San Antonio de Areco: A Gaucho’s Life

A visit to the town of San Antonio (in Argentina, not Texas). This small town is northwest of Buenos Aires and is famous for its Gaucho culture, the Argentine Cowboy.

FullSizeRender 8Common illustrations of Gauchos are done with thin whimsical lines.FullSizeRender 7A typical Gaucho bar near the town square. DSC_0752An example of a homestead that was transformed into a museum. In 2009 it was tragically flooded during large storms across the region and also most of the valuable silver was looted.

In 1926, Ricardo Güiraldes wrote the novel, Don Segundo Sombra, which documents very accurately the life of a Gaucho. He based it off observing life on his family ranch, and in particular one man, Segundo Ramírez. Both men are buried near each other in the San Antonio cemetery.

DSC_0714Version 4

Other images from the cemetery, which shows the history of large land owners and their decline- or at least the decline of their gaudy display of it after death. There is a section of the cemetery with about 15 large Mausoleums that tower far above anything that exists in Recoleta. These were ordered from a catalog and then shipped all the way from Europe and assembled in the cemetery. Inside there is space for at least 30 people. In contrast, surrounding these spaces are smaller tombs that were for the Gauchos who has a much more modest burial. There are also many Irish graves, but they preferred to be buried beneath the ground, displaying pride that they finally owned the land beneath their feet, which was a privilege they did not have in their home country.

DSC_0704DSC_0741DSC_0687DSC_0705DSC_0712An example of a large family tomb imported from Europe. You can see the french nouveau influence.

The cemetery caretaker told me that in 70 years he thinks that this will all become a museum because families are not committed to preserving and maintaining these large structures. (They may prefer to be buried at a private cemetery I visited the day before.) In addition, some of these families were struck with tragedy and of the surviving members, they may not even have the resources to pay for restoration of this type of thing. It will interesting to see if the optimism of the caretaker will prove true.


2 thoughts on “San Antonio de Areco: A Gaucho’s Life

  1. Just out of curiosity, have you run across the the term “El Duende” that represents the dark passionate spirit of Buenos Aires, and that haunts the streets on which Argentine tango was born? El Duende appears in Piazzolla’s tango opera “Maria of Buenos Aires”.

  2. No I have not! Well, I knew that “haunting” is a concept that often emerges in the city. The obelisk is haunted, La Iglesia Santa Felicitas is a famous ghost in the area, the cemetery is definitely considered haunted…

    I read that El Duende is the silence that happens in the tango, the time between the movement that “gives chills” – that is very cool! I have witnessed tango, but not yet participated. I will soon.

    Also, fyi, check out the next post 🙂 You get a shoutout. Thanks for the book recommendation!

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