on October 2, 2007
A list of a city’s attractions can serve as a gauge of its health. The Recoleta Cemetery appears high on any such list of Buenos Aires. Greek temples, pyramids, and chapels coexist peacefully in the La Recoleta Cemetery, the most fashionable place for rich Argentineans to be buried in. Ornate mausoleums in a myriad of styles and separated by streets, avenues and trees create an eerie and intriguing sight. Few would argue this cemetery is one of the most extraordinary ghost cities in the world. However, they are a macabre reminder that Buenos Aires splendor is buried away in a remote past.SurroundingsStill alive citizens favor the neighborhood as well, as the many French style buildings, large green spaces and first class boutiques, shopping centers, pubs, cafes, and restaurants testify. The neighborhood is widely considered to be one of the most exclusive ones in Buenos Aires and is an interesting addition to a visit at the cemetery.Strangely, many night clubs find this background a stimulating one and the area is completely alive till the small hours of the night. On weekends, there is a large handicrafts market and many street performers display their crafts. The Village Mall is a nearby upmarket shopping center with excellent coffee shops, and many cinema theaters.HistoryThe Recoletos Catholic Order founded the Nuestra Señora del Pilar Church and its attached Convent in 1706; much later – in 1822 – they added the cemetery and in 1871 many rich families moved into this area and transformed it into an exclusive residential one as a result of a yellow fever epidemic in the city.Main Sights:The most celebrated Argentineans are buried here and walking the cemetery streets makes a fascinating history lesson, as well as offers an architectural feast.Basílica Nuestra Señora del Pilar: 1892, Junin Street. One of the oldest churches in Buenos Aires, strangely, there is an Inca Style sun made in silver in front of the main altar.Recoleta Cultural Center: 1930, Junín Street. The old convent was transformed in 1886 into a home for aged people and in 1979 it became a cultural center. Young and avant-garde exhibits prevail at the center. Famous Mausoleums: Eva Duarte's (also known as Evita Peron, an Argentinean dictator’s worshipped wife), Federico Leloir's (Medicine Nobel Prize), Luis Angel Firpo's, and others.
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