Pantheon of San Fernando
The burial place of some of Mexico's most prominent residents is full of macabre stories and hidden masonic symbols.
The Pantheon of San Fernando (Museo Panteón de San Fernando) was one of the most important burial grounds of 19th-century Mexico, and today preserves the tombs of many of the country’s most notable residents.
The cemetery is the final resting place of former president Benito Juárez and his wife Margarita Maza; Ignacio Zaragoza, the general credited with winning the Cinco de Mayo battle; Independence leader Vicente Guerrero; the famous soprano Henriette Sontag; and many others. The graveyard was closed to burials in 1872, and declared a museum in 2006.
Some of the entombed have haunting stories surrounding their deaths. The corpse of the writer Francisco Zarco was stolen by a friend who brought it home to talk to. Or Miguel Miramón, a general shot by the Juárez government, whose loving wife took his heart and exhibited it in a reliquary inside her bedroom. The place also has it fair share of ghost stories, such as the statue of Juan de la Granja that is said to move.
Maybe the most impressive part of the graveyard are the hidden masonic symbols on the tombs. Many of the deceased were Freemasons from different masonic lodges, and as such the tombs are decorated with pyramids, black and white mosaics, brackets, and compasses. A guided tour describes the many funerary art symbols seen throughout the cemetery.
Of course the best way to visit the graveyard is at nighttime. The museum is open to the public for free on the night of the last Wednesday of every month.
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