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Everybody Who Is Anybody

A Lane in Buenos Aires’ Recoleta Cemetery

A Lane in Buenos Aires’ Recoleta Cemetery

In the United States, there is no single cemetery where everybody who is anybody is interred. France has its Père Lachaise and Pantheon, and Argentina has La Recoleta.

There you will find the tombs of Argentina’s presidents, including Bartolomé Mitre, Carlos Pellegrini, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Hypólito Yrigoyen, Julio Argentino Roca, Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear, Pedro Eugenio Aramburu, and Raúl Alfonsin. Perhaps its most famous inhabitant is Evita Perón, who is buried here under her maiden name of Duarte. Not here is the only Argentinean president most people are likely to know: Juan Perón. He was buried at Chacarita Cemetery, then moved to a mausoleum some 35 miles outside of Buenos Aires.

Although Jorge Luis Borges—Argentina’s most famous writer—is buried in Europe, here you will find Silvina and Victoria Ocampo and Borges’s collaborator Adolfo Bioy Casares.

Walking through the labyrinthine passageways between the crowded crypts, one finds fabulous wealth (such as that of the Bullriches) side by side with neglected tombs with broken glass and crumbling plaster.

And yet, to pass eternity in this place has a high entrance requirement. Many of the tiny crypt spaces are more expensive than mansions in the more elegant parts of the city. These are the most exclusive fourteen acres in all of South America.

If you find yourself in Argentina, a visit to Recoleta is a must.