City of Deads
My friend and I took the taxi quickly, we were getting late. It’s almost 4pm, the sun just has gone and the cloud was turning on gray black. Sadith is my old friend, She was a little scared unlike me I was excited. We were going to meet to “El niño Ricardito” (Child Richard). He is seven years old and lives at “Presbitero Maestro cemetery”. He is dead.
The first cemetery of the city.
Presbitero Matías Maestro” was the first cemetery of Lima and one of the oldest cemeteries in America. It’s located in “Barrios altos” in the outside of downtown Lima. Before to built this cemetery, people were buried in the underground and catacombs of Churchs and Cathedrals, for this reason in 1808 a spanish priest Elías Presbitero Maestro designed this magnific monument to the deads.
Presbitero Maestro cemetery
It’s considered historical monument in Peru and America because it has extraordinary architecture and fantastic sculptures.
In this cemetery were buried the most important personalities of the century XIX and the aristocracy (rich people) from Lima. It’s a real city with streets and avenues. It has 150 000 m2, more than 685 graves, 393 mausoleum and 72 historical monuments.
The cemetery has graves of many historical Personalities of Peru in addition to the mausoleum erected in honor of the heroes of the Pacific War- (War between Peru and Chile). The most important people from the History of Lima were buried there. Writers as Ricardo Palma or José Santos Chocano, presidents as Augusto B. Leguia, intelectuals as Jose Carlos Mariategui or Raúl Porras and heroes as Miguel Grau “The lord of the seas” . People that wrote the History of Peru.
Ramon Castilla Mausoleum - President of Peru in the century XIX
Finding to Ricardito
Behind the shadows of the scultures and walls of the this cemetery are hidden stories, legends and myths. One of them is the story about “Ricardito” or The little Richard.
Ricardo Espiell Barrionuevo known as “Ricardito” was born in Lima in 1886. “The little Richard” died when he was 7 years old. Nobody knows exactly the causes of his death. He was buried at “Presbitero Maestro cemetery”.
The legend tell us that his relatives made a statue in his name after his death. A big earthquake destroyed part of the cemetery and the statue dissappeared. Nobody could find the statue. Strangely after some months the statue appeared in Spain and it was intact. The president of that moment ordered to bring back it again. How the statue appeared in Spain? A mystery.
People say the statue is miracolous. Thanks to “Ricardito” that people could get a job or solve problem, for this reason they always give him any kind of gift: flowers, sweets and toys.
At the end of our visit, my friend wasnt’ afraid anymore and I thought “when the faith, the scary and the superstition are together begin a new myth”. If it doesn’t exist, we invent it”