Grand sculptures and Japanese Immigrants in St Paul Cemetery, São Paulo

By December 4, 2012Fujifilm X-Pro1, RTW, Travel
sao paulo Cemetery sculpture

Winged seraphims and dramatic bodies sculpted in stone greeted us as we entered the Necropolis São Paulo, also known as St Paul Cemetery. The sculptures would not look out of place in a medieval church, and indeed, some of the monuments and family mausoleums are almost little chapels unto themselves.

cemetery niche

Necropolis São Paulo

The resting place of many a Paulista elite, Necropolis São Paulo has seen over 140,000 burials within its grounds since its founding. Amongst them, politicians, writers, artists and society figures but also perhaps more people of more humble origins, whose remains line the walls of the huge cemetery in little niches, somewhat overshadowed by the grand monuments in the more prime real estate within the cemetery.

The resting place of Paulistas past and present offer a glimpse into the city’s multifaceted history. Amongst some of the tombs, I spotted a number of Japanese names, no doubt from Christianized Japanese immigrants (Nipo-brasileiro) that have sought a new life in Brazil.

angel sculpture sao paulo cemetery

impressive mausoleum sao paulo cemeteryGrand sculptures adorn the many mausoleums in the cemetery

columbarium sao paulo cemetery

sao paulo cemeteryBut the cemetery is also the resting place of Paulistas of humbler backgrounds.

japanese grave sao paulo

japanese family grave sao pauloJapanese immigrants to São Paulo are also represented in the necropolis.

I left my job as an advertising Creative Director in August 2012 to travel Africa and South America for a year with my wife, documenting these beautiful places with my Fuji X-Pro1. View the rest of my RTW adventures on Handcarry Only and follow me on my journey by subscribing/following/bookmarking.