First, let us just state that we would not normally write about a cemetery, but after strolling around the tombs and mausoleums of La Recoleta Cemetery we decided that we just had to.
Walking to the park to spend the afternoon, we passed La Recoleta and decided to have a look behind the old medieval looking walls to see the cemetery behind. La Recoleta is hidden behind high imposing brick walls, with only one entrance leading into this labyrinth-like city of the dead. As soon as you enter, you will see that this is not just any ordinary grave yard, this is what happens when artists are given free rein to run rampant in a great game of one-upmanship.
Built in 1782 by monks, the cemetery would later take their name. The monks of the Order of the Recoletos arrived in this area, which was then the outskirts of Buenos Aires, in the early eighteenth century. The order was disbanded in 1822, and the garden of the convent was converted into the first public cemetery in the city. Those responsible for its creation were the then-Governor Martin Rodriguez, who would eventually be buried in the cemetery, and government minister Bernardino Rivadavia. The cemetery was last remodeled in 1881, by the Italian architect Juan Antonio Buschiazzo and has remained pretty much the same ever since.
The “city of the dead” contains 4691 vaults, all above ground, of which 94 have been declared National Historical Monuments by the Argentine Government. The cemetery contains many elaborate marble mausoleums, decorated with statues, in a wide variety of architectural styles such as Art Deco, Baroque and Neo-Gothic, with most materials used between 1880 and 1930 being imported from across the world, from the likes of Paris and Milan.
The mausoleums are still being used by rich families in Argentina even to this day. Unfortunately, while many of the mausoleums are in fine shape and well-maintained, others have fallen into disrepair and have creeped open for all to see. Walking down those tree lined walkways, I couldn’t help but think that Buenos Aires most definitely has a Vampire problem.
If you are ever in Buenos Aires, you should most definitely make your way to this labyrinth city and lose yourself among the tombs of the dead. That is if you are brave enough.
If you enjoyed reading, then check out another article from our trips around Buenos Aires: Caminito, La Boca: The Most Colourful Street in The World