Skip to content

AfterLife Posts

523. familia de emilio saint

Recoleta Cemetery, Emilio Saint, Águila

Roasting coffee beans & making chocolate turned French immigrant Abel Saint into one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Buenos Aires. His business which began in 1880 grew quickly & after a couple of moves around Buenos Aires, the main factory for El Águila settled in the neighborhood of Barracas. Unfortunately Abel passed away two years before the factory opened in 1894, leaving the company to his son, Emilio.

Recoleta Cemetery, Emilio Saint, Águila

In 1905—less than ten years after taking charge of the company—Emilio launched another factory in Uruguay as well as began exporting chocolate to Paraguay. Águila continued to diversify under Emilio’s direction (with over 100 different products!) but gained fame from making chocolate tablets that could be broken into bars… perfect for the classic hot chocolate beverage called a submarino.

Recoleta Cemetery, Emilio Saint, Aguila chocolate

For most of the 20th century, Águila did very well & became a hallmark, national brand. But diet fads of the 1980s reduced the consumption of chocolate, & the company was sold to food industry giant Arcor in 1993. However Arcor maintained the Águila brand, & it continues to be one of the most popular chocolates in Argentina. Much of the main factory has been demolished, but a few remnants exist to keep the memory of the Saint family alive:

Buenos Aires, Barracas, El Águila, chocolate

Buenos Aires, Barracas, El Águila, chocolate

Buenos Aires, Barracas, El Águila, chocolate

Besides his involvement with the family business, Emilio Saint became president of the Automóvil Club Argentino from 1931 until his death four years later. He oversaw one of the most difficult eras for ACA, following the 1929 world economic crisis. Under Saint’s leadership, the club transformed from being composed of purely elite members to include anyone who had a passion for cars. Emilio also invested heavily in real estate, commissioning one of the most remarkable Art Deco skyscrapers in the city: the Torre Saint. An upper-level was dedicated to rooms for the tenants’ personal drivers… easy to understand given Emilio’s love of cars!

Buenos Aires, Once, Torre Saint, Art Deco

Buenos Aires, Once, Torre Saint, Art Deco

521. entrance fee?

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Marco Avellaneda

Funny how a newspaper article can draw attention to a law passed a year & a half ago. La Nación reported on 17 Nov 2015 that Recoleta Cemetery would begin to charge an admission fee soon… well, maybe.

The city legislature passed Law 4977 in May 2014, establishing a series of measures to guarantee burial rights to all residents of Buenos Aires as well as promote architectural heritage & culture to visitors. It’s about time some regulations were put into place… I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to bite my tongue because I overheard guides give false information during a tour!

Chapter 4 of Law 4977 breaks the situation down in seven sections:

  • Article 136 establishes a body for regulating tourism within all Buenos Aires cemeteries.
  • Article 137 requires that all tour guides must be registered & fulfill all city guide requirements.
  • Article 138 states that all tour guides—whether they are registered or not—must take special training to lead tours inside public cemeteries.
  • Article 139 creates a General Cemetery Tourism Fund that will receive income from tourist fees as well as the sale of books, posters, etc.
  • Article 140 exempts the collection of fees from students of all ages who visit cemeteries for educational purposes, also retirees & Argentine nationals who visit without a guide.
  • Article 141 grants control of funds to a specific body.
  • Article 142 informs that conservation, maintenance & production of materials to be sold will be paid for via the General Cemetery Tourism Fund (apparently falling out of jurisdiction of the Asociación de Amigos)

No specifics are mentioned as to the amount to be charged or a deadline to have some system in place.

For several years I have followed a blog written by the Asociación de Guías de Turismos de Buenos Aires (AGuiTBA). On November 10th—a week before the article in La Naciónthey posted that a big meeting had been held with the General Director of Cemeteries, tourism agencies & other interested parties. An agreement was reached to postpone charging any national or foreign tourists 100 pesos, previously set to take effect on November 15th. The main reason for postponement was that many operators had already been paid for tours which included a visit to the Recoleta Cemetery.

So by our understanding a fee is coming. Likely 100 pesos. But the date has yet to be set. As more information becomes available, we’ll post it here.

519. views from a drone

Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery, aerial view, drone, AirPano

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!

518. apartment zero

Recoleta Cemetery, Apartment Zero, movie, poster

Filmed in Buenos Aires in 1988, Apartment Zero features a very young Colin Firth as Adrian Leduc—a reclusive cinema buff with a mentally-ill mother. American Jack Carney, played by hunky Hart Bochner, answers a newspaper ad to share Adrian’s apartment & everyone in the building falls for him, including Adrian. Of course, no 1980s movie based in Argentina would be complete without a Dirty War subplot.

What does all this have to do with Recoleta Cemetery? When Adrian’s mother dies, she is buried there. A reader of this blog suggested I watch Apartment Zero just for the cemetery scenes… thanks for the recommendation, Manuel:

Recoleta Cemetery, Apartment Zero, Colin Firth

Recoleta Cemetery, Apartment Zero, Colin Firth

Recoleta Cemetery, Apartment Zero, Colin Firth

Recoleta Cemetery, Apartment Zero, Colin Firth

Recoleta Cemetery, Apartment Zero, Colin Firth

The tomb used in the movie was easy to identify, belonging to Álvaro Barros & family:

Recoleta Cemetery, Álvaro Barros

I’ve read that Highlander 2 used the cemetery for a single scene, but I’ve yet to find the footage. Know of any other movies filmed here? Let us know!