Posted by on May 1, 2013


Located in the northern neighbourhood just to the north of the absolute centre, Recoleta boasts many parks, the Museum of Bellas Artes (classic art), Nacional Library and a Cementario, which is like a graveyard on steroids. I walked the parks by day, the streets by night and on one overcast late afternoon, I found myself at the entrance to the Cementario de la Recoleta.

The words ‘graveyard’ or ‘cemetary’ do not evoke the right feelings. One, they aren’t graves so much as tombs and two, it isn’t a yard so much as a small walled town right in the coffee sipping heart of Buenos Aires’ trendy northern neighbourhood. Religiosity is ever present; winged and cloaked figures gaze down upon the silent avenues and walkways while in every corner epitaphs commemorate the lives of those long passed. It is a place frozen in time, it’s narrative of the devine lost in the jungle of cement, steel and glass which dwarfs it on all sides – supplanting it’s dominance.

Cementario de la Recolelta


Surrounding the Avenida del Libertador are tree lined parks and green spaces: Plazas Francia, Brasil, Mitre, Rubén Darío, Uruguay, Naciones Unidas y Libres del Sud encompass the Museum of classical art, the national universities faculty of law and a steel flower called ‘Floralis Generica’.

Buenos Aires and within it Recoleta, designed by French architects and modelled on Paris, is an expanse of apartment buildings and laberythine one-way streets lined with trees mixing old with new – classical french buildings rising five to ten floors can be seen on almost every street corner while right next to them dingy cement stacks climb even further. It’s charming and jarring all at once.

Plazas and Parks


Being a library lover, I had high hopes for the National Library but came away shaking my head in a mixture of bemusement and chagrin. The building is like a block on a pedestal, better suited to some over-budget science museum from the 70’s than to a library. Once bags and ID have been presented, one can take the lift to any one of five floors, the final hosting the reading room where you can’t enter unless you’re a student or equivalent that wants sit and read – too bad  tourist. Neither can one sit studiously at a quiet table and enjoy a little wifi – there isn’t any. Carparks have free wifi, but not the national library. Needless to say, I didn’t stay long. I really cannot recommend this place to anyone.