What is the Sucre General Cemetery? Cemetery
Where is it? Calle Loa (about 8 blocks from Plaza 25 de Mayo), Sucre, Bolivia
How much does it cost? Free with guided tours available at the entrance for $5
How long do I need? 30 minutes – 1 hour
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You can learn a lot about a culture by observing the way that they bury their dead. Seek out the headstone of late rockstars in Père Lachaise or observe the burial rituals at Varanasi. If you don’t find the experience too grim, it can be fascinating to see the many ways that people say goodbye. Sucre General Cemetery kept popping up alongside the bizarre Dinosaur Dancefloor as one of the top things to do in Sucre.
Now, how could a cemetery possibly be a tourist attraction? The cemetery in Sucre doesn’t look much like other cemeteries. While it has its share of mausoleums and headstones, the majority of the graves are narrow slots in the wall. Arranged into barracks – often 7 plots high – the gravesites look kind of like very tiny, high-efficiency apartments. Lots and lots of them.
But the Sucre General Cemetery is far from gloomy. Replacing headstones are gaudily decorated shadow boxes. Photos, flowers, candles, and the occasional bottle (because who’s going to stop them from drinking now?) celebrate life lost in vivid color. The cemetery is always in bloom with freshly cut flowers and candles still burning from recent relative visits. Particularly colorful are the slightly smaller plots decorated with toys — the section of the cemetery dedicated to children who passed too soon.
As vast as the Sucre General Cemetery may be, it turns out the plots are quite hard to come by. Grave real estate depends primarily on who has been recently evicted, so families are buried separately. Rentals are quite expensive and capped at seven years (costing nearly $10,000 for a seven-year rental) so it is a luxury to be buried here. After the seven years are up? Families have to come claim the body and have it cremated. Should they forget, the outcome is just as bad as you think.
Sure, a visit to Sucre General Cemetery might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but the place is truly beautiful. Looking for things to do in Sucre? Here’s a look inside the cemetery.
Exploring Sucre General Cemetery
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