The Recoleta Cemetery

One of the most famous landmarks and tourist attractions in Buenos Aires is the cemetery in the barrio of Recoleta. However, the label “cemetery” doesn’t really do it justice — it’s really more like a city of tombs: creepy, but also beautiful and peaceful.

Some of the tombs are centuries old, other are clearly more modern; some are overgrown with weeds and the bones inside are coffin-less, other have fresh displays of flowers and are spotless; some house the remains of famous Argentines: Eva Peron, Sarmiento, Bartolomé Mitre; others provide a resting place for lesser known souls.

Stray cats roam the pathways and recline in the sun, but sneak away if tourists get too close.

The blaring car horns that are so prevalent downtown are oddly absent from the cemetery, and the towering facades of the tombs hide the nearby apartment buildings. Spend 20 minutes there, and you can almost forget that you’re in a metropolis of 13 million people.

The sombre atmosphere of the cemetery is juxtaposed by the bustling Recoleta market a few paces outside. Private booths line the grassy hill, selling sparkling scarves, handmade leather bags, and an endless assortment of mate cups; you can try bargaining, but it doesn’t always work. And then there’s the food…oh the food! Chorripan, chocolate-covered strawberries, and fresh tarts and pies make the air in the market very sweet indeed.

When you’ve had enough desserts, go and check out the deserts in the Cultural Center — photographs of deserts: large, open, magnificently deserted deserts. In an adjacent room is a very nice collection of black and white portraits, and other various exhibits fill the rest of the free gallery.

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