ASUNCION – The remains of Paraguayan history’s leading figures, like 19th-century Presidents Francisco Solano Lopez and Bernardino Caballero, were moved on Friday from the Pantheon of Heroes in downtown Asuncion, their final resting place, due to the restoration works being carried out in the monument’s crypt.
A military unit was charged with taking 10 urns and a coffin from the crypt to place in four hearses, which then took the remains to the museum of the Defense Ministry where they will remain until the improvements are completed.
The operation was closely followed by technicians of the Public Works and Communications Ministry (MOPC) and by the restoration company, as well as by the passers-by that circulate in the morning around the capital’s iconic monument.
The only coffin taken away was that of Caballero, founder of the Colorado Party in 1887, and which was solemnly placed in one of the hearses.
The same treatment was reserved for the 10 urns enclosing the remains of important personalities in the history of Paraguay like Marshal Lopez and his father, Carlos Antonio Lopez, president of the country between 1844-1862.
The head of the Parks and Monuments Department of the MOPC, architect Ana Butlerov, told reporters that the remains will be returned to their place of origin in August, when the current stage of the Pantheon of Heroes restoration should be finished.
“This is the final stage of the restoration, being carried out downwards from the cornice. In general, it mostly consists of paint being removed to leave the Pantheon as it was originally, with its original finish,” he said.
The restoration of the mausoleum began in 2011 with the construction of a drainage channel around to the building to combat the humidity, which is what had done the most damage to the Pantheon of Heroes.
Later the real restoration stage was begun, a work that had to be redone after a horizontal fissure was discovered in the dome that put the monument in danger.
The time frame for this part of the restoration is seven months.