2006 World Monuments Watch
Commissioned by Viceroy Fernando de Abascal and built between 1805 and 1808 on the outskirts of Lima, the Presbítero Maestro was the first municipal cemetery in Latin America. The final resting place of many important historical figures, the Neoclassical complex is still in use and contains one of the largest collections of nineteenth-century European marble sculpture in Latin America. Although the site was designated a National Historic Monument in 1972, sculptures and mausoleum in the cemetery are threatened by aging, pollution from nearby factories, population pressure, and vandalism. A long-term preservation program, as well as re-zoning of the area to clear it of polluting enterprises are necessary if this important site is to be preserved. Lima was declared a World Heritage City in 1988.
Since the Watch
Several projects have been implemented with the support of the Beneficent Society of Lima, and government institutions. These projects include lighting, a training workshop for guides, painting, and an exhibition. Evening tours of the cemetery have proved very popular. Last update: December 2010