In this article, we will tell you a compilation of mysteries and legends of Recoleta Cemetery, the most famous in Argentina.
Recoleta Cemetery, far from being a gloomy and eerie place, resembles more of a museum than a cemetery, as it is an open-air space with trees, streets, and mausoleums in various artistic styles. Impressive domes and beautiful stained glass windows. For these reasons, it is the most visited place in Argentina.
It is a very picturesque cemetery, renowned because it houses great personalities from Argentine history, mostly from aristocratic families. Here, you can find 20 presidents of the nation, political leaders, heroes, and famous entrepreneurs.
Out of nearly 5000 tombs, 90 were declared a National Historic Monument along with the Cemetery in 1946. Without a doubt, the most visited tomb is that of Eva Duarte de Perón, known as Evita.
As in any cemetery, you will be able to find legends and mysteries that pique the curiosity of visitors. This is why we will now tell you about some of the highlighted legends of Recoleta Cemetery:
The story of Evita’s remains
Evita passed away at a very young age due to cancer in 1952, but it wasn’t until 1976 that she could rest in peace because her remains were subjected to multiple crimes and kidnappings.
Since Evita passed away during the presidency of Juan Domingo Perón and she was a symbol of the lower classes, it was decided that her body would be embalmed and displayed in the CGT (General Confederation of Labor). In 1955, a civilian and military coup took place, and the military didn’t like having Evita in a government building since it attracted the lower classes. For this reason, they kidnapped the body, and in 1957, they sent it to Italy, where it was buried under a false name in the Cemetery of Milan.
It wasn’t until 1971 that the Operation Return of Evita’s remains was organized, but it wasn’t until 1974 that she was repatriated. At that time, the Altar of the Nation was started to be built in the presidential estate of Olivos, but in 1976, the project was halted due to a new coup. This time, the dictatorship returned the body to her family, who decided to bury her in their family mausoleum in Recoleta Cemetery.
The Lady in White
Just meters from entering the cemetery, we will find the tomb of Luz María García Velloso, the daughter of a renowned playwright. Luz María passed away at the young age of 17 due to leukemia.
The legend tells that one day, a man found a girl crying inconsolably inside the cemetery. The man comforted her by lending her his coat and invited her for a coffee at the historic La Biela Café. After a while, the man kissed her, and she got up hastily, staining the man’s coat. He chased her to the cemetery gate, but it was already closed. The cemetery caretaker denied having seen her, but upon the man’s insistence, he let him in. At Luz María’s tomb, he found his stained coat and recognized her as the girl he had kissed at the café minutes before.
Rufina Cambaceres was the daughter of Eugenio, a famous writer, lawyer, and politician. When she turned 19, she was found lifeless in her room. Doctors declared her deceased, and she was buried in the cemetery in 1902. A few days later, her mother went to bring her flowers and found the coffin broken and the lid shifted. This is why it is believed that Rufina may have suffered a cataleptic attack and was buried alive. Rufina’s mausoleum is known for featuring a statue of her with her hand on the doorknob, as if she wanted to open it.
The eternal caretaker
David Alleno worked at Recoleta Cemetery from the age of 11. He was very happy with his job and admired the impressive mausoleums being built there. His brother won the lottery and distributed the money to their relatives. With this budget, David decided to travel to Genoa to commission his own tombstone. He also bought a plot in the cemetery and resigned from his job. That same year, at 25, he committed suicide by drinking poison to fulfill his dream of having a mausoleum in the famous Recoleta Cemetery. It is said that to this day, noises are heard as if he were improving his tombstone.
Discover these and other stories on our Guided Tour of Recoleta Cemetery. Book now for free. We look forward to seeing you.”