Private Cemeteries: Memorial and Jardin del Paz

Outside the city of Buenos Aires in the suburban north there are many “Memorial Parks.” A relatively recent phenomenon since the 80s, these parks are private cemeteries that act outside the public municipality and provide an alternative to the burial options I have shown in La Recoleta, Flores, and La Chacarita in the city. Essentially they are just large, quiet, and spacious green spaces that offer a no frills burial option- a flat simple stone embedded in the ground- the trendy modern choice. However, they ensure that the burials will stay in their place uninterrupted for eternity, something the municipal graves cannot promise. This is also a common model of business in the USA, which originated with Forest Lawn Memorial Park in California and was the vision of Dr. Hubert Eaton.

These radical cemeteries are nothing like I imagined when I proposed my visit to Argentina and a very interesting phenomenon showing the Argentinian upper class’s desire to follow American practical commercially developed burial patterns and a complete resistance of gaudy old-fashioned individual mausoleums. These places seem to me as the direct opposite of La Recoleta. Interestingly, Recoleta was seen as the ultimate site for the rich, but now these gated private memorial parks are the first choice for the upper class, where hierarchy (if any) is displayed by the implementation of a bench and a possible gate in front of the standard flat plaque.  In particular I visited Jardin del Paz and Memorial cemeteries, owned by the Grupo Jardín del Pilar.

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