Famous Recoleta Cemetery in Beunos Aires, Argentina
Historic graveyards are always atmospheric, and Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires is no exception.
The stories behind them, however sinister, add to their intrigue and charm.
Take the famous cemetery in New York, the Green-Wood Cemetery, which is a notable tourist attraction.
This cemetery took a hammering from Hurricane Sandy, losing many of its old, stately trees.
Still, it has rolling hills, a splendid view of the Statue of Liberty, a lake and several ponds, all adding to its tranquillity.
Recoleta Cemetery Holds onto its Intriguing Secrets, but the Stories are Slowly Being Unearthed
The city of Buenos Aires, Argentina established the La Recoleta Cemetery in 1822 in the Recoleta neighbourhood. It is a lot different from the New York cemetery but even more fascinating.
There are many famous people buried in this amazing cemetery, of which Eva Peron, Napoleon’s granddaughter and presidents of Argentina are just some.
Evey Tuesday and Thursday, guided tours leave from the main entrance at Calle Junin and the intriguing City of the Dead tour lasts for about 2 hours.
There are also some horrific stories behind the people buried here. Gravediggers buried Rufina Cambaceres alive at 19 years of age after having suffered a cataleptic attack. When she woke inside her coffin, she screamed, clawing at her coffin.
On hearing the screams, security guards opened the coffin, but she had by then had a heart attack. Her mother built a new coffin made of Carrara marble with a glass pane. So she will be rescued if she wakes again. Her grave in the Recoleta Cemetery is number 95.
A Rich Collection of Memories Haunts the Atmosphere
This cemetery is one of the best cemeteries in the world. Indeed, in 2013, CNN rated it as one of the ten most beautiful, although some mausoleums are crumbling.
Notable Aspects of the Cemetery
- The cemetery has more than 6,400 grandiose tombs which resemble Greek temples, fairy tale-like castles and Gothic chapels. Also, the decorative front part of the monuments include stained glass, carvings of Jesus and names of the deceased, the birth and death dates.
- The cemetery sprawls over 14 acres.
- 94 vaults rank as National Historical Monuments and enjoy state protection.
- The cemetery is famous worldwide for its fascinating variety of architectural styles. It is a mix of art deco, neo-classical, neo-gothic, Art Nuevo, Art Deco and modern architecture.
- The layout of the cemetery is a huge tourist attraction in itself. Also, the sections have tree-lined walkways in stone and concrete.
- Most of the mausoleums have dramatic stories behind them.
- Eve Peron‘s tomb is probably the most visited site in the cemetery. She was Argentina’s most beloved First Lady. She lies in a crypt 5 metres underground. The authorities have secured and fortified her vault to make sure no-one can disturb her remains. She was past-president Juan Peron’s wife. You can visit the grave anytime, and this particular tomb nearly always has flowers and notes strewn there.
- Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín’s tomb is one of the newest presidential graves in this cemetery. He died in 2009.
To the naive eye, the Recoleta Cemetery does hold much. But when you start probing some of the stories behind the culture and architecture you discover the magnitude of the place, you’ll want to touch and stare at these enigmas in granite forever.
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