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The “Crypt Keeper” of Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires

March 1, 2009

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Visiting the justifiably famous  Recoleta cemetery, final resting place of Buenos Aires’ famous artists, politicians (Evita Peron), generals and just plain wealthy, I noticed an older man sitting in the shade of one of the enormous tombs. He smiled and I was able to understand the question he asked in Spanish about my camera. “Digital”, I answered, “No film”. I sat down next to him and showed him the images I had captured of the cemetery that morning thus far. He nodded as I scrolled through through the images and spoke again in a rapid bust of Spanish, at which point Margaux intervened to translate.

“He wants to know if we’d like to go inside some of the tombs, since he is the crypt keeper and has all of the keys.”

A no-brainer, to say the least.

“Muchos, muchos gracias, senor” I said,and off we went.

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necro-tomb-132Inside one of the crypts. These stairs lead down 30 feet under the above ground tomb. The family coffins are on marble shelves and may date from the mid 19th. century to the presnt.

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necro-stairs-crypt-112Margaux and our new friend, Eduardo, keeper of the keys to the crypts. We’re about 20 feet below ground, but light is filtering from the windows in the tomb structure above us. Those are coffins behind them. The architecture and craftsmenship  of the tombs is stunning. The  marble is  imported from Carrera,  Italy. The detailed  workmanship of the coffins was beautiful, the handles were of heaviest cast silver, the wood, rare and exotic.

necrop-crypt-keeper-92The small coffin center below, is for a small child and is dated 1855. It looked as though it had just been put there, completely unblemished and pristine.

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2 comments

  1. Hi Art. These are beautiful! How incredible that you got to see the crypts. Enjoy the rest of your journey. Look forward to hearing all about it!


  2. What a story, Margaux’s lovely aliveness adds an interesting juxtaposition to the coffins and crypt-keeper. great photos – thank you for bringing us there.



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