Entrance to the Recoleta, Buenos Aires 1917

Entrance to the Recoleta, Buenos Aires 1917

RECOLETA is the name generally applied to the Cementerio del Norte (Northern Cemetery) and is the favorite burial place of the Porteño (Buenos Aires) aristocracy. In Argentina and most South American countries, the wealthy dead are interred in vaults; those of the poorer families are buried in the ground with a stone slab over their grave, and with a cross to mark the headpiece; the very poorest are placed in niches in the cemetery walls, one on top of another like the catacombs. (from Henry Stephens, Illustrated descriptive Argentina, 1917)

The name comes from the Monastery of the Recollect Fathers, members of the Franciscan Order which was established in the area at the beginning of the 18th century. They founded a monastery and a church dedicated to Nuestra Señora del Pilar with a cemetery attached. The Recoleta pathway is nearly the exact geographic center of the neighborhood, and one of its highest points in the city, which, at the end of the 19th century attracted wealthy families from the south of the city who sought to escape from the deadly yellow fever outbreak which began in 1871. From that time on, the Recoleta has been one of the most stylish and expensive neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, home to private family mansions, foreign embassies, and luxury hotels, including the Alvear Palace Hotel.

The Recoleta Cemetery is one of the main tourist attractions in the neighborhood. It was designed by the French architect Prosper Catelin, at the request of President Bernardino Rivadavia, and was dedicated in 1822.

The Recoleta neighborhood is distinguished by its great cultural spaces. In addition to historical monuments, it is home to the National Fine Arts Museum or Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the National Library of Argentina, the Recoleta Cultural Center, and other exhibition venues. (from Wikipedia)

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