Recoleta Buenos Aires

The beautiful and very stylish Recoleta neighbourhood (barrio) takes its name from the Recoletos Order of Monks who settled the area. Some of Buenos Aires best and most exclusive property can be found in this barrio that is close to downtown and Palermo.

Recoleta is the most expensive district in Buenos Aires (although both Palermo and Puerto Madero are catching-up) and has been safe haven Buenos Aires' elite for many years. Recoleta is one of the quietest and safest barrios with a policeman on nearly every corner. This barrio boasts many international embassies and is home for much of the expatriate diplomatic service. With lots of green space and beautiful parks it is one of my favourite barrios and one I have often called home over the years.

Known as the Paris of South America for its French style architecture and beautiful boulevards the Recoleta is filled with art galleries, couture shopping, trendy bars and some of the finest restaurants and wine bars you will find in Buenos Aires. If you book mark this link, I will be reviewing the good eateries later this year.

During the weekend, Francia Square's visitors can enjoy of one of the largest craft fairs in the adjoining 'place of the artists' and can bargain their way to some of the best locally designed jewellery, leather goods and art-de-object found anywhere in the world.

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Some of the most important attractions are:

• Recoleta Cemetery: It constitutes one of the three most important cemeteries in the world. It was built in 1822 and has suffered various remodelling that has angered many an ancestor.  Its architecture captures the opulence of the dominant classes that settled Buenos Aires between 1880 and 1930.  This vast monument of a bygone age presents a startling historical journey and a good guide will open your eyes to one of South America’s most important capital cities and its great late historical figures. Nearly 6500 tombs hold the great and the good, Eva Peron, who died in 1952, lies in the Recoleta cemetery. Her life immortalised by many writers and that dreadful show song, 'Don't cry for me Argentina.' It is located at 1760 Junín Street.

• La Biela: This café store is famous since 1942.  It was rebuilt in 1975 due a fire. It is located on the corner of Quintana and Roberto M. Ortiz.

• Iglesia del Pilar: This church is the second oldest in Buenos Aires and it was inaugurated in 1732 by the architect Jesuit Andres Blanqui. It is located at 1920 Junín Street.

• Recoleta Cultural Centre: This was first a place of worship, and then its function was replaced by Iglesia del Pilar. It was converted into a hospital during the British Invasions in 1806, as an academy of art in 1815 and then an asylum until it was re-built by the architect Juan Buschiazzo in 1858. In 1979 it became a cultural centre which was designed by Jacques Bedel, Luis Benedit and Clorindo Testa. It is located at 1940 Junín Street.

• Palais de Glace: It was an ice skating rink, giving it its current name. In 1931 it was remodelled by the architect Bustillo, who converted it into an exhibition centre leaving intact the original structures. It possesses a large glass dome with lamps that provide natural illumination. It is located at 1725 Posadas Street.

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