La Recoleta Cemetery

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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.

Contents

History

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.

Description

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.

Notable internments

Some of the famous interred are:

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