Tuesday, September 22, 2009

La Recoleta Cemetery

Rather than a field of grass with tombstones, La Recoleta cemetery is filled with rows side-by-side small stone houses, each with a door and a name plate of the family, an altar, decorations, coffins for one or two of the family members, and a basement to hold the rest of the family members. Apparently there's no rule or tradition about who gets to be in the top floor coffins and who gets sent down to the basement.

Most of the altars had crucifixes, vases (some with flowers, some without), and candle holders, but a few had little toys and memorabilia. It seemed like the living family was supposed to come by (with their keys to the tomb-houses) to put in flowers, dust, and clear out the cobwebs. Obviously, some were better kept up than others.

Now, there were plenty of odd people like me who would wander around just to see what people put in their tomb-houses (that's my word for the funny looking graves), but the real tourism draw is Evita's tomb-house.

Evita was the wife of President Peron, who was both elected three times as president and took control of the government through military coup. Since Eva was his third wife, she only remained in the lime light from 1946 till her death in 1952. She was loved by the Argentine people for her charity works, feminist philosophy, and support of women's suffrage. No surprise that hers was definitely the most decorated tomb-house.

Here are more pictures of La Recoleta Cemetery.

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