Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Recoleta Cemetery - Buenos Aires

Those of us from the non-Latin world are always amazed

and seduced by these

cities of the dead........

It's also very sobering to contemplate

how it could be that so much marvelous talent

and skill could be concentrated in the hands of humble

craftsmen.  To create such beauty.  And that their names (as opposed to those of the people who employed them) and whose skills are now, in our modern hyper-achieving world,

almost entirely lost to us.

A place like this quite is literally and irrefutably deserving of the descriptive:  Passage Paradis.

If you want to believe it, Evita Peron is meant to be buried here.  But there is some controversy as to whether she actually is.   From Wikipedia:

Disappearance and return of corpse

Shortly after her death, plans were made to construct a monument in Evita's honor. The monument, which was to be a statue of a man representing the "descamisados," was projected to be larger than the Statue of Liberty. Evita's body was to be stored in the base of the monument and, in the tradition of Lenin's corpse, to be displayed for the public. While waiting for the monument to be constructed, Evita's embalmed body was displayed in her former office at the CGT building for almost two years. Before the monument to Evita was completed, Juan Perón was overthrown in a military coup, the Revolución Libertadora, in 1955. Perón hastily fled the country and did not make arrangements to secure Evita's body.

A military dictatorship took power in Argentina. The new authorities removed Evita's body from display and its whereabouts remained a mystery for 16 years. From 1955 until 1971, the military dictatorship of Argentina issued a ban on Peronism. It became illegal not only to possess pictures of Juan and Eva Perón even in one's home, but even to speak their names. In 1971 the military revealed that the body was buried in a crypt in Milan, Italy, under the name "María Maggi." In 1995, Tomás Eloy Martínez published "Santa Evita," a work propounding many new stories[56] about the escapades of the corpse—including allegations that many wax copies had been made, that the corpse had been damaged with a hammer, and that one of the wax copies was the object of an officer's sexual attentions.

Final resting place
In 1971, Evita's body was exhumed and flown to Spain, where Juan Perón maintained the corpse in his home. Juan and his third wife, Isabel, decided to keep the corpse in their dining room on a platform near the table. In 1973, Juan Perón came out of exile and returned to Argentina, where he became president for the third time. Perón died in office in 1974. His third wife, Isabel Perón, whom he had married on November 15, 1961, and who had been elected vice-president, succeeded him, thus becoming the first female president in the Western Hemisphere. It was Isabel who had Evita's body returned to Argentina and (briefly) displayed beside Juan Perón's. The body was later buried in the Duarte family tomb in La Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires.

Extensive measures were taken by the Argentine government to secure Evita's tomb. There is a trapdoor in the tomb's marble floor, which leads to a compartment that contains two coffins. Under the first compartment is a second trapdoor and a second compartment. That is where Evita's coffin rests. Biographers Marysa Navarro and Nicholas Fraser write that the claim is often made that Evita's tomb is so secure that it could withstand a nuclear attack. "It reflects a fear," they write, "a fear that the body will disappear from the tomb and that the woman, or rather the myth of the woman, will reappear."[57] This cemetery, which is located in the northern part of barrio Recoleta, also holds the remains of many illustrious military generals, presidents, scientists, poets and other affluent Argentinians. There is a saying in Argentina that it costs much more to die than it does to live.


  1. Fabulous pictures! Did you ever visit the city of the dead in Cairo. Impressive as well in a different sort of way.

  2. In my travels I always visit a cemetery and Recoleta with a plethera of cats is a favorite. I went there twice for photos and to walk the aisles of tombs and monuments. Once, in the rain it truly had a gorgeous aura. I have never seen so many angels.

    Thanks for the Eva Peron story as I saw her tomb but did not know "the whole story." Fascinating! I long to return to Buenos Aires.


  3. De magnifiques photos pour un monde hors du temps.

  4. Quel bel endroit plein de sérénité et quelle histoire que celle d'Evita...Bon WE