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WAY ON CEMETERY

WAY ON CEMETERY
Panama City, Panama
INFORMATION

The Way On Cemetery is the burial place for Panama’s Chinese community, many of whose ancestors immigrated to the country during the construction of the Panama Railroad in the mid-nineteenth century. Purchased by the Sociedad Wah On in 1882, construction began the following year, and the first internment was in 1911. Designed in accordance with feng shui and numerology traditions, the cemetery is enclosed by stone walls and guarded by a towering entrance gate.

In 1942 half of the property was forcibly leased by the government, as there was a shortage of burial places in the city. The section acquired by the government was returned to the Chinese community in 2002, and traditional Tomb Sweeping ceremonies are held annually and funeral ceremonies are performed regularly. However, like many urban cemeteries, Way On is vulnerable to vandalism and lacks resources for maintenance. Inclusion on the Watch provides an opportunity to draw greater attention to this important burial ground and increase local and international awareness of its significance, as well as encourage more community engagement with the protection and improvement of the conditions of the site.. Five additional historic cemeteries are near Way On, presenting an opportunity to create an interpretive tour and to tell the stories of generations of people who have been laid to rest in Panama City.

Download a 2012 Watch poster of this site (see download instructions).

WAY ON CEMETERY
Main entrance gate to the cemetery, view from the southeast, 2011
WAY ON CEMETERY
Vaults along the north wall of the cemetery, 2011
WAY ON CEMETERY
View to the north from within the cemetery, 2011