A Visit to the Exceptional Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires!

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.

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)

Memorials to Evita
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!

Family vaults.

One of the walkways through the crypts.
There were rows and rows of walkways through the cemetery.

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

Isn’t this amazing? In the back you can see the tower of the Church next to the cemetery, with a blue dome.
Tomb of General Miguel Estanislao Soler
Crypt for Col. Frederico de Brandsen

Tomb of President Julio Argentino Roca. See the eye of Ra?
Tomb of the hero Gen. and Gov. Juan Lavalle
Tomb of the founder of the Argentine Navy, Admiral William Brown, an Irishman.
The ship on the tomb of Admiral William Brown
A virgin lights a seven-branched candelabrum for the vault of Dorrego Ortiz Basauldo.
One of the largest and most ornately beautiful family crypts in the cemetery.
I think this is beautiful!
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.
A very unusual tomb in Recoleta, and it certainly catches the eye!
This tomb for General Tomas Guido was built by his son’s own hands.
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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Tam Warner

Award Winning Travel Journalist and Blogger, writing about Eclectic Travels in the Empty Nest! From scuba to luxury cruises to kayaking to expeditions, Tam is ready to go! Contact me at travelswithtam@gmail.com

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Tam Warner

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