An alternative to Cementerio de la Recoleta.


Jan 4, 2009
Cementerio de la Chacarita

The ritual of burial has never really appealed to me, as the thought of my body slowly rotting beneath the ground upon which I once trod seems somewhat undignified. This opinion was however altered on my first visit to ‘Cementerio de la Recoleta’, where throngs of tourists walk in awe amongst the marble mausoleums. Although by no means a frequenter of graveyards, the grandeur of Recoleta intrigued me into a visit to the common folk equivalent.

A short stroll past the streetside florists, between the peach pillars of the entrance, and I have been severely misled. ‘Cementerio de la Chacarita’ was founded hastily after the yellow fever epidemic, thus bringing to mind little more than row upon row of weary gravestones. What is not to be expected is Recoleta once again, with the addition of broad, tree-lined streets and the absence of camera-wielding gringos. With some structures reaching the size of houses, the first section of Chacarita resembles an abandoned city more than a poor-man’s graveyard.

Having meandered through the empty streets, I was soon confronted by what seemed to be a vast expanse of concrete nothingness. A second glance revealed large holes in this concrete floor, and an underground labyrinth of resting portenos. Walking amongst this Soviet-style maze is perplexing, and a little unnerving when you realise the stairs seem to have disappeared. On finally reaching the surface, I came across the third and final section of Characita, and a sea of wooden crosses.

Coming from the chaos of the city, the tranquillity of this space is overwhelming. The care which seems lacking on the streets of Buenos Aires is found here, where even the oldest graves are adorned with fresh flowers. With a brush of white paint indicating nothing more than a name and a date, here rest those who are truly wealthy. For whilst the mausoleums of the rich & famous are hounded by a relentless stream of tourists and the din of traffic, the masses have found their ultimate respite.

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Peron and Carlos Gardel are buried at Chacarita. There is also a British Cemetery adjacent which is quite tidy and has long served the Anglo-Argentine community.
Peron is not there anymore though you can see his family tomb. He was moved to the family estate in San Vicente after he was found exhumed and minus hands in Chacarita.

Flores cemetery is also worth a visit.