Photos from Spain’s Largest Cemetery

We all have our weird quirks when we travel, right?

Cory loves the cultural experience of going to local movie theaters. And I always like to take some time to wander around the local cemetery.

Yep, the cemetery.

(You didn’t know that about me? Might I direct your attention to my cemetery visits in New Orleans, Concord, Virginia City and Iceland – just a fraction of the many I have visited over the years.)

We had some free time while in Madrid, Spain, so we made our way to Cementerio de Nuestra Señora de La Almudena. About five million people are buried here, which is more than the population of Madrid itself. Meaning “Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery” in English, this is Spain’s largest cemetery. It is also one of the largest in Western Europe.

It’s worth noting several well-known Spaniards are buried here as well, though I am not familiar with any of them.

But, to say it is a crowded cemetery is an understatement.

It was quiet the day we went – just a couple days after Christmas – and we saw only a couple other people. The sheer size of this cemetery is overwhelming. Different layers of graves are stacked on top of each other, and the headstones were so close to each other, the cemetery looked like a sea of concrete from above.

Many of the wall vaults holding cremated ashes were crushed; I can’t imagine what happened to the ashes. We wandered through a section of the cemetery with family mausoleums, and they were in complete disrepair – smashed windows, busted doors, overturned statues in small buildings that people hadn’t visited in years.

I was happy to see, however, that several headstones were lovingly cared for, adorned with plastic flowers and religious idols.

headstone madrid


madrid cemetery


madrid cemetery


Madrid Mausoleum


2 Responses to “Photos from Spain’s Largest Cemetery”

  1. Travelling Crone

    Glad to know I am not alone in my attraction to old cemeteries, there is just something powerful that draws me.

    • JoAnna

      I agree! Cemeteries aren’t on everyone’s to-visit list, but I like to stop by the local graveyard if I have the time.


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