Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Taphophile Tragics


San Miguel de Azapa, near Arica, northern Chile

This cemetery visit was suggested to me by the owner of the hostel I was staying at in Arica. There is a particularly good museum in San Miguel, he told me how to get there and suggested that, while I was there, I take a look at an interesting cemetery in the desert sands just behind the village.

San Miguel de Azapa is located in the narrow Azapa Valley, which produces tropical fruit (including guava), olives and flowers. The area also is home to relics of the cultures that once populated the area. Located about 13 km from Arica, the town is reached via a paved road that leads past lovely scenery and the San José River. The route also passes a number of archeological sites, such as the geoglyphs area and pucará (pre-Columbian fortress) or San Lorenzo.


Other attractions include the San Miguel de Azapa Museum, which is administered by Universidad de Tarapacá and exhibits 10,000-year-old relics of the Chinchorro culture, which predated the Inca.

The town was also home of the first black slaves to arrive in Chile. Unlike the country's chilly southern region, the climate was amenable to them. When they were freed, they were granted their own land and crops. Many of their descendents still reside in San Miguel de Azapa.

For more taphophilia please visit Julie's Taphophile Tragics.

17 comments:

Steffe said...

A bit different from the cemeteries in my area. The museum sound interesting.

hamilton said...

This looks almost like an old fashioned amusement park!

Julie said...

Yes, I can see the resemblance to the amusement park, too. My first thought,though, was of a series of cots!

I find it hard to get my head around 10,000 years. I agree with Steffe re the museum. Not sure if I find consolation in this long heritage or whether it just proves humankind's essential futility.

The San Jose river has a very narrow effect, judging from the photograph. The town is in a narrow valley, surrounded by desert sands. Is it prone to wind, as in a wind tunnel? The sand is just piled up on the graves with nowt to keep it from being blown away.

I love the variety that your posts add to our meme, Ann. And, BTW, did you WALK the 13 kms?????

Jim said...

Interesting post.

Peter said...

So different from the usual. Looks temporary and vibrant.

Rae Walter said...

Fascinating post Ann. You certainly have been to many interesting places.

diane b said...

That is an interesting cemetery in the sand. Are they roofs providing shade for some of the graves.

NixBlog said...

What an amazing cemetery! What impressed me the most was the little shade roofs over some graves! That is really some cult of the dead! Making sure the dear departed are in the shade!

Joan Elizabeth said...

So dry and sandy. Another very different location. You sure have travelled.

Dianne said...

Very unique with the little shades and muted colourings amongst the sand? A great post Ann showing us this cemetery from another culture.

Mark said...

Amazing post Ann.

Gemma Wiseman said...

These graves seem to be cot-like shapes and some graves have tent-like coverings! An interesting feel about a graveyard at the mercy of shifting sands! Fascinating post!

Herding Cats said...

Amazing! I love the litle fences and canopies.

biebkriebels said...

This cemetery looks very special and unusual to the ones we are used to in the western world. The coloured fences around the graves reminded me of children beds.

JM said...

Fantastic cemetery! Love both shots. And loved Chile as well, but didn't make to Arica, I've remained in the Copiapó area to explore the lagoons on the Andes.

tapirgal said...

Totally strange.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

That has definitely got to be one of the most unusual cemeteries I've seen Ann, I like it a lot, looks very different from the usual sombre cemetery.