The La Leona Cemetery as the oldest cemetery in the city of Cuernavaca is always an attraction, especially with the start of the Day of the Dead festivities. In the past there have been narrated night tours of the oldest pantheon in Cuernavaca conducted in coordination with the Ministries of Public Utilities and the Environment, Public Security, Civil Protection
During tours of the cemetery, visitors will hear the legends of the tombs dating from the late 1800s located in the pantheon. Taking two years to construct, it was opened in 1885.
Today the cemetery is a significant architectural heritage, not only historical but also artistic and above all manifestations of respect and affection with which people remember their ancestors.
According to legend, the name of the pantheon was derived by several accounts, was given the name of La Leona due to the canyon adjacent to the cemetery; however, there are other versions that indicate that an individual’s unkempt, robust, with long matted hair and lived nearby, whom people knew as “Lioness”. Others legends say that a lady known as “Lioness” was the first to be buried in the Pantheon rising and that the area was seen a lioness.
An interesting side note was that the body of Major General Antonio Barona, who fought with the Federal Forces during the Mexican Revolution, was hung from the tree at the entrance. In December of 1915, General Barona was in Cuernavaca at the quiet market, enjoying a bowl of pozole at Restaurant Sanchez with several members of his staff. He was suddenly approached from behind by Zapatistas Leonardo Montes and Florentino Campeano, who began firing upon him. General Barona was shot in the back by Campeano, and was then dragged into Degollado Street where he died at the age of 29 years old. Not to be content with killing Barona, the men took Barona’s body to the Pantheon of La Leona and hung him in the tree at the entrance. General Barona was buried in his hometown of Ahuatepec, Morelos with full military honors.