On the trip from the airport to the centre of Madrid recently, I spotted an enormous cemetery (bigger than anything I have ever seen before) and thought that it might be worth a visit.
I know that may sound a little odd but often cemeteries tell you so much about the people, culture and history of a country (on a previous visit to Lithuania my friend Antanas took me to a magnificent old cemetery just outside Vilnius which was very atmospheric and provided excellent photographic opportunities).
After making some enquires I discovered that it was called “Cementerio de La Almudena” and was a short metro ride to La Elipa. A five minute walk brings you to the entrance with the imposing church resembling a gherkin overlooking the entrance.
As you wander around the cemetery your breath is taken away at times by the sheet size and majesty of some family mausoleums, whilst a few feet away there are simple unadorned burial plots with no headstone (presumably lack of funds to buy expensive headstones), it is a contrast of extremes.
There are some lovely walls of remembrance containing individual plaques with the vast majority having some religious connotation, I could only find one that seemed to have no religious aspect at all (but then, we are I Spain a staunchly catholic country).
There are some old display walls which have been emptied because they would appear to have been unsafe, but when I first encountered them I was a little taken aback as they reminded me of the ovens at Auschwitz concentration camp. I did wonder if this was just me but my wife, unprompted made a similar comment.
It is a place of peace and tranquillity and well worth a visit. I have a confession to make here, in that I took numerous photographs whilst walking through the graveyard but discovered on exiting the cemetery that there was a sign saying no photographs. My intention was to try and capture the atmosphere of the cemetery, not to impose on anyone but respect the sanctity of the place as it obviously means so much to many people. So, I apologise in advance if anyone is offended, as it was never my intention to do so.
Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2017