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Megalomania

Cemeteries are rather peculiar places. They are not only sites of reverence for the deceased, perhaps a family member, but, they also are a testament of times gone by and, in a way, locations where paragons of historical, artistic or cultural symbolism are represented, a bit like in a museum.

The municipal cemetery in Palma is such a case in point. If you spend enough time there, you will find plenty of evidence of political and historical circumstances, of religious values, artistic styles, wars, plagues and other afflictions such as persecutions, as long as you have an open eye for detail. The cemetery was built in the 1830’s outside of the city’s parameters and was originally called Son Tril·lo. During the 1950’s, the graveyard was extended to its present magnitude.

There are smaller tombs at Palma’s cemetery, there are bigger ones and there are some stunners. The tomb of Joan March i Ordinas and his clan is probably the biggest tomb of all; it is a stunning mausoleum and as such a true expression of megalomania. The man, a figure of dubious repute who made it big in Spanish politics and world finance, must have cultivated a rather high degree of self-importance during his lifetime. Whilst preparing for his afterlife, though, he succumbed to signs of delusions of grandeur by building a massive pantheon as a burial site for himself and his family (see photo above), not quite of pharaonic proportions but almost.

Cementeri de Palma. Guia de passeig is an informative and at times enlightening guide book about the cemetery in Palma, written by Carlos Garrido Torres and published by the Ajuntament de Palma. The book is rather useful and really, quite a good read as long as you are interested in the ins and outs of Mallorca’s history along with its people, culture and values. The book sells for 15 € and is available in two editions (Castellano and Catalan). I recommend a browse of the book, as much as I recommend a stroll through the cemetery.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 17th, 2010. The time was 12:13:46.

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