If you grab a tourist book in an airport or in a library and open the page in Argentina, you are going to find that the most visited attraction of the country is the Recoleta Cemetery. Not the amazing falls in Iguazu, not the enormous Perito Moreno Glacier, but the Recoleta Cemetery. Millions of tourists that arrive to Buenos Aires every year visit the cemetery that is located in one of the fanciest districts of the city.
To understand the importance of the Recoleta Cemetery as an attraction, we have to explain a little bit the history of this place.
History of the Recoleta Cemetery
In 1820 the government expropriated the land where it used to be the garden of the Franciscan Congregation, to build the first public cemetery in the city of Buenos Aires.
It was inaugurated in 1822 under the name Cementerio Norte and initially only Catholics could be buried. It was not until 1863 when, thanks to a government decree, other religions were allowed.
Over the years the cemetery reached a state of neglect until remodeling is entrusted in 1880. In this repair, the streets were paved, they built the wall surrounding the cementery and the entrance portico was embellished with Doric style.
Nowadays, Cementerio Norte, known as Recoleta Cemetery, has 4.870 graves, of which 70 vaults were declared a National Historic Landmark and the cemetery itself was declared National Historical Museum since 1946 because of the famous people who rest there. It is considered the biggest outdoor museum because you will be able to find impressive artworks; big mausoleums; sculptures, statues and vitraux inside the tombs.
In the entrance of the cemetery there are three dates: 1822 the year of the inauguration, 1881 first repairing, and 2003, second repairing.