Santa Ifigenia Cemetery
The cemetery of Santa Ifigenia, place where lies the rest of the National Hero from Cuba, our Apostle José Martí, besides illustrious children of Santiago de Cuba. It was founded in February of 1868, to the northwest of the city of Santiago de Cuba.
This famous cemetery owes its name to the Ethiopian Virgin with equal names, baptized by the Apostle San Mateo, and canonized by her miracles.
The idea arises because from the XVI century and until principles of the XIX century, the great majority of the funerals took place fundamentally in the patios of the churches, or inside the same ones when it was about ecclesiastical, military, political or social important personalities.
The nearness of the burials to the city and the inhabitants was the favorable causes for the propagation of illnesses. At the end of the XIX century one of the King's devoted appeared where he ordered the construction of cemeteries far from the city and the urban centers.
In 1826 the first cemetery of the city of Santiago de Cuba it’s inaugurated, well-known as Cemetery of Santa Ana, because of its proximity to the church of the same name. The life of this cemetery was short due by the quick growth of the population, and with the purpose of avoiding epidemics like the cholera and the yellow fever that whipped in that time, it decided to build other, inaugurated officially in 1868 as General Cemetery of Santa Ifigenia.
It was in April 22 of that same year when it took place the first funerals, although there were gravestone previous to 1868, fact that certify transfers of the old cemetery.
The Cemetery constitutes a reminder of the last and present history of Cuba, because there lies some of the personalities’ rest more valiant and illustrate of the independence wars, as well as some outstanding figures of the art and the Cuban culture.
Attracts attention the monumental character and beauty of the big vaults, built in granite, marble and other valuable materials.
One of the most visited places in the churchyard is the Mausoleum of 24 meters height that keeps the ashes of José Martí, on amounts of earth of every country of Latin America, and where in a perpetual way falls a sunbeam on his tomb. It was inaugurated June 30 1951.
The cemetery of Santa Ifigenia was declared National Monument February 7 1937 and ratified as such by the Revolutionary Government May 20 1979.
Main Tombs and Monuments of the Cemetery: