Take a somber but beautiful journey through a city of the dead. The cemetery was built around Our Lady of Pilar, a convent built by monks in 1732. Over 6,000 mausoleums stand like small, stone houses, every door locked; the residents aren’t coming out. As you wander through the streets, try to piece together the lives laid to rest, most of whom were wealthy or notable figures in Argentina. Here, their statues mingle with weeping angels. The most visited tomb is that of Eva Perón, First Lady of Argentina, whose corpse had been stolen out of vengeance from her husband, President Juan Perón. When she was finally moved to Recoleta Cemetery, twenty years after her death, elaborate measures were taken to ensure her body remained secure: a trapdoor beneath the marble floor leads to two empty coffins, and a second trapdoor leads to her true resting place. Those visiting this particular tomb can’t help but stop and inspect others along the way. Many of the mausoleums resemble chapels, pyramids, and Greek temples. The tombs are of various styles, including baroque and neo-gothic. The Dorrego-Ortiz Basualdo family mausoleum towers above others. As you approach the archway, it begins to look more like an altar, with a sculptured woman lighting a candelabrum beneath a cross. Perhaps the most disturbing burial is that of Rufina Cambaceres. She fell into a coma at age nineteen and was declared dead. A few days later, cemetery workers heard screams coming from her tombs and opened it to discover scratches inside her coffin from her efforts to escape. Her mother built a new tomb with a statue of Rufina, her hand on the door, unclear whether she’s opening it or leaving. One of the most unique tombs is that of Liliana Crociati de Szaszak. She was twenty-six when she was killed by an avalanche. Her Neo-Gothic tomb has high windows, a bronze statue of her and her beloved dog to the side. There are thousands more tombs and statues to see, making the cemetery one of, if not the, most popular attraction in Buenos Aires, and with a free entrance, there’s no reason not to explore.
Junín 1760, 1113 CABA, Argentina
Hours of Operation:
Daily 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Phone: +54 11 4803-1594
Guided Tour Information
Maps are available near the entrance to the cemetery. There are free English-speaking tours Thursday at 11:00 am.
Camping (Av. Pueyrredón 2501, C1119ACI CABA), named for the makeshift-looking pavilions, has casual food and a cool, outdoor atmosphere. Come in the afternoon, grab some food, choose a song from a jukebox app, and settle down at one of the shared tables. It’s a great, trendy place to hang out and strike up a conversation with locals and other travelers.
Interested in touring Argentina and visiting Recoleta Cemetery? We offer four different tours that explore this region.
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|Junín 1760, 1113 CABA, Argentina|