La Recoleta Cemetery is a famous cemetery located in the exclusive Recoleta neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It contains the graves of some of the most important Argentines, including Eva Perón, Raúl Alfonsín, and several presidents of Argentina.
The monks of the Order of the Recoletos arrived in this area, then the outskirts of Buenos Aires, in the early eighteenth century. The cemetery is built around their convent and a church, Our Lady of Pilar, built in 1732. The order was disbanded in 1822, and the garden of the convent was converted into the first public cemetery in Buenos Aires. Those responsible for its creation were the then-Governor Martin Rodriguez (buried here) and government minister, Bernardino Rivadavia. The 1822 layout was done by city architect and civil engineer Próspero Catelin, who also designed the current facade of the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral.
During the 1870s, following the epidemic of yellow fever which ravaged the city, many upper-class Buenos Aires neighborhoods fled San Telmo and Montserrat and moved to the northern part of the city, Recoleta. By becoming a high class neighborhood, the cemetery became the final resting place of the families of greatest prestige and power of Buenos Aires.
The cemetery was remodeled in 1881, while Torcuato de Alvear was mayor of the city, by the Italian architect Juan Antonio Buschiazzo. The property contains room for about 4800 vaults, all above ground.
The entrance to the cemetery is through neo-classical gates with tall Greek columns. The cemetery contains many elaborate marble mausoleums, decorated with statues, in a wide variety of architectural styles. The entire cemetery is laid out in sections like city blocks, with wide tree-lined main walkways branching into sidewalks filled with mausoleums.
While many of the mausoleums are in fine shape and well-maintained, others have fallen into disrepair. Several can be found with broken glass and littered with rubbish. Among many memorials are works by notable Argentine sculptors. The tomb of Liliana Crociati de Szaszak is of special interest.
Each mausoleum bears the family name etched into the facade; brass or bronze plaques are added to the front for particular family members. La Recoleta is one of those cemeteries where the tradition of engraving a death date but no birth date has been maintained.
The cemetery was featured in the educational film Destinos as the final resting spot of a wife of the main character.
Some of the famous interred are:
- Raul Alfonsin (1927-2009), president
- Luis César Amadori (1902-1977), poet, composer
- Nicolás Avellaneda (1837-1885), president
- Eduardo Bradley (1887-1951), aviator
- Federico de Brandsen (1785-1827), soldier
- William Brown (admiral) (1777-1857), admiral, father of the Argentine Navy
- Luis Maria Campos (1838-1907), general and founder of military school, monument designed by French sculptor Jules-Felix Coutan
- Adolfo Bioy Casares (1914-1999), writer
- Miguel Juárez Celman (1844-1909), president
- Isabel Walewski Colonna (1847), grandchild of Napoleón Bonaparte, born in Buenos Aires and died aged 6 days.
- Juan Manuel de Rosas (1793-1877), governor of Buenos Aires, caudillo
- Luis Firpo (1894-1960), heavyweight boxer, "The Wild Bull of the Pampas"
- Oliverio Girondo (1891-1967), poet, journalist
- José Hernandez (1834-1886), writer
- Arturo Umberto Illia (1900-1983), president
- Carlos Saavedra Lamas (1878-1959), statesman, Nobel Peace Prize winner
- Enrique Larreta (1875-1961), writer
- Juan Lavalle (1797-1841), general, governor of Buenos Aires province
- Luis F. Leloir (1906-1987), scientist, Nobel Prize winner in chemistry
- Cándido López (1840-1902), painter and soldier
- Vicente López y Planes (1785-1856), lyrcist, politician
- Leopoldo Lugones (1874-1938), writer
- Eduardo Mallea (1903-1982), novelist, essayist
- Bartolomé Mitre (1821-1906), writer, president
- Victoria Ocampo (1890-1979), writer, publisher
- José Clemente Paz (1842-1912), statesman and journalist, with a monument designed by French sculptor Jules-Felix Coutan
- Carlos Pellegrini (1846-1906), president
- Comandante Luis Piedrabuena (1833-1883), explorer
- Maria Eva Duarte de Perón (1919-1952), First Lady of Argentina, political leader, philanthropist
- Honorio Pueyrredón (1876-1945), educator, statesman
- Dante Quinterno (1909-2003), cartoonist
- Juan Facundo Quiroga (1790-1835), caudillo (subject of the book Facundo; Sarmiento's most famous work; his remains were only recently discovered in the cemetery)
- Zenón Rolón (1856–1902), Afro Argentine musician and composer
- Domingo Sarmiento (1811-1888), writer, former president, under a monument designed by himself and executed by sculptor *Victor de Pol (also buried here)
- Hipólito Yrigoyen (1852-1933), politician, former president
Full article ▸