I have always been fascinated by cemeteries. Not only have I visited countless burial grounds, but the protagonist in my second novel, the satirical black comedy Necropolis, works for the burials and cemeteries department in his local council. Necropolis features a number of fictional cemeteries.
During my trip to Argentina earlier this month I had the opportunity to visit the world famous Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires.
Recoleta is filled with a dizzying array of monuments, mausoleums, statues, columns, tombstones and obelisks. On entering the burial ground visitors are greeted by the sight of this towering arch (see below), commemorating General Alvear, hero of the Argentine War of Independence.
Iconic former First Lady of Argentina, Eva Peron, is buried five metres underground in her family crypt at Recoleta. This is her plaque:
Unlike the sombre and dark traditional family crypts/mausoleums I have seen in the UK, Recoleta’s are often inviting, glass fronted structures brimming with flowers (see below). A flight of stairs leads down to the death chamber below.
Having shooed one of Recoleta’s numerous feline inhabitants away with my foot, I took this picture (see below). Note the palm tree and the pining angels clasping onto the mausoleum on the left.
Below is a picture of your esteemed author posing outside a family crypt, adorned with angels in a variety of poses.
Below is an austere, angel-free mausoleum that particularly appealed to me. I wonder if my monthly Co-operative Funeralcare plan will cover me for one of these in marble or black granite.
Señor Donovan seemed very confident in which direction he was heading (see below).
Recoleta abounds with monuments commemorating the Generals from Argentina’s proud military past – a proud military past I was not even aware of. I made the decision it was probably advisable as an Englishman not to question the authenticity of this claim whilst in the cemetery.
Recolata is a truly remarkable and unique cemetery that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Buenos Aires. Below is an aerial shot of Recoleta, which shows the sheer scale of the facility and the diverse nature of its monuments and numerous burial receptacles.