General Cemetery of Valencia (Valencia, Spain)

General Cemetery of Valencia (Valencia, Spain)
The cemetery was inaugurated in the morning of Sunday 7th June, 1807, and the first deceased was buried the next day.

History of burials

With Christianity, people got used to bury the dead near churches. At first, the graves were on the outside of the temples and along its walls. As the faithful went to the place to do their religion duties, it was necessary to put these early graveyards under cover of the ravages of time. So, soon the halls and the arcade were built, which were the origin of the chapels where the faithful gathered when they wanted to pray over the graves. This burial ground was joint to the church itself through porches and arcades, until it was shut to separate it from the church building but forming a continuation of the religious center itself.

Cemeteries outside the city walls

The parish burial practice remained in Spain until the second half of the eighteenth century. In 1785 Benito Bails had written a work to stress how detrimental it was for people to keep parish cemeteries within towns. In 1786 the councilor Tomás Pascual de Almunia, representative of the nobility, had also advocated the closure of all cemeteries inside the city walls. The proposal had also the approval of the Faculty of Medicine. It was then Carlos III who would issue a Royal Order, on April the 3rd, 1787, outlawing such custom and ordering the setting-up of cemeteries away from the city, as a measure against previous unhygienic and unhealthy practice.

Beginning of the General Cemetery of Valencia

In Valencia, the law was fulfilled in the nineteenth century with the Proclamation of April 26, 1804, issued by Manager Chief Magistrate Cayetano de Urbina. It was from that moment that truly begins the demolition of the parish cemeteries in Valencia and the creation of a General Cemetery for all its citizens.

The profits from the sale of land from parish cemeteries was used to actual construction of the new cemetery. The project was designed by the city architect Cristóbal Sales, in partnership with fellow architect and scholar Manuel Blasco, and was approved by the Fine Art Academy of San Carlos. The new cemetery was located at the mill land Molí de Tell, along the path of Picassent. Work began in July 1805 and concluded in 1807. The cemetery was inaugurated in the morning of Sunday 7th June, 1807, and the first deceased was buried the next day, using a common grave. A year after the official opening the first 80 tombs were rosen.

Cemetery development

After thirty years of its opening all capacities of the cemetery were exceeded tand fully occupied. That's when first enlargements happened.

In 1846 it was built the first Mausoleum: the one of Juan Bautista Romero, followed by the ones of the family Dotres and White-Llano.

In 1876 a new expansion was approved. Around 1880 the terms to build new tombs and porticoes were adopted. According to the original plans from the 1871, it was decided to use the area of over 15.000 square metres in the current section 3. There are the so-called Gates or Columns Gallery - a gallery formed by 170 robust monolithic columns and Doric capitals. The works, which were completed in 1892, were paid by the profits from the sale of the mausoleum lands.

In 1886 the waiting room was built and in 1907, the Patio de las Palmeras. Architects like Sebastian Monleón, Joaquin Maria Arnau, Francisco Almenar, Gerardo Roig, Vicente Sanchoand Antonio Martorell, designed the mausoleums with renowned sculptors of the era: Mariano Benlliure, Ricardo Boix, Eugenio Carbonell, Carreras and Alfonso Gabino, to name some of them, that along with other professionals, helped to give splendor to the current image of the cemetery.

In following years, the common graves were opened to bury the dead, according to the circumstances of death and the time lived. Epidemics of the Nineteenth Century and especially the Civil War (1936-1939) caused the necessity for this type of burial.

In the decades of the 50’s to 80’s, there is an extensive development of the cemetery. The economic boost and the population growth produced an increase in burials and the emergence of more artistic headstones, which, in turn, introduced a changing image of the cemetery.

In March 1988, following the Mortuary Sanitary Police’s new laws, Municipal Crematorium opened. An Avant-garde building, designed by the architect Fernando Romeu, being surrounded by tall eucalyptus, palms and pines. An evocative Garden of Remembrance for the burial of ashes was allocated in Section 11, composed of four quadrants and a pyramidal mound in the center. One of another recent constructions is the City Funeral Home (2000), a modernist design building planned by architect Jordi Pinyol.

Currently the cemetery is divided into 21 sections, with their quadrants, blocks, letters and numbers, individual in each of the blocks. Section 20th, the most recently built, is located in the southern area of the city near the new river channel, next to the Funeral Home and the administrative offices.

Islamic Cemetery

Following the November 1992 law,  the Islamic Cemetery was constructed by section No. 14 in the year 2000 and with the agreement on the Islamic Community of Valencia. This new installation has two entrances. The first is used for family visits, it is connected to the General Cemetery and it exhibits a horseshoe arch at the gate with the Islamic Cemetery identification written in Arabian. The second one is used exclusively for burials and leads directly to the outside, facing the district of San Isidro.


Plaza Santo Domingo de Guzmán, nº 27
Camino Viejo de Picassent s/n.
46017 - Valencia, Spain


Tel.: 96 352 54 78 (extensions 2502-2807-2808)
Fax.: 96 378 22 90