Tomb of Dorrego-Ortiz Basualdo family. Architecture by Louis Dubois and sculpture by Giovanni Villa.
One of the most famous tourist places of Buenos Aires is the Cementerio de la Recoleta (La Recoleta Cemetery).
For many, it is a place of sadness, memories and… tourists. Besides the suffering, many people see the cemetery as a place to know a little more about the history of Argentina: there you can cross with the graves of great personalities who currently lend their names to the streets of the city: Miguel de Azcuénaga, Hipólito Yrigoyen, Juan Lavalle, Carlos Pellegrini, Honorio Pueyrredón, Domingo Sarmiento… You can also enjoy of some works of art through the sculptures and architecture of the mausoleums and tombs (there are more than 90 vaults declared National Historic Monument).
Tomb of Rufina Cambaceres. Art Nouveau, work of Richard Aigner (1902).
The Recoleta Cemetery was established in 1822, where once was the garden of the convent of the priests Recoletos order (behind the Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar). With the order dissolution, the governor Martín Rodríguez and his minister of government, Bernardino Rivadavia, created the first public cemetery of the city, originally intended only for Catholics. In 1863 the burial of practitioners of other religions was allowed too. In 1881, the cemetery was redesigned by the Italian architect Juan Antonio Buschiazzo (1846-1917), responsible for the modernization of Buenos Aires in those years. Its internal streets were paved, a brick wall was lifted around the cemetery and a portico was built at the entrance with a double row of doric columns.
Tomb of Liliana Crociati (1970), sculpture by Wilfredo Viladrich.
Over the years, works and mausoleums of Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles were filling the area, as well as other styles of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century. As a small and eclectic town where the decorations are mixed, there are holy places in granite and stone where the vaults and graves are covered with rigid edges of Deco style, and marble walls covered with undulating reliefs and sinuous forms imitating the nature, and sculptures in ethereal positions and gloomy sensuality, typical of Art Nouveau.
Tomb of thr Jose C. Paz family at the background.
Marble sculpture above the tomb of the Jose C. Paz family.
There are also some abandoned graves reminiscent of horror movies: the doors opened, windows broken and covered with spider webs and peeling walls along with well preserved tombs of marble. As in a good horror movie, the black cats (and the multi colored ones) are part of the landscape, living residents of the cemetery that keep the rodents away. The kittens are so essential and friendly that they are fed with cat food and have small houses to protect them from the weather.
Cats of the cemetery.
One of the most visited graves is the Evita’s. It is a simple tomb, hidden in one of the galleries of the cemetery, but it is always adorned with flowers offered by people around the world, especially after the film “Evita“, with Madonna, that made her famous also outside of Argentina.
Tomb of the Duarte family and Evita Perón.
On specific days and times there are free guided tours, very recommended for those who want to know more about the history of some graves and their symbolisms. It is very interesting and worth it for those who have time available. The visits are usually guided in Spanish and English.
Tomb of Dr. Toribio Ayerza, sculpture by Miguel Sansebastiano.
For more information, visit this website dedicated to the cemitery (in Spanish).
Junín 1760 | Tel: +54 (11) 4804-7040 / 4803-1594