It’s not that common in Spain to visit cemeteries as a tourist. That’s why it’s so difficult to find a guide or plan to visit famous tombs. Other countries exploit its cemeteries as a tourist site. After 12 years of living in Madrid I went this summer to La Almudena, the largest graveyard in Madrid and one of the biggest in Europe with 120 hectares.
La Almudena was opened nearly 130 years ago as a plan to keep away the epidemics and infections coming from the overflowing cemeteries in downtown. It is composed by several cemeteries: civil, Jewish and Hebrew.
Inspired by Italian cemeteries here rest many witnesses of Spanish history. From the soldiers that joined the Nazi forces in the USSR and Spanish Civil War. Also “Las Trece Rosas” (Thirteen Roses). They were thirteen young women executed in 1939 by Franco’s dictatorship due to their affiliation with the socialist party.
Today it needs a deep restoration in its old central area. You can breathe its quietness walking between the tombs of famous politicians like the communist leader La Pasionaria or Pablo Iglesias, who founded the Spanish socialist party in 1879. Both located on the civil side. Spanish artist Lola Flores and her son, the singer Antonio Flores, are probably the most famous celebrities buried here.
On its upper hill you have a view of Madrid’s skyline. Come here by metro to La Elipa or Almudena stops, opened just two years ago.