The Muslim cemetery of Seville increases its capacity

The City Council is going to expand the surface and the number of graves of the Muslim cemetery of Seville after the demands of the Islamic community of the city, that has been claiming more space to be able to bury their dead. To this end, the Consistory has already tendered a work contract, the execution will be carried out on account of the San Fernando cemetery itself. The expansion will allow the number of burials to increase by 38%. The execution time of the works is two months and the budget of 38,000 euros.

The Muslim cemetery is located at the northwest end of Seville’s cemetery, at the beginning of Medina street and Galnares street. Since the first half of the twentieth century there is an annex reserved for the burials of Muslim people. As the project details, there are documentary indications that at an undetermined date there have been expansions to the east due to the demand for more space on the part of the Islamic community. “This growing need has led to the representatives of the Muslim community have asked the City of Seville to transfer more land to be able to expand again.The Consistory has agreed and has given orders for the project and the execution of the work to be carried out on behalf of the service of the cemetery.

The extension is proposed in the plot attached to the current north wall of the enclosure of the Muslim cemetery. Its borders are: to the north with the gardens of the entrance of San Jerónimo. To the south with the own muslim complex. To the east with a warehouse. And to the west with the building that houses the entrance gate of San Jerónimo. In total, the area is 194.93 square meters.

The action proposes to demolish a part of 15.84 meters of the wall of enclosure and to construct a new perimetral wall to lodge the space that is annexed to the enclosure. The operating area represents an increase of 136.18 square meters to the current 504.21 square meters, which represents an increase of 27%, leaving a total of 640.39 square meters. Enlargement will mean the creation of 32 new tombs, an increase of 38% over the existing 84, which are mostly occupied. The work will also allow the creation of a buried tank with a practicable lid for use as a general ossuary.

The origin of the Muslim cemetery of Seville, like that of many others of the Peninsula, goes back to the years of the Civil War. This is explained in one of his articles Rafael Valencia, professor of the University of Seville specialist in Arab and Islamic studies. “The present Muslim cemetery of Seville has its origin in the graveyard opened in 1936 for burial of the Moroccans framed in the troops of the general Queipo de Llano.In 1939, after the end of the contest, the practical use of the cemetery had practically disappeared and counted on a closure order issued by the City Council in 1944. Rafael Valencia reports that in 1984 the Islamic community went to various instances, first to the City Council, to lift that order and return to use the facilities after a brief restoration.

“The first steps had resulted in a refusal by the City Council, based on the granting of a Muslim cemetery would go against the constitutional principle of equality for all beliefs,” Valencia says. The Islamic community then went to the Royal House, which referred the petition to other instances. Finally, the Plenary of the City Council raises the closing act of 1944 during its session of April 24, 1987. “The cemetery was granted to the Islamic community of Seville and it was agreed that it would be governed by the general rules of the cemetery of San Fernando, under the administrative direction and supervision of municipal services. ” The first burial after the refoundation of 1987 was carried out 23 of July of 1988 – Valencia adds. It was a young child who died in Portugal and could not be buried there because the neighboring country did not have a Muslim cemetery.
Article by Juan Parejo.
Photography by Juan Carlos Muñoz.

Note from the Seville Mosque Foundation:

We would like to thank and congratulate the Muslim Community Ummah, managers of the Muslim cemetery, for their tremendous work of service to the Muslims of Seville through the cemetery and to be able to fulfill the most needed extension in which they have worked incessantly for so long.