People were dying to get in here

Discreetly tucked away in the corner of a plaza in the rough-and-tumble Colonia Guerrero is a tiny cemetery known as the Panteón de San Fernando. Nearly everyone who is buried here died in the 19th century -- including Benito Juárez (1806 - 1872). Mexico's liberal reformer, he was the man who put into law the separation of church and state here and, in U.S. history books, is often compared to Abraham Lincoln. Both he and his señora, Margarita Maza, are buried in this tomb.

Other illustrious but less well-known Mexicans are buried here also, with similarly notable sculpture.

In Mexico City, space seems to have been at a premium even that far back. Many at San Fernando are buried in these compartment crypts along the walls.

This inscription brought a tear to my eye. If you don't read Spanish, it says, "Here sleeps Miguel Badillo Bernardi, my beloved son. Speak softly -- don't wake him up. March 19, 1866."

Isadora Duncan was buried here ... NOT. Some of her Mexican admirers paid for her to have an honorary crypt in San Fernando.

The graveyard is around the corner from the San Fernando Church, a Franciscan temple with an exquisite altar begun in the 1730s.

Perhaps because of the area's dodgy reputation, there are never many people here, making it convenient for people like this gentleman taking his siesta. It is located at Plaza San Fernando #17, between Calle Heroes and Calle Guerrero, in the Colonia Guerrero. Tours are given every two weeks. Information: 5518 4736.