In 1822, the first public cemetery in Buenos Aires was created in the city’s northeastern corridor. The site was named Cemeterio de la Recoleta, after the neighborhood in which it is located.
Today, La Recoleta Cemetery is internationally recognized as being one of the finest in the world. The cemetery contains over 4,600 separate tombs, all of which are above ground. Some of Argentina’s most significant figures are buried in La Recoleta, including a wide array of former Presidents and cultural icons such as Eva “Evita” Peron.
As a historical landmark, La Recoleta Cemetery is an absolute treasure. There is something impressive and remarkable about the sacrifice that families and friends of the deceased have made there in order to honor the memory of their lost loved ones.
On the other hand, it is hard to walk through La Recoleta and not notice it as a glaring symbol of historical socio-economic disparity. This is a cemetery for the elite, after all, and the lavish, opulent monuments ensure that the social status of the interned remain visible long after they are gone.
We live in a world in which 1% of the world’s total population controls nearly 40% of the world’s total wealth. Walking through La Recoleta Cemetary, this truth becomes self-evident.
The pictures below capture just a fraction of what can be seen passing through the endless labyrinth of walkways in one of the most extravagant cemeteries on earth.
Fair Question: Wait, didn’t you get robbed in Buenos Aires? How do you have these pictures? (Was Blind, But Now, I See)
Answer: Thanks to Dropbox.com, I backed up most of the pictures I took online pre-robbery. In the end, I lost three days worth of photos when my camera was stolen, but the photographs featured here had already been backed up before the incident.
332. Buenos Aires, Argentina. Most of the tombs in La Recoleta are essentially small buildings. Dedicated to one person or one family, some of them actually have multiple levels. Walking through the “paths” of the cemetery feels a lot like walking through the streets of a densely constructed mini-city.
333. Buenos Aires, Argentina. Angels abound.
334. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
335. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
336. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
337. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
338. Buenos Aires, Argentina. “In testimony of gratitude for your humanitarian work.”
339. Buenos Aires, Argentina. Many of the tombs include beautifully written, succinct epitaphs. Dr. Velar de Irigoven is here remembered as a “Gentleman and Exemplar Citizen.”
340. Buenos Aires, Argentina. My personal favorite: Dr. Pinero, “A man strong in thinking and in doing.”
341. Buenos Aires, Argentina.