Museum of silence | Valencia, Spain

Guided tours of the General Cemetery of Valencia (by Rafael Solaz).

The Museum of Silence was born in 2008 at the initiative of the City hall of Valencia, in its Department of Cemeteries, to show to the public a place unknown for most, a whole continent full of history, biography and art: The General Cemetery.

As was already being done in other cemeteries in Europe, there were projected routes based on releasing the history of the cemetery, showing the most illustrious, the most artistic mausoleum, the rich and varied system of symbols and iconography, botany and generally, the most interesting details of a 200-year –old place (one of the first in Spain, it opened in 1807) and that is an important part in the history of Valencia.

THE ROUTE. It begins in the lobby of the cemetery itself and explains the historical background which start with the ancient parish cemeteries, the construction of General Cemetery, its early years ... and the route starts visiting the first section where the oldest graves, mausoleums and tombs, highlighting the architecture, the illustrious people we find at every step and highlighting the Mediterranean garden we can see.

There are 103 mausoleums built in the Nineteenth Century and as many as in the Twentieth Century. If we add the number of tombs with elaborate reliefs and other ornamental motifs, it is an artistic architectural set of first magnitude.

From the first section we continue to section 3rd left, the Columns Gallery, one of the most interesting set of the cemetery. There we found several rich mausoleums but also several illustrious people. The contrast of this section are the 170 columns that offer beauty and uniqueness in the cemetery. In the centre there is the Great Cross of Cholera, built as a tribute to the victims of cholera of the nineteenth century. The bullfighter Granero, poet Maximiliano Thous, painter Salvador Tuset and other illustrious people give splendour to this section.

It then moves to the old civil cemetery (built in 1892), visiting the most illustrious tombs, particularly the most requested one: the one of the novelist Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, a benchmark in the universal literature.

Then we go to the first section but on the right side, where the tomb of another illustrious universal is: the painter Joaquin Sorolla. We visit the three oldest mausoleums (from the mid-nineteenth century) and some of the most important in architecture, showing differences from different times. It is remarkable that the first two sections still keep the romantic nature of the nineteenth century in the transition to the twentieth century Modernism. The route ends analyzing some of the most curious epitaphs in the cemetery. Throughout the route, the historian encourage the audience to make questions on the subject, thus establishing a conversational and interactive route.

46017 – VALENCIA