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Endless Mile, Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery guide

The list of occupants of Recoleta Cemetery reads like a Who’s Who of Argentine history & society. The elite, an aspiring middle class, friends, enemies & those who contributed to the general welfare of Argentina all share space in a miniature city of mausoleums & monuments.

During a visit, you’ll stroll past Presidents & politicians (some naughty, some nice), Nobel Prize winners, literary greats, entertainers, scientists, military leaders, sports figures & even some who died tragically. The cemetery’s most famous resident, Eva María Duarte de Perón —simply Evita to her devotées— even had a bizarre post-mortem journey before finally resting in peace in Recoleta.

Want to learn more? Get all the details in our recommended may & pdf guide. The authors of this blog are proud to have guided more than 1,500 people through Recoleta Cemetery… join in!

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592. antonio gonçalves borrega

Located on a prominent corner near the far-right section of the cemetery, the family mausoleum of Antonio Gonçalves Borrega has always been a bit of a mystery. Plaques say one thing while imagery shows another…

Reliefs with medical scenes decorate the top: the left panel appears to be a surgery or perhaps an autopsy, while the right panel looks like Asclepius healing a sick person. The original occupant must have been a physician, but new owners occupied this mausoleum in 1950.

One plaque is dedicated to the wife of Antonio, Joaquina da Conceição Braz, & another names Antonio as the owner of a fábrica de envases… this would most likely be a glass bottle factory or perhaps factory that produces packaging like containers, boxes, etc.:

The 1942 Anuario Kraft —a huge guide to regional commerce— mentions the Gonçalves factory was located at Calle Venezuela 538 in Buenos Aires. Other attempts to find business references have turned up nothing.

One other source states the mausoleum first belonged to “Dr. Ferrari,” but we have no proof to confirm or deny that claim. Finally, we’ve always wondered if the bust above is of the previous owner or of Antonio??? Yet another Recoleta Cemetery mystery to be unraveled…

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591. alcorta

Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery, Alcorta

Occupying a massive mausoleum along a main walkway, Amancio Alcorta (Sr.) descended from a long line of city founders in north & central Argentina. He was born in Santiago del Estero five years before Argentina declared independence from Spain & gradually moved closer & closer to Buenos Aires… first studying literature in Catamarca, followed by music studies in Córdoba. A law degree moved him in the direction of politics, occupying a number of positions before being elected Senator of his native province.

However Amancio was not your average politician; he was part of a generation who balanced political careers with the arts. One of the first Argentine-born composers, many of his works have been unfortunately lost. But surviving pieces incorporate early folklore rhythms as well as influence from Rossini, popular during his lifetime. Amancio was so beloved that he takes the forefront in a monument near the center of the cemetery:

Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery, Alcorta

Amancio had six children, two of which are depicted behind him: Santiago Damiano Alcorta Palacio on the left & namesake Amancio Mariano Alcorta Palacio on the right.

Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery, Alcorta

Amancio (Jr.) followed in his father’s footsteps, studying law & becoming a prominent politician. One of his distinctions was serving as the Minister for Foreign Relations under four different presidents, almost continuously from 1890 until his death in 1902.

Some of Amancio (Sr.)’s musical abilities must have been genetic because his grandson, Alberto Williams, went on to be one of the most recognized pianists of his generation & founded the Music Conservatory in Buenos Aires. Williams, who passed away in 1952, is also buried in the Alcorta family mausoleum:

Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery, Alcorta, Alberto Williams

Another important figure, Carlos Maschwitz, is also buried here. He married a granddaughter of Amancio (Sr.) & improved the national train network as Minister of Public Works alongside Emilio Mitre. He died in an automobile accident while driving from Paris to Bordeaux & has a town near Tigre named after him:

Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery, Alcorta, Carlos Maschwitz
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590. boletín del centro naval

The Centro Naval was founded in 1882 by a group of young officers as a gathering point, a conference center & a place to form bonds on a more social level outside of a military setting. Still going strong after 140 years, its beautiful location at the busy intersection of Calle Florida & Avenida Córdoba also supports academic & cultural activities as well as book publishing. Although closed to non-members, they offer occasional guided tours… definitely worth a visit just for the fancy ballroom:

In Issue #850 of their bulletin published in 2019, author & contributor Enrique Aramburu began by investigating famous naval officers buried inside Recoleta Cemetery. He later expanded his research to include all those involved in maritime activity who found their final resting place in Recoleta:

The result is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in a visit focused on Argentina’s naval history. Forty important figures are listed in the article, accompanied by a brief biography & several historic portraits. We’ve already covered quite a few of the people mentioned here, including:

We’d love to collaborate & design a map for members of the Centro Naval to use. Please get in touch if interested!

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