Cemetery of San Froilán (Lugo, Spain)

Cemetery of San Froilán (Lugo, Spain)
San Froilán’s a local cemetery in Lugo. It is relatively modern (from 1948), although retains from construction of the previous local cemetery, after its closure, was transferred to this.

About the cemetery

Although neither its size nor its historic-artistic heritage is situated at the same level as the great European necropolis, Cemetery of San Froilán can not be classified as a common cemetery. Harmonious arrangement, its unique and strategic location, the beauty of its tombs, memorials that largely have been transferred from the old local cemetery,... It all contributes to the great interest in this cemetery from both the city and its visitors.

As a curiosity we can indicate that it is built on a megalithic necropolis, preserving in their vicinity three mounds or tumili, still unexcavated. It was designed by the architect Eloy Maquieira, one of the main representatives of the rationalist architecture in Galicia, leaving traces of this style in the rationality essentials of the cemetery design. It has a surface of 61.000 m2, surrounded by 1km of stone wall.  Today, we would have to add the extended area with a total of 55.730 m2.

Cultural and architectural richness of the cemetery

The funerary constructions give the cemetery its unique character. Many of them date back to the middle of the 19th century and originate from the old municipal cemetery from which they were transferred. Some of them are the García Abad’s Pantheon and the Canon of the Cathedral of Lugo with its counterpart, that is inspired by the French funeral architecture in the cemetery of Bordeaux. As a whole, what predominates are nice proportion, good taste and accuracy in the combination of decorative elements originating from different styles and times.

Also from the year 1863 dates one of the most emblematic Pantheons of our Cemetery, in the neo-Gothic style, built at the end of the reign of Elizabeth II by an emigrant family who, upon their return, invested in this way their savings from the new world.

Another of the important monuments at the cemetery is the so-called Cross of the Repatriated Soldiers (1898), erected in homage to the Spanish soldiers who participated in the Cuban War and who returned wounded to die in Spain. Its construction bears an evident parallel with other similar funerary constructions such as the monument to the Martyrs of Carral (A Coruña) or the Funerary Cross of the Dullins cemetery (Rhone-France).

In general, the cemetery contains several interesting architectural elements that give it its cultural richness and its unique character. In some cases they emphasize the precision of the work in important details in others they highlight greatness, antiquity or creativity of sculptors and stonemasons.

In this sense, the abundance of angels in the entire enclosure also stands out in their various manifestations. Demanding silence. Announcing the final judgment with their trumpet. Expressing desolation and pain and at the same time infusing the affliction that accompanies death, of peace and hope.

The most current aspect of Cemetery of San Froilán is in the new area, expanded in 1998 and which gives the cemetery a note of modernity. It has welcomed current trends towards incineration, providing a specific space for the deposit of ashes, in a non-denominational environment that calls for recollection and meditation. It is the so-called “Xardín das Lembranzas” or Garden of Remembrance presided over by the Memorandum, a pyramid that represents a candle in the wind in which the passing of life is reflected.

Cemetery integration in social life

Apart from the cultural and architectural richness that this cemetery contains, there is the charm and intimacy that are breathed in it. Indeed, the efforts made in recent years have not been in vain to sprinkle the place with small intimate details, with the aim to achieve a change in cemetery conceptualization, increasing its acceptance and integration in social life, making it a place of peace and reunion, of remembrance, of historical memory, of infinite collective and individual stories, fueled by emotions, by pain, by hope, and by the resignation.

The installation of poems and phrases of hope, which are drawn among the flowers and bushes, constitute the so-called "Peace points", where visitors can to harmonize their feelings and achieve the inner calm necessary to overcome the loss of their loved ones and reconnect with their immediate history.

A good response among the population also received concerts of classical music and poetry recitals at the cemetery. Guided historical tours are being carried out since 2010. All this events and activities have contributed to the introduction of a new concept of cemetery - more integrated in society, in stark contrast with the dark and tragic connotation that historically have turned away cemeteries from society.

*Photo source: www.cementeriosvivos.es


Cemetery San Froilan
Municipal Office, 197 (ground floor)