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Month: August 2020

563. recoleta reopens, almost

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, announcement, reopening

As of today, Recoleta Cemetery —as well as the other two burial grounds in Buenos Aires— will reopen… but only for their intended purpose: funerals or visiting deceased relatives. The above announcement lists the following conditions:

  • Hours are Monday to Friday (including holidays) from 08:00 to 17:00.
  • Only two people per family will be allowed to enter.
  • Length of stay: 1 hour maximum.
  • Tourism or recreational visits are not allowed.
  • For burials, five people + a religious minister are able to enter together.

Basically if you don’t have business inside Recoleta Cemetery, there’s still no option to enter. Staff confirmed that regular cleaning & maintenance has taken place since closure on 13 Mar 2020, but workers have been the only ones permitted inside. While it remains unclear how these new regulations will be enforced, please refrain from tourism until further notice. Gracias!

Update (Dec 2021): Recoleta Cemetery is now open for all visitors & with regular hours of operation!

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561. josé mª pizarro y monje

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, José María Pizarro y Monje

President Bernardino Rivadavia formed the Sociedad de Beneficencia in 1823 to perform charity work that had previously been the sole responsibility of the Catholic church. In spite of a rough start, by the beginning of the 20th century the organization became synonymous with the grand dames of Buenos Aires high society. It gave food & shelter to orphans, provided a role model for wayward kids, ran hospitals, & taught boys & girls “gender-based” work skills. Was this child labor? Sure. Did the elite maintain power & influence through this organization? Definitely. As a highly-visible symbol of upper class control, Perón replaced their work with the Fundación Eva Perón… & the rest is history.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, José María Pizarro y Monje

José María Pizarro y Monje had substantial real estate holdings dating from the early 1800s. As part of the landed Argentine elite, his only daughter —Cornelia Pizarro— worked endlessly with the Sociedad de Beneficencia. She developed a friendship with President Bartolomé Mitre & became known for organizing raffles to raise funds for charity.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, José María Pizarro y Monje

Cornelia passed away without getting married & donated her entire fortune (500,000 pesos or well over USD 1 million in today’s currency) to found an institute for orphan girls over the age of 14. Opened in 1925 & named after her father, children were taught domestic service & girls often sold their textiles to hospitals or to the general public. They even provided employment for women who had grown up in the institute but could not find work. The organization continues to provide service to the city today.

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