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Pele ‘buried’ in world’s tallest Vertical Cemetery


Pele ‘buried’ in world’s tallest Vertical Cemetery

Pele's resting place in not a grave but a mausoleum on a sky scrapper

Pele’s resting place in not a grave but a mausoleum on a sky scrapper

Brazil’s football legend Pele lived an extraordinary life, and he will be in his afterlife, or so he wanted. The world’s most decorated footballer died at the age of 82 on December 29, 2022 in Sao Paulo after a long battle with cancer.

After a 24-hour wake, and a long procession that started from the grounds of his beloved football club Santos, Pele’s casket was taken through the streets of Sao Paulo, where hundreds of thousands of mourners lines the streets to pay their last respects. His casket also passed the home of his 100-year old mother, still alive but said to be very weak, until it reached Memorial Ecumenical Cemetery – a veritable 14-floor cemetery that holds the Guinness World Record for the tallest cemetery on Earth.

Located in Santos, the southeastern port city where “The King” as Pele was famously known and where he played most of his glamorous career, the cemetery has a total area of 40,000 square meters (430,000 square feet) and features a 24-hour restaurant, a chapel, an automobile museum, a small fish pond and an aviary.

According to VOA, Pele’s body will be embalmed and left in a coffin that will occupy a space in a 200-square-meter mausoleum on the first floor. Pele is said to have bought the space on the cemetery in 1980s. The mausoleum is decorated like a football stadium, with his embalmed body resting in a coffin displayed in the middle of the artificial turf, surrounded by gilded images from his glory days, a spokesman for the cemetery said.

The Memorial Ecumenical Cemetery, where Brazilian football legend Pele will be buried, was built by an Argentinian businessman Jose Salomon Altstut and opened in 1991.

The Memorial Ecumenical Cemetery, where Brazilian football legend Pele will be buried, is seen in Santos, Brazil, Jan. 1, 2023.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento — Pele’s real name — had spoken openly about his planned resting place, saying in 2003 that he liked the spot because it “doesn’t look like a cemetery” and gave him a feeling of “spiritual peace and tranquility.”

The striking white building has a total of 18,000 interment spaces, and became the first vertical cemetery in the world to provide space for mausoleums.

The cemetery’s website says clients are allowed to “create a decorated space” in their mausoleums, which can even include en-suite rest areas for mourners.

Pele’s late father, aunt, brother and daughter are already interred in the same place, as well as Antonio Wilson Honorio, nicknamed “Coutinho,” his teammate at Santos FC in the 1960s.

The cemetery sits a stone’s throw from Santos’s Vila Belmiro stadium, where Pele first dazzled the world as a 15-year-old phenom, on his way to scoring a record 1,281 career goals and becoming the only player in history to win three World Cups.



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