I See Dead People in Buenos Aires

I love cemeteries. I know that sounds strange, but I do. Cemeteries spark my imagination — the lives lived, the history interred.

That said, it is not often that we seek out a graveyard. Usually we stumble upon them hidden away.

Not the case with La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, it should be considered a must-see by any visitor to the CONTINUE READING >> 

La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

I love cemeteries. I know that sounds strange, but I do.

Cemeteries spark my imagination – the lives lived, the history interred.

The variations of markers, stark and utilitarian — or ornate and sometimes gaudy — all combine to create an intense, reverent, and moving experience.

La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

That said, it is not often that we seek out a graveyard. Usually we stumble upon them hidden away.

Not the case with La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, it should be considered a must-see by any visitor to the Argentine capital.

We entered the cemetery through the giant gates that open into a wide path that serves as the main boulevard through the maze of
mausoleums.

It felt like we had wandered into an unbelievably ornate miniature city, complete with its own skyline.

La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

We meandered through beautifully manicured streets with cobblestones underfoot and lamps to light our way through the departed.

Porches, windows and doors seemed to invite me in, made me want to see more of how the residents lived.

La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

The cemetery and surrounding neighborhood were named for the monks of the Order of the Recoletos, meaning Recollections, who built the adjacent church, Our Lady of Pilar (Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar), in 1732.

Oddly, the cemetery bearing their name wasn’t established until after the monks had been expelled from the country in 1822.

Evita Peron's tomb in Buenos Aires

By that time the neighborhood of Recoleta had become one of the city’s most affluent areas and the cemetery soon became the final resting place of choice for most of Argentina‘s rich, famous, and powerful people.

Many of the country’s presidents, as well as business tycoons, artists, boxers, and even one of Napoleon’s grandchildren is interred here.

But the most famous resident would be Eva Perón.

Instead of trying to negotiate our way around using signs and maps, we used the old hang-around-the-periphery-of-a-tour-group-to-overhear-vital-information method.

So by circling around a group of loud, American businessmen we easily found the noteworthy tombs, including the surprisingly understated resting place of former first lady, in the Familia Duarte tomb. If it weren’t for the crowd, the flowers and our covert eavesdropping, we would have never known Evita was there.

I spent the rest of the day delving deeper, in a trance, absorbing details with my camera.

La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

We exited through the church, where I found some interesting tributes to Jesus Christ. The depictions struck me as quite unique, an excellent description for the entire day.

Unique depiction of Jesus Christ at Our Lady of Pilar, Buenos Aires, Argentina Unique depiction of Jesus Christ at Our Lady of Pilar, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: What do you think? Is this the coolest cemetery ever? Are you a cemetery lover like me?

24 thoughts on “I See Dead People in Buenos Aires”

  1. I love cemeteries! In Dayton, OH, we have beautiful Woodland Cemetery, which is home to many of Dayton’s early families. When my kids were little, I would take them to Woodland because they loved to see the Wright Brothers’ graves. Once I had a mini rebellion because we spent too much time there and they were tired…”We hate this place. It smells like dead people!” Fast forward to my 2nd child who is 28 and living in New York City. On our last trip to visit her, I drug her and my husband to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where a lot of the who’s who of early NY are buried. No complaining this time around!

  2. Have walked through many a cemetary around Mystic CT. Love reading all the old names no longer used and also the many sailin Captains who never returned from their voyages.

  3. Right there with you! I do love interesting cemeteries. My favorite is the St. Louis Cemetery in New Orleans. Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau has a crypt there. It was the first time I’d seen a cemetery entirely above ground. Thanks for your post….now that we live in Colombia we’ll have to make a trip to Buenos Aires!

  4. I’m not a cemeteries lover, they make me feel a bit uncomfortable at times, but I do love to explore them while traveling to observe the different architectural styles or cultures.

  5. This is a really cool cemetery. It really does look like a mini-city within the neighborhood. The coolest cemetery I have been to is one in a little town in Beaufort, NC. It is small, but filled with interested stories.

  6. Beautifully written and gorgeous photographs! As I mentioned on your Facebook page, I also have a passion for cemeteries around the world, and I usually find one if I have enough time. So far I have enjoyed cemeteries in Bermuda, Bahamas, New Orleans, Puerto Rico, St. Martin, St. Barths & Caye Caulker, Belize. My favourite two are New Orleans & Puerto Rico! I hope you will come to explore our travel website sometime.

  7. I am really glad to see that I am not the only traveler who is drawn to cemeteries and for mostly the same reason you are. We’re just back from a trip to New England where in one Boston cemetery, there are the graves of a few people who were born in the 1590’s. Most North Americans (other than Mexicans) do not think of our shores as having any European population connection to the 16th century.

    We also visited the Recoleta Cemetery on a trip to Buenos Aires–and took a lot of the same photos you did. While it is most definitely a cemetery, it is also a powerful sculpture garden.

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