Please click on any picture to see the larger version.Travel Date 29th April 2010.
When I planned the trip to Buenos Aires I was able to find an excellent apartment in the Recoleta Barrio, or district.
The Recoleta Barrio is famous for two main reasons. In the 1730s the monastic Order of Augustinian Recollects, or Recoletas, established a convent and church in the area. Ninety years later their convent was disbanded but the convent's garden became a public cemetery and the church continued as Our Lady of Pilar. The area at that time was undeveloped.
After the Yellow Fever outbreak in the 1870s the Recoleta neighbourhood became the favoured location for the wealthy as they fled from the older established but fever-ridden barrios of San Telmo and Montserrat to the south. Consequently the cemetery became theirs and very exclusive. Most of the plots are now owned by families, although some have been publicly purchased for the heroes of the nation. The Barrio is now one of the most exclusive in the city.
All the vaults are above ground and some of the coffins are clearly exposed on shelves in the vaults. Surprisingly, the air is fresh and clean with no bad odours, or as fresh and clean as you can get in the smog of Buenos Aires.
There are 4800 plots; the truly wealthy have a single plot for a single person, or go even further and erect elaborate memorials to their memory; others are more efficient, managing to inter many in the same small plot. By far the most visited plot is that of Eva Peron and her family.
Most plots are well-cared for by staff paid by the families, but some have fallen into disrepair.
The cemetery has become a major tourist attraction of the city, but when I went it was uncrowded and the visitors were quiet and respectful.
I found it to be a very interesting place to spend a couple of hours, a restful spot away from the bustle and traffic of BA.