One of the main attraction sights in Buenos Aires is the Recoleta cemetery which houses the dead of both modern and historical residents of this sprawling metropolis. The most famous denizen, in my opinion, is Eva Peron aka “Evita”. We decided to try and find her final resting place on our second day. While we were hoping that it would be sunny, the weather continued its overcast and drizzling streak which, in all honesty, fit better with the overall theme of, well, you know, being in a graveyard.
The cemetery itself is huge – over 6 hectares – full of mausoleum style tombs ornately decorated with angel statues, plaques describing your life’s works, and even old photographs. It is so easy to become lost in the random alleyways between the graves, some so close that you can’t stretch your arms out between them. Even though Evita’s tomb was our main reason for visiting the site, we only found her family’s mausoleum after stumbling upon a tour group and sneakily following along behind them.
Side Note: Turns out there is a map located at the front entrance of the cemetery to the left…we apparently were distracted from seeing it by the many stray cats present when we first walked in. Damn Cats.
Although this site was on the top of our list, we couldn’t help but recognize the creepy undercurrent of a tourist site being a living cemetery. For example, we witnessed a few people being led to their family’s tombs to lay fresh flowers. Alternatively some of the older tombs had broken windows or had their doors open wide allowing the public to reach in and touch the caskets – which are layered one on top of the other for six or seven levels down…which, by the way, you can see.
Now, maybe it’s true that no one in their right mind would actually want to reach in and touch a casket, but the fact is that people could do just that. Which obviously adds to the creepy vibe.
All in all, the sheer number of people and families that are represented in this cemetery is enough to inspire reflection and appreciation for family and the idea of longevity in most visitors. Even if you just come to see Evita, you’ll leave feeling appreciative of all the other “Joe Schmoe’s” who had someone, somewhere, care enough to ensure something recognized their time on this Earth.