Remember a few posts back when I told you about the yellow fever outbreak that plagued San Telmo and drove all its wealthy residents away? Well they moved north and took all their money and sophistication with them to Recoleta. Buenos Aires is often characterized as “European” and there’s no place where that is more the case than Recoleta.
The wealthiest of Buenos Aires neighborhoods, Recoleta is home to all the finer things one would expect. Art museums, fancy restaurants and hotels, clean parks and large luxurious estates. Not typically the kind of place for an unshaven motorcycle traveler like myself but there are few things in Recoleta that drew me (and millions of other travelers) there. If one lives in a luxury estate while alive why would they be buried like a normal person in a small grave? Not wanting to let the world forget their wealth and sophistication, the residents began the tradition of building large and elaborate burial tombs.
Cemetario de Recoleta is one of the most famous in the world. Both for it’s buildings and size but also for it’s dead residents. Argentina’s famous woman and political figure, Eva Peron, is buried here. You know, Evita. You can get lost in the small streets leading through the maze of tombs. Some of the structures are in pristine condition and others naturally decaying. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen. There are some New Orleans cemeteries that are similar but the size and scale of the luxury and decay is unparalleled.