The Addolorata Cemetery, the much visited neo-gothic final place of rest for many Maltese people, has more uses than one would first imagine. A recent study on Addolorata Cemetery and it’s public perception has found some interesting findings, not least being that about 30% of visitors to the Cemetery visit for non-funeral/family reasons.
While 40% of people visit the cemetery for a funeral, and 30% to visit a grave, the remaining visitors have various reasons for enter the graveyard.
Apart 10% of people visit to observe historical art and architecture. Other people visit for educational or religious reasons.
But a good 3.3% of people were found to visit Addolorata to “spend some time in a garden space”.
Addolorata: cemetery or garden?
Respondents said that they valued the skyline as a Maltese landmark, with one respondent even going so far as to state that Addolorata cemetery may be the only Maltese equivalent space to an English park/garden.
Another pointed to the architecture as being similar to the monuments found within the Père-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
Apparently, there’s a good section of Malta that sees Addolorata Cemetery as something more than a cemetery, with the words “open-air museum” even being used.
One issue that came up was the state of the cemetery, with many respondents noting that it was in a state of decay or neglect, and the need to conserve and restore it.
While about a quarter of people felt a sense of sadness when visiting the cemetery, over half of respondents said they had a sense of peace, brought about due to the quiet in the cemetery as well as the trees, birds, and architecture.
Overwhelmingly, respondents wanted to learn more about the cemetery, the monuments, the chapels and personages buried within it. Three out of four people felt that tours should be organized within the cemetery to this end, and those those that said ‘no’ said so due to concern about the lack of respect and disturbance of the peace.
Either way, Addolorata Cemetery was shown to mean a lot of things to a lot of people. More than a cemetery, Addolorata was shown to be hold a special place in Maltese society.