One of the most visited and unique things to do in Medellin is having a visit to the San Pedro Museum and Cemetery. An amazing exhibition of funeral art.
San Pedro is a cemetery and Medellin museum located in the center of the city. It was constructed in 1842, proclaimed as museum in 1998 and declared a National Monument in 1999. It’s an important piece of the cultural and architectural heritage of the city.
With its preserved sculpture and architecture, the cemetery represents the local and national funerary art. Lately the place has begun to emerge as a new venue for artistic dissemination. In full moon nights, the San Pedro cemetery hosts concerts, shows, storytelling, theater and dance. But undoubtedly its most significant characteristic are the funerary monuments erected in memory of prominent figures in the history of Colombia.
The Cemetery of San Pedro was founded on September 22nd, 1842 after the initiative of Dr. Pedro Restrepo Uribe, who together with 50 elite people from Antioquia decided to build the first private cemetery in the town of Candelaria. The partners, in compliance with the hygiene rules ordering to building cemeteries on the outskirts of the towns, bought a piece of land north of the town for the construction of the cemetery, this initially called San Vicente de Paul Cemetery and later San Pedro, as it’s known today. The site was blessed on May 21st, 1845 and its first chapel on December 20th, 1849, this was replaced in 1897 by a kiosk that was located in the center of the circular courtyard, to make way for the construction of the current chapel with plans drawn up by the Belgian architect Agustin Goovaerts in 1929, currently has a declaration as the nation’s cultural heritage.
A large number of influential people in national political history are buried in San Pedro Cemetery as former presidents, traders and businessmen, artists and writers such as Pedro Nel Gomez, Bernardo Vieco, Jorge Isaac, Efe Gomez, Fidel Cano and Ciro Mendia.
Many of the Monuments and mausoleums were imported from Italy and many other were made by local artists as Marco Tobon Mejia or Bernardo Vieco, which are adorned with impressive sculptures in materials like marble or bronze that evoke different moments in art and architecture, which were adopted at the time by being international language expression in art.
In 1996 began a process of assessment and recovery of architectural, cultural and funerary heritage of San Pedro Cemetery. On October 1998 the cemetery was declared as Site Museum by the Antioquia Museum Network, and in November 26th, 1999 as National Cultural Property by the Ministry of Culture.
Since 2000, the San Pedro Cemetery has allowed children, youth and adults, and strangers take ownership of the site and its history through different educational and cultural programs making this space unique and different in the city of Medellin.
Today the cemetery is a living museum where anyone can evoke the distant or immediate Medellin past: it’s a sanctuary where the dead are honored with simple or lavish tributes, a space for reflection: A place where the story never dies.
There is a free guided tour every Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
The museum is open Monday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
It’s located just outside the Hospital station of the Metro:
Carrera 51 # 68 – 68
Phone: 516 76 50