Getting Lost in Cementerio de la Recoleta

Cemetery tourism? Yea, I’m guilty of it,  from the catacombs in Paris to the graveyards of New Orleans, it definitely makes it to the top of my sightseeing list. That’s why I was super excited that La Recoleta Cemetery was only a 20 minute walk away from my current flat in Buenos Aires.

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The cemetary opened in November 1822 and now contains contains 4691 vaults, all above ground, of which 94 have been declared National Historical Monuments by the Argentine government and are protected by the state

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Here lie, Argentine’s rich and powerful. The exclusive cemetery is the last stop for the country’s most celebrated (and controversial) presidents, intellectuals, army generals and entertainers.

recoleta cemetery 1One of the most famous visits is Eva Peron (Evita). Although, I have to confess her tomb compared to the others is rather unimpressive on its own.  Three years after former First Lady Perón died of cancer in 1952, her body was removed by the Argentine military in the wake of a coup that deposed her husband, President Juan Perón. The body then went on a transatlantic odyssey for nearly twenty years before finally being returned to the Duarte family mausoleum in Recoleta Cemetery. She now lies in a crypt five meters underground, heavily fortified to ensure that no one can disturb the remains of Argentina’s most beloved and controversial First Lady.
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The other famous grave (that I am not posting a photo of because with the position of the sun looked like crap) is Sarmiento. He is the only one that i saw arrows pointed to his tombstone which made it easier to find. Sarmiento is remembered for promoting education for Argentine children and women, and democracy for Latin America. Sarmiento  designed his ostentatious tomb himself before his death.

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The tours in english are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11AM, but since I will be at work, I just had to make up my own stories  as I wandered along.
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By the time I was hungry and ready to leave, my iphone steps app told me I stepped out 5 miles and still didn’t feel like I saw everything. A second trip might be called in later!

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If you’re into graveyard ruins porn, there is no shortage as many of the crypts have some damage to them despite the locks.

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It is easy to get lost, but if you keep track of the main path in the middle, you can always find your way to the exit.

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By the time I was ton, I have hundreds photos that I did my best to limit!

This one below was my favorite. Twenty-six-year-old Liliana Crociati de Szaszak was killed by an avalanche in Austria. Her tomb was designed by her mother in the Neo-Gothic style, in decided contrast to the other tombs in the cemetery. A life-size green bronze statue of Liliana in her wedding dress sits adjacent to her tomb. Following the death of Liliana’s beloved dog Sabú, a bronze statue of the dog was added, with Liliana’s hand resting on the dog’s head. If I was rich and famous, I would totally have my cats in stone with me.

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Speaking of cats, if you walk around the cemetery, you might notice these cute and friendly fur friends. The kitty colony is taken care of by this widow, but that she is extremely private and didn’t want any publicity. They are being taken care of, fed daily and all are spayed and neutered. Not sure what will happen after the widow passes away, but for the now, the cats are taken care off, despite cat adoption not yet being very popular in Argentina. There’s a documentary in the works about these cats and I want to take one home with me. After all, Jack needs a brother.

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Final Tips

  • Cemetery is free to enter
  • It looks small, but the paths are tight and there is much to see. I recommend comfortable shoes
  • English tours are available at 11AM on Tuesdays and Thursday. There’s Italian tours on Wednesday and I think Spanish tours more regularly.
  • If you get hungry, there’s a juice bar I loved about a 10 minute walk away  from the tourist starbucks and hard rock cafe. Be Juice also does sandwiches, salads and everything tasty.

2 thoughts on “Getting Lost in Cementerio de la Recoleta”

  1. cool post! I have gone into cemeteries a few times in the cities I’ve visited. Edinburgh has a couple really cool ones. It sounds crazy but it’s actually such a cool bit of history. Also, the cathedrals in England often have really interesting characters buried there.

    Are you in Argentina now?

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