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Panteón de Dolores

Coordinates: 19°24′25″N 99°12′14″W / 19.407°N 99.204°W / 19.407; -99.204
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Panteón de Dolores
Main entrance to the Panteón de Dolores
TypeClosed (1975)
Size240 square hectometres (590 acres)
No. of graves700,000
No. of intermentsover 1 million

The Panteón Civil de Dolores is the largest cemetery in Mexico and contains the Rotonda de las Personas Ilustres (English: Circle of Illustrious Persons). It is located on Avenida Constituyentes in the Miguel Hidalgo borough of Mexico City, between sections two and three of Chapultepec Park.[1]


The history of the cemetery goes back to 1870, when Juan Manuel Benfield—owner of El Rancho de Coscoacoaco (his wife was Concepción Gayosso y Mugarrieta, sister of Eusebio Gayosso)—set aside an area of his ranch measuring 240 square hectometres (590 acres), called La Tabla de Dolores, on which he intended to establish a cemetery. In 1875, the cemetery was opened and named El Panteón Civil de Dolores. Juan Manuel Benfield founded the cemetery in honor of his sister, who died in Veracruz shortly after she had arrived from London, England with their parents. As they were Anglicans, and all cemeteries in Veracruz were consecrated for use only by Roman Catholics, the only suitable burial ground to be had was on the beach. Today, the cemetery has about 700,000 tombs, many with multiple occupants.[2]

The Rotunda of Illustrious Persons[edit]

View of the Rotunda

The Rotonda de las Personas Ilustres (Rotunda of Illustrious Persons) is a site that honors those who are considered to have exalted the civic, national and human values of Mexico. It contains the graves of those who have made important contributions in the military, civic and cultural fields.[3] Originally named “The Rotunda of Illustrious Men” (Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres), it was conceived by then President Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada as a space to perpetuate the memory of chosen men. The decree reads, “In this place of honor, the necessary land will be given free of charge to erect the monuments designed to guard the remains of or perpetuate the memory of the illustrious men who are decreed or for whom posthumous honors are decreed.”

In 1876, the first person to be honored with a burial there was a soldier by the name of Pedro Litechipia, who died fighting against the empire of Maximilian.[3] By decree of President Vicente Fox, in 2003, the name was changed to “Rotonda de las Personas Ilustres” (“Rotunda of Distinguished Persons”, rather than ‘men’) as the Rotunda has a number of female occupants.[3] The Rotunda contains the graves of three former presidents, many heroes from the Mexican Revolution, writers, artists and scientists.[2] The National General Archive shows 104 images of those buried there.[3]


Crowded gravesites

Generally considered the largest cemetery in Latin America,[4] the most serious problem at the cemetery is limited space. No new grave sites have been established since 1975, and only those individuals who have purchased a site in-perpetuity, prior to 1977, can bury relatives in the cemetery; however, the remains must be stacked above those who are already interred. Municipal laws permit a maximum of five bodies to be buried in the same plot, yet some tombs may have as many as ten buried on top of each other.[2]

The cemetery is working to encourage the acceptance and practice of cremation as an acceptable alternative. The crowded cemetery, along with the desires of many to be interred there, has created a higher demand for exhumations as well as cremation services. The cemetery has four crematoria, averaging about four cremations daily. However, an average of ten traditional burials are still performed each day, all in graves that have been used previously.[2]

The cemetery is listed with National Institute of Anthropology and History as an historical monument, due to the many iconic persons interred there and the old age of the property.[5] However, this status has not kept the cemetery in good repair. There are problems with maintenance as well as security. In the back part of the cemetery, in a gully, workers have discarded old caskets and urns that are considered unusable. Those who work in the cemetery bear witness or can attest to graverobbing for artistic and archaeologically-significant pieces.[4]

In January 2009, a section of the original south-side retaining wall that was built in the 19th century crumbled and fell, damaging a number of graves in the process. This section was over 1 km long and 4 meters high.[5] Rehabilitation work had been scheduled for September 2008, at a cost of 10 million pesos, with a focus of making the cemetery more dignified for visitors, including the remodeling of the main entrance on Constituyentes Avenue.[4]

Notable people interred at the Panteón Dolores[edit]

The following is the list of people currently interred at the Rotunda of Illustrious Persons:[6]

Grave of Dolores Del Rio
Grave of Diego Rivera
Grave of José Clemente Orozco
Grave of Ramón López Velarde
Grave of Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada
Grave of David Alfaro Siqueiros
Grave of María Lavalle
Grave of Alfonso Reyes
Name Occupation Birthplace Year of birth & death Date interred
David Alfaro Siqueiros muralist Chihuahua 1896–1974 Jan 8, 1974
Ignacio Manuel Altamirano lawyer, novelist, diplomat Guerrero 1834–1893 Nov 14, 1934
Tina Modotti photographer, activist Friuli, Italy 1896–1942
Juan Álvarez interim president Guerrero 1790–1867 Dec 27, 1922
Eligio Ancona del Castillo author, playwright, governor Yucatán 1835–1893 Apr 13, 1903
Agustín Aragón León educator, deputy Morelos 1870–1954 Mar 31, 1954
Mariano Arista Nuez president, military leader San Luis Potosí 1802–1855 Oct 8, 1881
Ponciano Arriaga governor, lawyer San Luis Potosí 1811–1863 Jun 22, 1900
Manuel Azpiroz military leader, diplomat Puebla 1836–1905 Apr 24, 1905
Mariano Azuela author, physician Jalisco 1873–1952 Mar 2, 1952
Joaquín Baranda jurist, deputy Yucatán 1840–1909 Jun 29, 1981
Gabino Barreda educator Puebla 1818–1881 Jan 22, 1968
Felipe Berriozábal military leader, governor Zacatecas 1829–1900 Jan 12, 1900
Calixto Bravo Villaso military leader Guerrero 1790–1878 Apr 7, 1878
Valentín Campa railway union leader and presidential candidate Monterrey 1904–1999 Nov 25, 2019
Emilio Carranza Rodríguez aviator Coahuila 1905–1928 Jul 24, 1928
Nabor Carrillo Flores scientist Mexico City 1911–1967 Jan 28, 1975
Julián Carrillo musician, composer San Luis Potosí 1875–1965 Jan 28, 1975
Alfonso Caso archaeologist, anthropologist Mexico City 1896–1970 Jan 7, 1974
Antonio Caso author, philosopher Mexico City 1883–1946 Dec 19, 1963
Rosario Castellanos author, teacher, diplomat Mexico City 1925–1974 Aug 9, 1974
Heberto Castillo social leader, engineer, politician Veracruz 1928–1997 Apr 5, 2004
José Cevallos Cepeda military leader, governor Durango 1831–1893 Apr 22, 1893
Francisco Javier Clavijero historian, teacher Veracruz 1731–1787 Aug 6, 1970
Diódoro Corella military leader Sonora 1838–1876 Jun 17, 1876
Carlos Chávez musician, composer Mexico City 1899–1978 Aug 3, 1978
Ignacio Chávez physician, scientist Michoacán 1897–1979 Feb 26, 1997
Santos Degollado military leader, politician Guanajuato 1811–1861 Nov 26, 1936
Francisco Díaz Covarrubias engineer, scientist, diplomat Veracruz 1833–1889 Oct 29, 1921
Salvador Díaz Mirón poet, politician, journalist Veracruz 1853–1928 Jun 16, 1928
Mariano Escobedo military leader, politician Nuevo León 1826–1902 May 24, 1902
Genaro Estrada historian, politician Sinaloa 1887–1937 Oct 3, 1977
Virginia Fábregas stage actress Morelos 1872–1950 Nov 18, 1950
Ricardo Flores Magón journalist, anarchist Oaxaca 1874–1922 May 1, 1945
Juan José de la Garza governor, jurist, military leader Tamaulipas 1826–1893 Oct 18, 1893
Emma Godoy author Guanajuato 1918–1989 Nov 28, 2006
Valentín Gómez Farías deputy, physician, president Jalisco 1781–1858 Jul 3, 1933
Manuel Gómez Morín ideologist Chihuahua 1897–1972 Feb 27, 2004
Manuel González Flores president, military leader Tamaulipas 1833–1893 May 11, 1893
Francisco González Bocanegra poet, author San Luis Potosí 1824–1861 Sep 27, 1932
Amalia Gonzalez Caballero diplomat, cabinet minister, minister plenipotentiary and writer Tamaulipas 1898–1986 Nov 22, 2012
Enrique González Martínez author, diplomat Jalisco 1871–1952 Feb 20, 1952
Jesús González Ortega military leader, governor Zacatecas 1822–1881 Apr 1, 1881
Donato Guerra military leader Jalisco 1832–1876 May 27, 1896
Guillermo Haro astronomer Mexico City 1913–1988 Aug 6, 1994
José María Iglesias president, jurist Mexico City 1823–1891 Jan 29, 1987
María Izquierdo painter Jalisco 1902–1955 Nov 22, 2012
Agustín Lara musician, composer Veracruz 1900–1970 Nov 9, 1970
María Lavalle Urbina magistrate, senator, rights activist Campeche 1908–1996 Nov 28, 2006
Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada president, lawyer, politician Veracruz 1823–1889 May 14, 1889
Pedro Letechipía military leader Zacatecas 1832–1876 Mar 21, 1876
Vicente Lombardo Toledano politician, ideologist Puebla 1894–1968 Jul 16, 1994
Ramón López Velarde poet Zacatecas 1888–1921 Jun 15, 1963
Francisco Martínez de la Vega journalist, governor San Luis Potosí 1909–1985 Aug 6, 1994
José María Mata military leader, diplomat Veracruz 1819–1895 Mar 16, 1900
Juan A. Mateos author, politician Mexico City 1831–1813 Dic 30, 1913
Ignacio Mejía military leader, politician Oaxaca 1814–1906 Jun 27, 1914
Juan N. Méndez president, military leader Puebla 1820–1894 Dec 3, 1894
Jose Pablo Moncayo pianist, percussionist, music teacher, composer and conductor Jalisco 1912–1958 Nov 22, 2012
Francisco Montes de Oca military physician Mexico City 1837–1885 May 18, 1885
José María Luis Mora politician, historian Guanajuato 1794–1850 Jun 24, 1963
Gerardo Murillo, "Dr. Atl" muralist Jalisco 1875–1964 Aug 16, 1964
Miguel Negrete military leader, minister Puebla 1824–1897 May 5, 1948
Amado Nervo poet, journalist, diplomat Nayarit 1870–1919 Nov 14, 1919
Jaime Nunó musician, composer Catalonia, Spain 1824–1908 Oct 11, 1942
Edmundo O'Gorman writer, historian and philosopher Mexico City 1906–1995 Nov 22, 2012
Juan O'Gorman muralist, architect Mexico City 1905–1982 Nov 11, 1982
Melchor Ocampo politician, lawyer Michoacán 1814–1861 Jun 3, 1897
Isaac Ochotorena biologist, educator Puebla 1885–1950 Apr 12, 1950
Pedro Ogazón Rubio governor, politician Jalisco 1824–1890 May 3, 1890
José Clemente Orozco muralist Jalisco 1883–1949 Sep 8, 1949
Manuel José Othón poet, playwright, deputy San Luis Potosí 1858–1906 Jun 14, 1964
Carlos Pacheco military leader, politician Chihuahua 1839–1891 Sep 19, 1891
Carlos Pellicer poet, curator Tabasco 1899–1977 Mar 31, 1977
Manuel de la Peña y Peña president, jurist Mexico City 1789–1850 Jan 2, 1895
Ángela Peralta opera singer, composer Mexico City 1845–1883 Apr 17, 1937
Basilio Pérez Gallardo politician, author Zacatecas 1817–1889 Feb 6, 1889
José María Pino Suárez vice president, author, politician Tabasco 1869–1913 Nov 6, 1986
Manuel M. Ponce musician, composer Zacatecas 1886–1948 Oct 4, 1952
Guillermo Prieto politician, author Mexico City 1818–1897 Mar 4, 1897
Bernardo Quintana engineer Mexico City 1919–1984 Oct 20, 2005
Ignacio Ramírez, "El Nigromante" politician, journalist, author Guanajuato 1818–1879 Oct 7, 1934
Rafael Ramírez Castañeda educator Veracruz 1885–1959 Mar 23, 1976
Carlos Ramírez Ulloa engineer Jalisco 1903–1980 Aug 14, 1981
Miguel Ramos Arizpe politician, priest Coahuila 1775–1843 Jun 29, 1974
Silvestre Revueltas musician, composer Durango 1899–1940 Mar 23, 1976
Jesús Reyes Heroles ideologist, historian, politician Veracruz 1921–1985 Mar 5, 2003
Alfonso Reyes author, diplomat Nuevo León 1889–1959 Dec 28, 1959
Dolores del Río actress Durango 1905–1983 Nov 28, 2006
Vicente Riva Palacio author, historian, politician Mexico City 1832–1896 May 20, 1936
Diego Rivera muralist, painter Guanajuato 1886–1957 Nov 26, 1957
Sóstenes Rocha military leader Guanajuato 1831–1897 April 1, 1897
Antonio Rosales military leader, poet, journalist Zacatecas 1822–1865 Jan 5, 1923
Juventino Rosas musician, composer Guanajuato 1868–1894 Jan 5, 1923
Arturo Rosenblueth physician, researcher Chihuahua 1900–1970 Jan 7, 1974
Carlos Rovirosa aviator Tabasco 1904–1930 May 24, 1930
Miguel Ruelas lawyer, diplomat Zacatecas 1838–1880 Oct 30, 1881
Moisés Sáenz educator Nuevo León 1888–1941 Jun 29, 1981
Pedro Sainz de Baranda military leader Campeche 1787–1845 Mar 13, 1987
Rosendo Salazar ideologist, worker Puebla 1888–1971 Dec 19, 1971
Manuel Sandoval Vallarta physicist, researcher Mexico City 1899–1977 Oct 5, 1988
Maj. Basilio San Martin military leader Toluca 1849–1905 Oct 9, 1905
Col. Vicente San Martin military leader Toluca 1839–1901 Apr 15, 1901
Francisco Sarabia aviator Durango 1900–1939 Jun 11, 1939
Pablo Sidar aviator Zaragoza, Spain 1895–1930 May 24, 1930
Justo Sierra historian, politician, poet Campeche 1848–1912 Nov 5, 1946
Jesús Silva Herzog economist, sociologist, teacher San Luis Potosí 1893–1985 Nov 14, 1988
José Juan Tablada diplomat, author Mexico City 1871–1945 Nov 5, 1946
Jaime Torres Bodet poet, diplomat Mexico City 1902–1974 May 14, 1974
Gregorio Torres Quintero educator, short story author Colima 1866–1934 Jun 29, 1981
Luis G. Urbina poet, journalist Mexico City 1864–1934 Dec 13, 1934
Francisco L. Urquizo revolutionary general, historian Coahuila 1891–1969 Aug 6, 1994
Jesús Urueta politician, journalist Chihuahua 1867–1920 Mar 29, 1921
Basilio Vadillo educator, diplomat, politician Jalisco 1885–1935 Nov 5, 1935
Ignacio L. Vallarta governor, jurist, politician Jalisco 1830–1893 Jan 10, 1894
Leandro Valle military leader Mexico City 1833–1861 Jun 18, 1987
Felipe Villanueva musician, composer State of Mexico 1862–1893 Aug 27, 1945
Agustín Yáñez governor, author, politician Jalisco 1904–1980 Jan 18, 1980

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Noble, John (2000). Lonely Planet Mexico City. Oakland, CA: Lonely Planet Publications. ISBN 1-86450-087-5.
  2. ^ a b c d Tegel, Simeon (1 December 2002). "Crowd control. (Trade Talk).(Panteon Civil de Dolores cemetery runs out of space, Mexico City, Mexico)(Brief Article)". Latin Trade. Retrieved 2009-05-28.[dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d "Rotunda de las Personas Ilustres". Retrieved 2009-05-28.
  4. ^ a b c Robles, Johana (25 August 2008). "'Revivirá panteón Dolores". El Universal (in Spanish). Retrieved 2009-05-28.
  5. ^ a b Prieto Soldevilla, Alain de J. (9 February 2009). "En riesgo panteón catalogado por el INAH". CNN Expansion.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2009-05-28.
  6. ^ All the information in the list can be found at the Official web page of the Rotonda de las Personas Ilustres (in Spanish). Archived 2009-08-27 at the Wayback Machine

19°24′25″N 99°12′14″W / 19.407°N 99.204°W / 19.407; -99.204