During the colonial times, it was customary to bury the dead in temples or in small cemeteries, which generated many complications. Therefore, in the year 1809, before the imperative need to build a cemetery, the Governor of Guayaquil, Bartolome Cucalon, received the Royal order to build it.
On April 27, 1823, the first General Cemetery of Guayaquil was officially inaugurated; designed by Juan Francisco Ycaza and built in the northern part of the city right at the foot of Carmen Hill, where a small cemetery for the poor used to be. Over time it grew to extend along Julian Coronel Street and Pedro Menendez Gilbert Avenue.
In 1886, Francisco Campos Coello, President of the Cantonal Council of Guayaquil, to help the least protected population, created the Junta de Beneficencia de Guayaquil (Welfare Board), which was officially founded on January 29, 1888 and was entrusted to the administration of the cemetery, besides the hospitals and orphanages it handled.
During the early twenties, several architects and Italian sculptors arrived to Guayaquil for the construction of public buildings and the wealthy families, hired them to build sumptuous mausoleums, which today are an architectural gem of the city. The General Cemetery has been recognized internationally as one of the best in South America and declared Continental Cultural heritage.
Attractions stand out the imposing white of the majestic architectonic group of magnificent mausoleums and altars, of different designs and geographical forms that include columns, arches, statues and marble tombstones like the ones of Patriot Jose Joaquin de Olmedo, the former Presidents of the country, Vicente Rocafuerte, Diego Noboa and Arteta, Emilio Estrada Carmona, Alfredo Baquerizo Moreno, Carlos Julio Arosemena Tola and Jaime Roldos Aguilera. There are also beautiful constructions in honor of artists, sportspeople, and businessmen, among others.
It offers sightseeing tours for which different routes have been established, one for the Sculptures of heroes and presidents, music and literature; and the General route to know the best locations of the cemetery.