by Annmarie Utech, senior
Tourists and admirers gathered at Recoleta Cemetery Friday, despite construction, to catch glimpses of the final resting places of some of Argentina’s most famous citizens. Heavy rainfall in February caused entrance through the main gate to be restricted, but has not impeded visits to the maze-like cemetery.
“I saw and heard the construction but it still didn’t take away from the experience,” said Amy Rosinsky, junior. “It’s all so intricate [the mausoleums] and it was really cool to see the history of Argentina all in one place.”
Construction had begun in March and the city government is now taking this opportunity to restore several other parts of the cemetery while tourism season is not at its peak. According to Recoleta’s website, the city will pay Naku Construction about 225,000 pesos (57,000 USD) for restoration under the supervision of architect Santiago Jorge Bayazbakian, who has been given a soft deadline of 45 days to complete the project before the summer season begins.
Seeking the old and unique mausoleums, tourists come from around the world to marvel at the construction of the tombs as well as to take a walk through the history of Argentina. The cemetery itself dates back to the early 18th century when it was founded as a convent by the monks of the Order of the Recoletos. Although the order disbanded in 1822, the garden of the convent was converted into the first public cemetery in Buenos Aires. Today it houses six past presidents of Argentina as well as former First Lady Eva Peron, the writer José Hernandez, and poet Luis César Amadori.
“Even though I don’t usually like cemeteries it was interesting to walk around and see people that I recognized from history,” said Ethan Scherch, sophomore.
The cemetery is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located on Calle Junín 1790 in Buenos Aires. Until completion of the project, the only access to Recoleta Cemetery is via a service entrance to the left of the main gate.