La Recoleta Cemetery is a place where words stop meaning anything.
There are, we were told, 4800 crypts in the cemetery. Many have multiple floors, so some family members are buried very far in the ground while others reside on shelves up top:
Some of the crypts have glass doors; others do not. That one didn’t, just a wrought-iron gate that was padlocked.
Some of the graves were very old – this woman died in 1797, and her descendants made her a commemorative plaque a hundred years later:
A more recent grave is this one, which has such a tragic story behind it:
And of course the crypt of the Duarte family, which is where Eva Peron is:
The crypt that struck me the most was this one – the marble panel’s been destroyed and the casket is a bit open:
Eventually I had to stop taking pictures; I was on sensory overload. So much art went into the designs of these crypts, so much love for the dead. (And a lot of money – having a family crypt here is not cheap.) The tombs are lined up like tiny houses along tiny streets, and there is the occasional street sign. Birds nest in some of the sculptures – one angel had a rather disconcerting nest in her mouth – and spiderwebs are everywhere. It’s simultaneously peaceful, frightening, and beautiful.
On the way back, for a little aesthetic relief, I bought these: