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Peaceful Beauty Found Amongst the Guardian Angels of Old San Juan’s Cemetery – A Photo Visit in 20 Stunning Images

You are wandering along Old San Juan’s Atlantic coastline and fortress wall between San Cristobal and San Felipe’s El Morro castles, in Puerto Rico, taking in the magnificent ocean vistas, and suddenly you stop. Everything. Completely. Your mind, already in travel vacation mode, further escapes the daily infernal pace it has come accustomed to. Your body comes to a halt.

From your hilltop observatory, peeking through the evenly distanced niches in the wall that protected this strategically positioned island and its city from pirates and colonizing countries in the past, you stare, stunned by the beauty of a vast piece of the coastline covered with white marble crosses brightened by the hot Caribbean sun, against the saturated vivid blue sky above and the deep blue ocean below.

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

You just laid your eyes upon Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis, Old San Juan’s Cemetery, which was built in the early 1800’s just below El Morro’s lighthouse. This is where Puerto Rico’s most preeminent people, whether politicians, artists, singers or actors were interred.

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

That is how I felt upon discovering this seaside cemetery. I felt drawn towards the numerous sculpted statues and ornate headstones that I could distinguish from above. Camera in hand, I had to find the entrance. You need to continue to the beginning of the lawn in front of El Morro, and you will see a small road that passes underground, and leads to the arched front gate of Old San Juan’s cemetery. Walk carefully through the graffiti filled tunnel in the curve, as there is no visibility.

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

The artfully crafted religious statues were impressive in size and number, and their skillfully carved expressions moved my spiritual being.

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

Some of these are veritable monuments to the legacy of the loved ones interred here, as this particular one.

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

And this beautiful one, which holds the inscription: “No lloreis, rogad por mi, voy a unir me con dios, yos espero en el cielo.” From Spanish translates to: “Do not weep, pray for me, as I am with God, and wait for you in heaven.”

 

White Marble Crosses Standing Still Against the Perpetual Moving Ocean

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

The white crosses against the moving sea, all the different symbolism that one could feel through these visions; perpetual movement of the ocean -where water is symbol and necessity to Life- meets the sacred place where time stands still, where heartbeats stop… The magnificence of nature, the cycle of Life… The bright colors… a sense that all of this is so beautiful. For a moment, I pause.

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

 

The Guardian Angels of Old San Juan’s Cemetery

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

Meet here some of the amazingly beautiful winged angels, forever guardians of the final resting place that is Old San Juan’s Cemetery. A feeling of gratitude overwhelms me, for those angels that look over my family and me.

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

I know… could not resist another shot of this beautifully winged angel.

As I leave the cemetery, the rotunda shaped Chapel of Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis stands colorful under the watch of El Morro’s citadel lighthouse.

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

As I finally arrive to Old San Juan’s hilltop fortress, I glance down once again onto the colorful Chapel of Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis and Old San Juan’s amazing coastal cemetery.

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

Safety tip for women traveling alone, solo traveler or single woman:

Although there is no safety issue by day, as there are many tourists in and around the cemetery, do not venture in or around the cemetery after nightfall. The poor neighborhood of Old San Juan, “La Perla”, notoriously the street crime slums of Puerto Rico’s capital, is situated along the coast just before the cemetery.  Check Puerto Rico’s governmental and official tourist web sites for further safety information in San Juan and on the island.

And as always, when visiting a religious sanctuary – church, temple, mosque, shrine, or cemetery – of any religious belief around the world, please be mindful and respectful. Lower your voice if you really have to talk, modestly cover your shoulders or head if you are asked to, and be careful where you walk. And PLEASE… shut down your darn cell phones!

 (Aimée Fawn Everly)

I hope you have enjoyed this photo visit. Tell my readers and myself in your comments below of your personal experience when visiting Old San Juan’s Cemetery in Puerto Rico, or similar sites that moved you emotionally around the world. I would love to read about it 🙂

By Aimée Fawn, Wanderlust Addict 

– Also known as “The Cruising Gal” per her experience cruising the seven seas, and as “La_Voyageuse” globetrotting on Twitter, but mostly as “The girl laughing with the glass of wine in her hand” 😉

4 Comments

  1. Capt Jill April 2, 2014 Reply

    Hi Aimee,
    I loved your description and photos of the cemetary. I was in Puerto Rico a few years ago and went to El Morro, but I never noticed the cemetary there.
    I think I spent more time then at the beach and the Bacardi factory. 😉
    I did go to the famous cemetary in Buenos Aires La Recoleta and also the one in New Orleans. Both were pretty neat to wander around in. I also took tons of pictures but I don’t think they turned out as nice as yours.

    • Author
      Aimée Fawn April 12, 2014 Reply

      Thank you Jill – I can understand wanting beach and rum time 😉
      I will look up La Recoleta. Had a very interesting visit of the cemetery in New Orleans. As usual, an entertaining and knowledgeable guide will really make a difference – and they are certainly entertaining in NOLA!
      I just visited Savannah, Georgia, and their beautiful riverside cemetery setting, tons of flowering shrubs right now and beautiful alleys of spanish moss covered trees…The Bonaventure Cemetery. Will post about it soon. Safe travels Captain!

  2. Theresa April 4, 2014 Reply

    Very serene, love the images of the statuary with the ocean backdrop, especially the Sacred Heart. Thanks for sharing these subtle yet striking reminders there are angels watching over us everywhere. <3

    • Author
      Aimée Fawn April 12, 2014 Reply

      I thought about you dear Theresa when taking these photos! So much symbolism to be found here, striking my philosophical cord and sensitivity… It is quite a calming experience.

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