First, let us just state that we would not normally write about a cemetery. However 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, our journey took us passed La Recoleta. We decided to have a look behind the old medieval looking walls to see the grave yard behind. The cemetery 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 notice that this is not just any ordinary grave yard. La Recoleta is a place of beauty and macabre all rolled into one. This is what happens when artists are given free rein to run rampant in a great game of one-up-man-ship.
How to get to Recoleta Cemetery
As you can see from the image below, the cemetery is surrounded by an arcane brick wall which adds to the ambiance of the area. Located in the heart of Recoleta, it is easy to find, most actually stumble across it as we did. However if you pull out a map and head towards Pueyrredon Street by either Subway or on foot, you will find the cemetery easy enough.
Located in the same area are the national library and also the national museum, combine all three for an excellent day out.
How much does it cost to visit Recoleta Cemetery
To visit La Recoleta Cemetery is free of charge all year round. At the entrance you will find tour guides touting to tourists but if you only wish to see the cemetery, it is completely free.
If you do not wish to pay for a tour but would still like to learn about the grounds, there are free English speaking tours which take place every Tuesday and Thursday. These leave from the main entrance at 11am.
Opening hours for La Recoleta Cemetery are 7am – 5:30pm seven days a week.
The History of la Recoleta Cemetery
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 an incredible 4691 vaults, all of which are above ground. 94 of these beautiful shrines to death 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.
La Recoleta Cemetary In The Modern era
The mausoleums are still in use by the more affluent families, 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 lucky enough to visit Buenos Aires. You should most definitely make your way here and lose yourself among the tombs of the dead. That is, if you are brave enough. However there is no need to be afraid, you will never be alone when visiting this place. Being one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. La Recoleta has become one of the top tourist attractions of Buenos Aires.
Also if you do make it to this incredible place, do not forget to take your camera. You will take many photos and you will kick yourself if you do.
More great articles
Thank you for reading our guide to recoleta cemetery, and if you are thinking of visiting this great city. Check out another article from one of our trips around Buenos Aires. Caminito, La Boca: The Most Colourful Street in The World
If however cemeteries and cities are not your thing. Have a read of our price guide to Thailand and start booking your next beach holiday: Thailand, the ultimate guide.