If you’re looking for a spooky yet educational activity for the family, a visit to the Presbitero Maestro Cemetery museum should be top on your list.

Presbitero Maestro Cemetery. ©Eduardost

The Presbitero Maestro Cemetery – the first municipal cemetery in Latin America – was commissioned by Viceroy Fernando de Abascal and built by Matías Maestro between 1805 and 1808. It became a World Monuments Watch Site in 2006. The cemetery is the final resting place of many important historical figures that have left their mark on Peru, such as presidents, political and religious leaders, artists, and Matías Maestro himself. Moreover, the cemetery showcases numerous gorgeous examples of neoclassical art and architecture in the 19th century mausoleums and European marble sculptures. For these reasons, the Presbitero Maestro Cemetery is a must-see attraction for history buffs and architecture fanatics alike.

A wealth of statues, carvings and engravings. ©Seauton

This impressive and beautiful site is always open for visitation during the day. However, if you want a truly eerie experience, some tour operators offer immersive night tours that include an entry ticket, transport, and knowledgeable guide. Walking around 200 year old tombs, monuments, sculptures, and murals by moonlight is an experience you won’t easily forget.

Highlights of the tour include the areas reserved for suicides and suspected witches, as well as the Crypt of Heroes – a massive and ornately decorated tomb that was designed to honor and remember those brave Peruvians who fought and died on the battlefields during the War of Independence and the War of the Pacific. The tour takes about three and a half hours and requires some walking, as you explore the extensive grounds.

A visit to the Presbitero Maestro Cemetery is like taking a trip back in time, and while the stories and history that linger among the graves may seem spooky, the cemetery really serves as a quiet corner of peace in the midst of bustling Lima.

We’d like to hear from you. Have you visited this cemetery? What did you think? Better at night or during the day? Tell us your thoughts here: Visiting the Presbitero Maestro cemetery.