A visit to Barcelona’s oldest cemetery
A Neoclassical cemetery is home to mausoleums featuring works by great architects and sculptors from the second half of the 19th century. After the last expansion of what was the first cemetery built outside the walled perimeter, a number of well-to-do families from Barcelona’s bourgeoisie had pavilions and mausoleums built for them with great artistic quality.
Why visit Poblenou Cemetery?
Poblenou Cemetery is officially called the East Cemetery and is also known as the Old Cemetery to differentiate it from the New Cemetery on Montjuïc Mountain. It was inaugurated in 1775 by its founder, Bishop Climent, 13 years before the obligation to build all cemeteries outside the city walls was imposed for sanitary reasons.
After having been destroyed by Napoleon’s troops, it was reconstructed in 1819 by the Italian architect Antonio Ginesi as a symmetrical enclosure on the same site, with a rectangular floor plan, a semicircular plaza in the middle and a chapel at the rear. The complex is in the Neoclassical style, inspired by the 18th-century cemetery at Pisa, but with a couple of details reminiscent of Ancient Egypt, like the solar disc on the chapel and the feature in the shape of a pyramid on the facade. In the centre, where the various sections meet, there is a mausoleum dedicated to the memory of the victims of the 1821 yellow fever epidemic that left more than 6,000 people dead in Barcelona.
In 1849, the cemetery was expanded to house a rectangular space opposite the entrance dedicated exclusively to the well-to-do classes, which ended up concentrating mausoleums and sculptures of great value, such as "The Kiss of Death", sculpted by Jaume Barba in 1930.
How do you get to Poblenou Cemetery?
On the Green Route of Barcelona Bus Turístic hop off at the Platja de Bogatell – Cementiri del Poblenou stop, which is right where the cemetery and the beach are.
For the most curious of you
- Did you know? The cemetery is home to the tombs of some of Barcelona’s most notable citizens such as Gaudí’s patron Eusebi Güell, Josep Anselm Clavé, Serafí Pitarra, Narcís Oller, José Luis de Vilallonga, and the sculptor Josep Llimona.
- Local’s tip: You should also take a look at the anonymous tombs, because some of them are very interesting, including the ‘santet’ or little saint of Poblenou, a boy from the district to whom offerings are still made.
Discover other places of interest
Barcelona Bus Turístic takes you to Barcelona's most essential attractions. These are just a few of the places you simply must see.