If the trendy metropolis of Buenos Aires is famous for two things, then it is probably tango and steaks. There is, however, so much more to Buenos Aires than just those two delights. Modernity blends in perfectly with history in Buenos Aires and one place in particular, the Recoleta Cemetery, just oozes history.

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Photo by Little Blue Rucksack via Trover.com

For me, the Recoleta Cemetery is one most surreal but beautiful places in Buenos Aires. It got its name from the monks of the Order of the Recoletos who arrived in the area in the late 18th century. The neighborhood of Recoleto is also named after the Order. The cemetery was built around their convent and the church of Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, which was built in 1732. When the Order left in 1822, the convent and the garden were converted into the cemetery, the first public cemetery in Buenos Aires. It was designed by the French civil engineer Próspero Catelin, who also designed the current façade of the beautiful Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral.

The cemetery is absolutely vast and covers 5.5 hectares. In some respects it is like a city within the city of Buenos Aires and even the layout is in sections and blocks, with wide-lined walkways that branch off into side alleys, which house the different mausoleums. A lot of the mausoleums are still very beautiful but some have also fallen into disrepair, which adds to the eeriness of the place. There are some 4,691 vaults on the site, and 94 of them have actually been declared national historical monuments by the government. Most of the building materials were imported from Milan and Paris, and some of the mausoleums were built with very expensive marble from these two faraway cities.

The cemetery is popular and well known mainly because it is the resting place of so many famous people. One of the most famous and most loved historical figures loved by the Argentine people who is buried here is Eva Peron. María Eva Duarte de Perón was the second wife of Argentine President Juan Perón and served as the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until she died of cancer in 1952. Born in the countryside, she left her home at 15 years old, without many possessions to pursue a career in acting. She met the president during a charity event, and they got married a year later. She became hugely popular due to her pro-labor efforts and for championing the women’s suffrage movement in Argentina. Other notable people who are buried in this fascinating resting place are Nobel Prize winners, the founder of the Argentine Navy, numerous politicians, former presidents, poets and writers such as Jorge Luis Borges, and artists, not to mention the granddaughter of Napoleon.

In 2011, the BBC hailed Recoleta as one of the world’s best cemeteries, and in 2013, CNN listed it among the 10 most beautiful cemeteries in the world. So with that in mind, why not book yourself into one of the many nice hotels in Buenos Aires and visit this fascinating place for yourself?


Disclaimer: I am a freelancer for Hipmunk and am currently working on their #Hipmunkcitylove project.

About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

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