Doors to Eternity

Illustrious entrances to Santiago General Cemetery

Two of the four main entrances to the sacred grounds of El Cementerio General, Santiago, Chile.

Beautiful works of art on doors

Winged virtue and protection, “Shhh, they are resting,” “I’m here to comfort you.” – three of hundreds of beautiful doors and façades.


In addition to Santiago’s General Cemetery’s main portals, there exist thousands of individual doorways leading to eternity.

Carved from marble or forged out of wrought iron, beautiful works of art are designed to invite you beyond today and into a place where time is irrelevant, somewhere to commiserate with those who rest inside. Very likely it’s an extended family, beginning with the patriarch. He will have the place of honour, entombed upstairs beneath the altar, straight across from this elegant entrance. And he’ll be surrounded by immediate family. There will be a trap door leading to the basement where other family members (somehow less deserving of higher levels) are buried.

In life you would never be so bold as to approach the house belonging to this family, it would probably have armed guards at the gate. But here, you can put your nose to the door and dare to ask about their history, the essence of which, at least in terms of their spiritual devotion to one another and to a higher power, is evidenced at the entrance.

Maybe the graceful figures carved here are protection from such intrusion, the intention being that upon seeing their definitive beauty, you will realise that you don’t need to know any more.  The family is saying, “Let’s leave it at that, our family secrets are forever secret. Look upon us how we wish to be seen. Have we not, after all, created such beauty here that we will all be rewarded?”