A Visit to the Exceptional Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires!

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

My friend and travel buddy, Annie, with Paula, a tour guide for Maria Corbalon Bespoke Tours, at the entrance to Recoleta Cemetery.

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.

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Tomb of Eva Duarte Peron, also known as Evita, a greatly loved hero in Argentina.

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)

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Memorials to Evita

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Eva and Juan rest in the Duarte Family vault in Recoleta Cemetery.

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!

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Family vaults.

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

One of the walkways through the crypts.

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

There were rows and rows of walkways through the cemetery.

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Annie and the statue of Freedom, commemorating one of the many revolutions they have had in Argentina.

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Isn’t this amazing? In the back you can see the tower of the Church next to the cemetery, with a blue dome.

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Tomb of General Miguel Estanislao Soler

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Crypt for Col. Frederico de Brandsen

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Tomb of President Julio Argentino Roca. See the eye of Ra?

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Tomb of the hero Gen. and Gov. Juan Lavalle

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Tomb of the founder of the Argentine Navy, Admiral William Brown, an Irishman.

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

The ship on the tomb of Admiral William Brown

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

A virgin lights a seven-branched candelabrum for the vault of Dorrego Ortiz Basauldo.

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

One of the largest and most ornately beautiful family crypts in the cemetery.

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

I think this is beautiful!

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

This sculpture represents the renaissance of Jesus. The vault belongs to Angel Velaz, an important land owner in Comodoro Rivadavia, he promoted the shorthorn cow in Argentina.

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

A very unusual tomb in Recoleta, and it certainly catches the eye!

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

This tomb for General Tomas Guido was built by his son’s own hands.

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery

Memorial to statesman, diplomat and journalist José Clemente Paz created-by French sculptor Jules Coutan. One can see the mortal remains lying over the crypt, and the angel taking the spirit to heaven. This is an amazing sculpture.

 

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About the Author ()

I am an avid scuba diver, underwater photographer, amateur historian; interested in all people and cultures. For me, the unexpected is usually the norm! My motto? I am an Empty Nester who likes to Renew, Revamp, and Reinvent Life!
Contact me at travelswithtam@gmail.com

Comments (8)

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  1. It really is amazing what you can find in an old cemetery. Such history! Great little side trip.

  2. What an amazing story that I was never aware of! EW about having the body near the dining room table. You have to ask yourself WHY? And the next wife agreed to this?

    After my father and some of his family escaped Nazi Germany much of his family settled in Argentina. I’m sure I have dozens of cousins who I don’t know. It would be fun (if I could find them) to visit Argentina for this purpose, and to sightsee like you!

    • Tam Warner says:

      Argentina has a good sized Jewish community who arrived during Hitler’s regime, but it also has a big German/Italian community who came to Argentina after the war, many trying to escape punishment. Buenos Aires is a big melting pot!

  3. I had no idea! Thank you so much Tam for sharing these amazing photos and this history. I used to live next door to a cemetery that dated back to 1711. I love walking through and reading the stones.

  4. barbara free says:

    I love walking through old cemeteries with all their history !!

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