Mausoleum of Illustrious People – Zacatecas, Mexico - Atlas Obscura
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Zacatecas, Mexico

Mausoleum of Illustrious People

This grand yet little-visited tomb seems almost carved into the hill it sits on. 

The city of Zacatecas is well known for several things: its silver mining past, its historical buildings made out pink Cantera stone mined from the nearby quarries, and its dramatic geology. All three of these are represented in the Mausoleum of Illustrious People.

Finished in 1966, the pink Cantera mausoleum was built on a ledge of Zacatecas’s characteristic Cerro de la Bufa, a dramatic hill on the eastern edge of the city that houses many local attractions. El Edén Mine is connected to this hill’s lookout via a famous cable car, and the observation area includes one of the city’s main museums, a camera obscura, and historical monuments.

Amid all these sights, the mausoleum is often overlooked. Yet it houses the remains of many prominent musicians, poets, and leaders, including Mexican composers Francisco Aguilar y Urízar, Genaro Codina Fernández, Úrsulo García Arizmendi, as well as Fernando Villalpando Ávila, who wrote the “March of Zacatecas,” an iconic symphonic piece often considered to be Mexico’s second national anthem.

While the mausoleum is now somewhat derelict, covered in graffiti and debris, it still offers an impressive sight in itself, as well a terrific vantage point for vistas of Zacatecas’s Historic Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Know Before You Go

The mausoleum can be reached via a walkway originating from the Cerro de la Bufa lookout. The walkway starts on the right of the large equestrian statues and takes about 10 minutes to reach the mausoleum on foot. This area is less-transited and illuminated than the lookout and museum so it's best to avoid visiting after dark.

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