The Sant Antoni Abat Cemetery (Alcoy, Spain)

Sant Antoni Abat or Cantagallet Cemetery (Alcoy, Spain)
This interesting cemetery (also known as the Cantagallet Cemetery) is a space of social representation and reflection of the industrial society in Alcoi.

About the cemetery

In 1812 the first open air cemetery outside Alcoi was opened. It is known as the Old Cemetery. It 1885 it was considered to be too close to the city. This fact together with the ravaging epidemics of cholera made it convenient to set up the present premises of Cantagallet or Sant Antoni Abat Cemetery, as a temporary solution.

Later, the decision to acquire a larger plot and to develop a project for a permanent cemetery on that spot was made. The winning project was that by the local engineer Enrique Vilaplana Julià, which was dated August 29, 1889.

Artistic and cultural value of the cemetery

The cemetery became an actual space of social representation, a genuine reflection of the industrial society in Alcoi, by developing different typologies and enclosures as time went by.

The area with greatest wealth and artistic variety in the cemetery is that of the free-standing family or individual vaults, authentic architecture in miniature where diverse artists had considerable creative freedom, and where an evolution of the artistic stylesas is evident - from the most widespread Eclecticism to historicism, revivals, Modernism of Nouveau and Sezession styles and, finally, to examples of Art Déco and Rationalism.

Thanks to these heritage values,  Sant Antoni Abat Cemetery was included in the European Cemeteries Route, which is considered a Cultural Route by the Council of Europe, since 2012.

Points of interests

Sant Antoni Abat Cemetery has not many important personalities buried there, but its attraction is mainly based in the different typologies generated along the time and its social stratification.
  • Common graves: from 1889. They are those which had, at the beginning, the greatest constructive presence in the necropolis, being decorated with small wooden or iron crosses.
  • Niches: from 1893. They are vertical constructions. Some of them house authentic works of art in the reliefs of the tombstones.
  • Grave-niches: from 1893. They are bourgeois constructions, aesthetically similar to the free-standing vaults, but constructed against the wall.
  • Graves of elegant zone: from 1894. They occupy the central part of the common graves’ area, with a variety of styles.
  • Free-standing Vaults: from 1894. They present a wide catalogue of architectural and sculptural styles.
  • Underground Galleries of San Severo, San Fabián and San Antonio: from 1895. Ventilated and illuminated. They were constructed taking advantage of the different levels of the area and economizing on space.
  • Priests’ Enclosure, with public chapel: 1905. Project by Timoteo Briet.
  • Hypogea: from 1909. Attached vaults designed by Timoteo Briet, inspired by the ones of Barcelona’s Montjuïc Cemetery.
  • Civil Cemetery: from 1909. It is highlighted its similarity to an Anglo-Saxon cemetery, with many vegetation and non-Catholic symbolism.
  • Military plot: from 1910. Created because of the Infantry Regiment Quarter that existed in Alcoy at that time.
  • Nuns’ Enclosure: from 1925. For all the congregations of Alcoy.
  • The Monumental Cross: 1939. Projected by José Cortés. It was located, at the end of the Spanish Civil War, in the place initially meant for the cemetery chapel. At present it has lost any political connotation.
  • Columbaria: from 1969. A standard, functional building to save space. It corresponds to the need to place funeral urns of cremations or human rests.
  • Cenotaph: 1990. Built as ossuary and memorial. Inspired by the Woodland Chapel of Stockholm.
  • Ash pit: 2010. New type to hold the ashes from cremations.

Important events taking place at the cemetery

Some guided cultural visits are being organized in the cemetery by the Tourist Info Alcoy as well as by private companies, always with a high number of participants.

Moreover an informative leaflet with a map and interesting places to see at the cemetery has been prepared by the City Council of Alcoy, with the aim to enable people making the route by themselves.

Below, you can watch a short presentation video of the cemetery entitled "Alcoi. Cemetery Sant Antoni Abat: the Sleeping City."

Tourist information

Tourist Info Alcoy
Plaça d’Espanya, 14
03801 Alcoy (Alicante)

tel +34 965 53 71 55
fax: +34 965 53 71 53