Cemeteries are not usually on my “to visit” list, but there are exceptions, and Recoleta Cemetery is one. Arlington Cemetery, Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, some of the cemeteries in New Orleans (which I truthfully have never visited) are a few of them. The Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires is definitely an exception, and if you are traveling to Buenos Aires, it has to be at least a half day on your itinerary. Why? Because of the statuary and the historical value of the cemetery, but most of all, the peaceful beauty of the art within. If you have visited Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, you know exactly what I am talking about (if not, you need to visit it as well). The cemetery has been lauded as one of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries, and it is easy to see why. Paula, of Maria Corbalon Bespoke Tours, toured us, while we exclaimed constantly about the statues and crypts. Unlike Bonaventure, the crypts are right up next to one another, regardless of how they might be decorated. A fascinating place. I loved examining the tombs, the statues, and photographing them. Some had stories, some did not, but all were beautiful.
The story of Eva Duarte Peron cannot be told in a photoblog, but I certainly urge you to read about her, or of course, watch the movie. She is still greatly loved in Argentina, and is interred in Recoleta. After Eva’s death, the plan was to build a huge monument to her, much like Lenin’s, where her body would be displayed for the public. While the monument was being built, Evita’s embalmed body was displayed in her former office at the House of Culture for nearly two years. In 1955, before completion of the monument, Juan Peron was overthrown and had to escape Argentina. He was unable to make arrangements for Eva’s body. A military dictatorship took over, and Evita’s remains disappeared for 16 years! “From 1955 until 1971, the military dictatorship of Argentina issued a ban on Peronism. It became illegal not only to possess pictures of Juan and Eva Perón in one’s home, but to speak their names. In 1971, the military revealed that Evita’s body was buried in a crypt in Milan, Italy, under the name “María Maggi.” It appeared that her body had been damaged during its transport and storage, such as compressions to her face and disfigurement of one of her feet due to the body having been left in an upright position.” (Wikipedia)
In 1971, Evita’s body was exhumed and taken to Spain where Juan Peron and his third wife, Isabel, kept the corpse in their dining room. Yes, you heard me correctly, in their dining room, near the table. Ugh. Peron returned to Argentina and to power in 1973, and when he died in 1974, his wife Isabel became President of Argentina. She had Eva’s body returned to Argentina and displayed with Juan’s. Both Juan and Eva are in the Duarte Family tomb in Recoleta. (The family of Eva Duarte Peron.) The Argentine government has secured the tomb, and it is said that a nuclear blast could not harm it. Eva is still very much venerated in Argentina.
The Recoleta Cemetery is filled with history, beauty, and art. When in Buenos Aires, do go and visit!