Who wants to go on a cemetery tour?
No one? Really? You should reconsider! I think visiting a cemetery is an incredible way to see how a city or country honors citizens. Not to mention they’re often placed on beautiful property, well-manicured and teem with stories.
One of the most beautiful cemeteries I’ve visited has to be Recoleta in Buenos Aires.
This is one of the world’s most grandiose resting places, with over 6,400 mausoleums. The architecture is breathtaking, incorporating Gothic chapels, Greek temples and elegant tiny homes. They don’t just let any riff-raff spend eternity here. This place is for the country’s most celebrated people, including boxer Luis Ángel Firpo, Isabel Walewski Colonna (the illegitimate grandchild of Napoleón Bonaparte) and Eva Peron.
Finding Evita’s mausoleum took some time.
I’d expected something quite grand, but in reality, it’s very modest (at least in comparison to many of its neighbors). It blows me away that 50 years after her death, Argentines still feel very passionately about this woman. Because she was such a controversial historical figure, officials worried her body would be snatched from its tomb. That’s why she’s interred 18-feet underground and in a chamber that’s protected against nuclear attack. I’d call that a final, final, final resting place.
Do you ever visit cemeteries on your travels? Any memorable ones?
Photo by Liam Quinn