Things have changed since this blog began in 2007. Few knew what a drone was in those days & probably never suspected they could be acquired by civilians to give us a new perspective on cities we know & love. AirPano has done just that. Their story of recording footage in Buenos Aires was spot on… nope, those warnings are not to be taken lightly!
As one of the top sights in the city, I’m glad they decided to share the dense beauty of Recoleta Cemetery. Try to find the mausoleum where Eva Perón is buried… just look for the line of tourists :-)
Click here for the full 360º aerial experience of Buenos Aires. #4 is Recoleta Cemetery. Thanks for sharing, AirPano!
Lots of well-known people have busts placed on the exterior of the mausoleum… public reminders of important public figures. Good examples are physician/paleontologist Francisco Javier Muñiz, architect & founder of La Plata Pedro Benoit, Irish chaplain Anthony Fahy, teacher Emma Nicolay de Caprile, & the queen of grumpy Tiburcia del Carril.
Others are more private, placed inside the mausoleum, meant for primarily for family members. All the more reason to take a peek inside!
In Oct 2012, I unexpectedly found a blog with an interesting proposal titled Buenos Aires Rediscovered. As a long-time fan of before & after or then & now comparative photos, Ken’s mission hit close to home:
My great grandfather Alexander Ballantyne OBE was an engineer back in the days when Sun never set on the British Empire. After having served his apprenticeship in Scotland he set off around the world working aboard steam ships. One of these was the “Roma” which was built in Glasgow by the ship builders A & J Inglis. In 1926 my great grandfather set off to Buenos Aires on the Roma to deliver it to its new owners—the Companía Argentina de Navigación (Nicolas Mihanovich) Ltd. They were the dominant force in shipping in Argentina and pretty much ran a monopoly. As well as delivering the ship he had to spend a bit of time in Buenos Aires to test the ship’s engines. When he left he was given a photograph album of Buenos Aires as a thank you present by the Companía Argentina de Navigación. It is this album which inspired this blog.
The fact that Ken put so much effort doing his own series of then & now pics using the 1920s album—in spite of never having visited Buenos Aires previously—inspired me to get in touch. I’ve tried to help by taking a few photos he couldn’t decipher… BA has changed a lot. I’m hoping we’ll be able to meet soon in London because I truly appreciate his work.
Naturally, Recoleta Cemetery appeared in the book given to Ken’s great-grandfather. Below is the original photo, along with the newer version. Unfortunately that particular tree is no longer there, so Ken came up with a creative solution. Not bad at all. It’s difficult to be 100% accurate when the plaza in front of the cemetery has changed so often!
Between 1869 & 1871, Buenos Aires endured two disastrous epidemics: first, cholera, that left 9,000 dead & second, yellow fever, which claimed 14,000 victims. The city government put into practice new sanitation practices, including the removal of tanneries & slaughterhouses from residential areas. Business owners received big tax breaks if they agreed to relocate.
Due to those incentives, Juan Bautista Berisso—an Genovese immigrant born in 1834—purchased 28 hectares in Ensenada, near the future location of La Plata. He established a successful tannery & in following years acquired a distillery, a vegetable oil factory, dock facilities & a number of cattle ranches.
Berisso passed away in 1893 & is buried in an extraordinary family plot rarely seen by tourists because of its somewhat hidden location. Beautiful works by Italian sculptor Alessandro Biggi decorate the mausoleum, with Chronos (Father Time) on the left, a female angel with an anchor on the right & two lions guarding the entrance:
In La Plata, another branch of the Berisso family built the largest mausoleum in the cemetery, currently abandoned: