, avenues and streets, it is possible to understand a little more about the idiosyncrasy of this city.
Located in the 17th block of the jiron Ancash, in the Barrios Altos -Cercado de Lima-, an old street that was laid by the conqueror Francisco Pizarro when he founded the city in 1535.
The old holy field was built under the direction of the architect, sculptor and painter, Matías Maestro, sculptor and painter, Matías Maestro and was inaugurated on May 31, 1808 by Viceroy José Fernando de Abascal, in spite of the opposition of a large part of the people of Lima who used to bury their dead in the cemeteries of the churches, better known as catacombs.
The cemetery is careful to maintain the ornamentation for its visitors. Likewise, they offer night guides to discover the mystery of what the more than twenty hectares of history told in its niches, tombs, crypts and mausoleums have to offer.
Presbítero Matías Maestro Cemetery Museum
It can be visited during the day, but some people prefer to visit it at night taking the thematic tours that are usually organized. In these night tours you have the special opportunity to enter the beautiful Crypt of the Heroes where rest those who gave their lives to defend the homeland during the Chilean War against Peru and Bolivia, where the tombs of Miguel Grau, Francisco Bolognesi and Andres Avelino Caceres stand out.
Due to the location of the cemetery, it is recommended to take the necessary safety precautions.
Note: The schedules, entrance fees and other information presented below may vary at any time and without previous notice, since it depends on the museum administration. If you find any difference, please let us know so we can correct it.
Monday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Cost of day tickets
- Adults S/ 10.00 ( $ 2.62)
- University students S/ 7.00 ( $ 1.83 )
- Children (in non-school visits) S/ 3.00 up to 12 years old ( 78 cents )
- Residents of Barrios Altos and El Agustino with ID S/ 3.00
- Guided service S/55.00 ( $ 14.41 )
Monday to Sunday from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Cost of night tickets
- Adults and tourism companies S/ 22.00 ( $ 5.76)
- Children up to 12 years S/ 11.00 ( $ 2.88)
- Residents of Barrios Altos and El Agustino with ID S / 11.00
- Guided service S/75.00 ($19.65)
NOTE: Tickets can be purchased at the offices in front of the cemetery (Jr. Ancash 1692) or by transfer.
Urban legends of the cemetery
The well-known Presbítero Maestro cemetery is full of myths and legends that scare anyone. And in its creepy marble tombs, there are stories that have transcended from generation to generation.
The so-called ‘witch’, Emilia Montañés Torres, was in charge of using black magic. Legend has it that when she died, she had to be buried in two niches where in one rests her body, and in the other, her soul.
It is worth mentioning that the person in charge of elaborating the epitaph was possessed by Emilia; that is why he drew a terrifying image on her tomb. Likewise, there are people who look for solitary spaces to perform prayers and sorcery. And you, would you dare to visit this place?
In this pavilion, there are shocking stories. One of them is that of “Lom Tom”, a barber with Asian features on Capon Street, who killed his customers and then hid the bodies in his shop. However, when he realized that the police were going to round him up, he committed suicide.
The caretakers say that, in this place, they have seen shadows and silhouettes constantly appearing and disappearing. They have even heard voices and cries.
Niño Ricardo ( Ricardo , The Child )
This child was born on December 10, 1886. Before he was one year old, the little boy became an orphan because his father died. Sadly, at the age of 6, Ricardito died of a high fever, which according to the doctors, was malaria.
The boy’s grave is located in front of the ‘Buen Pastor’ barracks, next to his father. Legend has it that Ricardo performed a miracle in 1990, when a lady asked him to heal a family member. Since then, every time people visit his tomb, they decide to ask him for miracles with great faith.
The ghost of the Heroic Crypt
Legend has it that on the stairs leading to the crypt of the famous Peruvian heroes, appears a woman dressed in black, who between cries and laments, talks to visitors who come to the commentary unaccompanied, according to the guardian of the place.
Also, this woman could possibly be the widow of one of the people buried in that crypt, because she is looking for her husband.Finally, we know that you have to keep communication with your relatives and friends, that you need to be able to orient yourself in new cities, that you might need help with translation and that you might need to search for restaurants or hotels. That’s why with PeruSIM you can buy a SIM card including the data plan of your need without having to worry about high roaming costs.