La Recoleta Cemetery is one of the most visited cemeteries in Latin America, mainly because Evita Peron is buried there, among other notable figures.
The cemetery is built around a convent and a church, Our Lady of Pilar (Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar), that was built in 1732. The order was disbanded in 1822, and the garden of the convent was converted into the first public cemetery in Buenos Aires. Occupied by mostly wealthy families of Buenos Aires.
Highly recommended to have a guided map to find some famous graves.
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La Recoleta Cemetery
Visiting the Recoleta Cemetery is both beautiful and eerie. The scared space is a giant maze of ostentatious tombs tucked in Buenos Aires' most charming neighborhood. Rows of giant tombs are guarded by angels and lions, and more humble ones adorned with flowers. The eerie ones have broken windows through which you can see coffins and dead plants. The cemetery is very symbolic of family being a cornerstone of Argentine culture.
Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires was a little unexpected. I went in thinking I was going to be so excited to see Evita Peron’s grave, but once inside I ended up being more interested in all of the other tombs around. The vibe was a little weird because the place is a bit of an amusement park now. There’s all these tourists walking around with maps of where the dead people are and I have to admit I felt kind of wrong for being there in the first place. I walked around and imagined all of the stories of the people that were buried there. It’s easy to let your imagination get carried away in a place like this. At the same time, it's a shame to go to Buenos Aires and not stop by.
I have a thing for cemeteries. Everywhere I go in the world, I usually visit the homes of the dead. In Paris: Père Lachaise. In Savannah: Bonaventure.
Therefore, it was to my great delight that I was able to stop by La Recoleta when in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Famous as the burial site of celebrities such as Eva Peron -- it's often ticked off lists by tourists who simply think they're supposed to go there.
Perhaps I was no different. Excepting that I went with the eye of a photographer. What fascinated me about the famous cemetery was the play of light and shadows amongst the graves. In the hot sun of a South American afternoon the sky seemed somehow more cobalt, the yellow a bit brighter, the white of the stone almost blinding. It became a place of true beauty and not of sadness.
I thought about what it means to leave something behind when one is gone, what legacies last and what dies with us. I thought about how many people fear and revile cemeteries or how many people simply don't understand them. I tried to muster in my own mind anything other than appreciation for the beauty of the art and sculpture that was is so many people's last legacy in Buenos Aires. I couldn't see La Recoleta as anything less than beautiful. I wonder if on a gray day I would have felt differently...
I always stay in Recoleta so I can walk through the cemetery once a day. This cemetery is a town to itself with winding routes and hidden alleys. You'll want to look for Evita, of course, but it's best to roam around and see who you'll meet. Some of the statuettes are jaw dropping and many were commissioned for the newly departed. Sit down and just be with your favorite. Most likely a cat will cozy up with you.
Take a walk through the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires to see some of the notable dead from Argentina. It contains the graves of Eva Perón, presidents of Argentina, Nobel Prize winners, the founder of the Argentine Navy and a granddaughter of Napoleon.
The graves all tell a story and range from elaborate monuments to crumbling memories of a life gone by.
For further information, refer to this AfterLife blog: http://www.recoletacemetery.com/
It documents Recoleta Cemetery since 2007, almost 500 posts mix family histories with current events affecting the cemetery today. Plus - they have an iphone app and a pdf document/guide that you can use to walk through the cemetery and have the stories of the deceased at your fingertips.
Hours: Daily 8am to 6pm
Travel, Faith, and Angels - Recoleta, Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sometimes travel is about having faith. I was in Buenos Aires waiting. The month before I had quit my job and bought a ticket to Argentina with frequent flyer miles in hopes to do research for a book I was writing. None of my plans had materialized. I felt unmoored. My faith in myself and what I was doing there shaken.
One morning I followed the crowds into La Recoleta Cemetery, the city's famous above ground cemetery. I don’t consider myself a churchgoer, but I felt comforted by the many lifelike angels staring down from their lofty perches atop the mausoleums - all framed against a crystal clear blue sky. I spent a few hours wandering the labyrinth of mausoleums, lost in the melancholy and beauty of the cemetery’s sculpture, architecture, and momento mori. I indulged myself in unlimited photos of angels and the pictures’ formal play of black, white, blue, and grey. For a time their serene, sad, or glorious faces connected me to life’s deeper mysteries.
Eventually, my trip would transform into an adventure that surpassed my dreams but I didn’t know that yet. The photos from that day remind me that travel to a foreign land without clear plans often requires patience, but eventually the world will come to meet me half way. Travel often requires some faith.
I didn't quite understand why anyone would want to visit a cemetery on their trip to Buenos Aires, but we were in Recoleta that afternoon and decided to wander in and see what all the fuss was about. Once I saw the amazing sculptures and beauty inside, I got a bit camera happy and started snapping as many pictures as possible. I was so wrapped up in the moment, it took me a little while to realize that I had lost my companions. It didn't bother me until I realized how enormous the grounds were, and that for a few moments I didn't see or hear anyone at all! I'll admit I was a little spooked. Luckily some other tourists came wandering through a few moments later and I got to snapping again. So caught up in my pictures yet again, I jumped about 10 feet in the air when my friends found and snuck up on me!
Located in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, this 14 acre cemetery has literally thousands of above ground vaults and you can easily spend an afternoon exploring the many sections of mausoleums. Eva Peron is interned here, as well as several former presidents of Argentina and you can pick up a map before you enter the cemetery to help you find the more popular vaults. Adding to the spooky nature of the area, feral cats run wild among the walkways.
To get it out of the way: yes, La Recoleta Cemetery is where Eva Peron is buried. But there's so much more to see.
It's always a little odd exploring a cemetery, but La Recoleta is so full of beautiful old mausoleums, it's easy to overlook the creepy element.
And it's huge. Even with a map, the jumbled lanes are confusing - prepare to get lost.
Eventually, you will come across Evita's tomb. Here, you'll face a greater challenge than navigating La Recoleta: the task of trying not to make any "Don't Cry for Me Argetina" jokes. Trust me, it's harder than finding your way around.
If you are into cemeteries or into photography you simply have to travel to Buenos Aires. While Evita is one of the famous buried here, what makes this cemetery captivating is its placement in the middle of the city and the wide variety of architectural styles. The narrow passageways and ornate vaults make for a great afternoon.
Walk through streets of mausoleums, tombs and statues where Argentina's most great and powerful rest. Former presidents, military generals, artists and Eva Peron are celebrated in opulence, next to more than 6000 others. Densely packed La Recoleta Cemetery is located in Recoleta, one of Buenos Aires' most affluent barrios.
Meandering up and down the tree-lined rows of elaborate mausolea, the beauty and peacefulness here make me happy to be alive.
I read the plaques and peer through the wrought iron bars at the crypt contents. Some memorials are decrepit and creepy while o thers overflow with fresh flowers.
A crowd surrounds the tomb of Eva Peron, obviously the most popular resident of La Recoleta Cemetery.
I walk for hours, the sense that I shouldn't be having this much fun in graveyard nagging at me slightly.