Melisa visits Recoleta

Featuring Melisa Romero with photos by Alejandro Sosa.
La Recoleta Cemetery is a cemetery located in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It contains the graves of famous people, including Eva Perón, presidents of Argentina, Nobel Prize winners, the founder of the Argentine Navy and a granddaughter of Napoleon. It is among one the most picturesque cemeteries in the world.

The entrance to the cemetery is through neo-classical gates with tall Doric columns. The cemetery contains many elaborate marble mausoleums, decorated with statues, in a wide variety of architectural styles such as Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Baroque, and Neo-Gothic, and most materials used between 1880 and 1930 in the construction of tombs were imported from Paris and Milan.

The entire cemetery is laid out in sections like city blocks, with wide tree-lined main walkways branching into sidewalks filled with mausoleums. Set in 5.5 hectares the site contains 4691 vaults, all above ground, of which 94 have been declared National Historical Monuments by the Argentine government and are protected by the state.
The Recoleta Cultural Center is an exhibition and cultural events center located in the barrio of Recoleta, Buenos Aires. It holds sculptures and exhibitions, as well as concerts and artistic presentations and workshops of diverse types. In September 2006 it held the wildly successful onedotzero festival attracting over 20,000 people in 3 days for installations, live performances, screenings and music.

The building where the cultural center is located was originally donated to the Franciscans in 1716. The blueprints of the construction were drawn by Jesuit architects Juan Krauss and Juan Wolf, while the design of the façade and interiors are attributed to Andrés Blanqui.  The building, finished in 1732, is one of the oldest in the city. With the arrival of the May Revolution and the declaration of independence during the first part of the 19th century, the building changed purposes.

Manuel Belgrano founded a drawing school there, and since the 1870s it served as a shelter for the destitute. Torcuato de Alvear, first mayor of Buenos Aires, beautified Recoleta as well as the cultural centre; Juan Antonio Buschiazzo gave it an Italian style and created the chapel currently used as an auditorium.  The second  renovation took place around 1980 by Clorindo Testa, Jacques Bedel and Luis Benedit, when the building became a cultural center.