Wednesday, 25 March 2015

"God's Acre"

Framed by high walls like a secret garden is the City's elites’ mausoleum - Cementerio de la Recoleta. Terraces of crypts and tomb denote the last resting place of the great and good (and rich of course). Heroes, politicians, inventors and other rich folks of their day. There are over 6,400 beautifully ornate (some once) mausoleums in “God's Acre”, in what is considered prime real estate for the deceased. 

I did a little on line snooping and apparently the cemetery was created in the former Franciscan monastery’s gardens around 1820.  Only people whose families own a vault, crypt or mausoleum can be laid to rest here now, there is no space left for new families' residences in this necropolis of the dead. Unfortunately for some of the deceased, some families seem not to be so wealthy anymore, or the linage has died out. Many of the sepulchers were uncared for, in poor states of repair and open to the elements. Through the broken windows you could see the dusty caskets. The more recent to “pass” where on the top level, with others being moved down a shelf, then downstairs. Apparently the rooms have an underground depth of up to 8 metres. 

Right angled streets of the cemetery form a warren of house-like tombs

Argentina's famous Eva Peron who is buried in the Familia Duarte Tomb

A mixture of european and neoclassical styles with a touch of the S American love of skulls thrown in for good measure

A competition amongst the deceased's families for grandness even in the afterlife

Many can no longer afford to maintain them or have long been forgotten

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