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Month: August 2011

432. iphone app for sale

Please note that as of Aug 2015, this app is no longer for sale! The PDF version is still available (see below).


Regular readers might notice a new button in the sidebar… yet another way to experience Recoleta Cemetery is available! Our new venture, Endless Mile, is now live & we selected Recoleta Cemetery as the subject of our first travel app for the iPhone/iPod touch.

Endless Mile, logo

A significant advance in mobile device technology has allowed this particular dream to come true. The PDF guidebook, first made available in Jan 2010, has been very well received but the app version makes a visit to the cemetery much more interactive.

High quality, color photographs—a trademark of this blog—have been incorporated as well as an explanation of additional symbols & archival images. This app presents a new way to visit the cemetery & explains why it remains the number one tourist destination in Buenos Aires.

Rufina Cambacérès, Recoleta Cemetery app, screenshot

Easy-to-use & fun to navigate, the cemetery’s top 25 tombs are highlighted in the walk. Both fans of urban legends & history buffs will find something of interest, & the app wouldn’t be complete without a description of the cemetery’s most famous resident, Eva Perón. Known simply as Evita to her devotées, her bizarre post-mortem journey is described in detail.

We’re excited to launch our company with the only app dedicated to Recoleta Cemetery. It engages those who are interested in learning more about the cemetery & makes sharing a visit with friends & family easy. The best thing about this app, however, is that it’s like consulting a tour guide whenever you want.

Thanks for your support!


431. visits for the blind

Recoleta Cemetery, guided visit, blind

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of meeting two guides who know volumes about Recoleta Cemetery: Mario Braun & María Fernanda Gomez. As much as I research & share my discoveries in this blog, there’s always more to learn… & they shared some fascinating stories. María Fernanda authored a book about handicapped tourism (“Grupos Turísticos y Discapacidad“), so when a group of the blind toured the cemetery she was contacted to tag along & document the event… complete with two guide dogs.

Although I’ve never happened upon a group like this, I can’t help but think how wonderful it would be to guide them through the cemetery. It is a place full of sensory experiences & several statues are at ground level. Imagine reading plaques by touch & visiting the following tombs without being able to see them… fascinating!

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Comodoro Rivadavia

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Marco Avellaneda, Art Nouveau

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires

First photo courtesy of María Fernanda Gomez.

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430. julio argentino roca ◊

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Julio Argentino Roca

Few figures in Argentine history have been as influential or as controversial. Everyone seems to have an opinion about Julio Argentino Roca.

Born in 1843 in Tucumán, his military career began at an early age. Roca enlisted when only 15 years old & fought in several decisive battles during the years of national organization. Under the presidency of Bartolomé Mitre, Roca fought in the War of the Triple Alliance & later proved his loyalty to the nation during an attempted coup. Thanks to this action, President Avellaneda promoted Roca to General in his early 30s. He also appointed Roca as his Minister of War after the death of Adolfo Alsina. What a quick rise to power.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Julio Argentino Roca

Roca fought one final battle before retiring his sword. Alsina had made scant progress in controlling the indigenous population, & the issue demanded attention. Roca’s solution was to kill as many as possible while the rest were taken captive. Roca effectively conquered the desert. It was a move that made later generations dislike Roca as well as launched him into national politics. He became the next President, having expanded national territory & resolving a “problem” which had plagued Argentina for decades. Roca’s monument in downtown Buenos Aires is often covered with unflattering graffiti & red paint to symbolize the blood spilled:

Buenos Aires, Monserrat, Diagonal Sur, Monumento a Roca

Once in office, Roca settled another important issue: Buenos Aires became the official capital of Argentina. And not to leave controversy behind, Roca promoted adoption of a series of laws to take several functions out of the hands of the Catholic church. With Sarmiento as Director of the National Board of Education, primary school became free & public, no longer dependent on the church. Acceptance of marriage by civil service also caused some conflict with Rome. In economics, Roca promoted the export of raw materials & large amounts of foreign investment.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Julio Argentino Roca

After Roca’s term ended in 1886, he had no desire to retire. Serving several terms as Senator, Roca became one of the key figures behind the scenes during the 1890 Revolution. Always maintaining important connections & positions of power, Roca attained the presidency for a second term in 1898. During this time, Minister of War Pablo Riccheri instituted obligatory military service & Navy Minister Comodoro Rivadavia helped Roca negotiate peace with Chile over border disputes in 1902. That same year, Luis María Drago published his influential doctrine while serving as Minister of Foreign Relations.

Roca’s later years are complex & raise quite a few questions. Serving as ambassador to Brazil for President Sáenz Peña, Roca spent much time away from Argentina. He was oddly absent from centennial celebrations in 1910. In 1914 while on one of his estates in Córdoba province, Roca passed away suddenly after a coughing fit at the age of 71.

The tomb was declared a National Historic Monument in 1946. There is no doubt that Roca made some of the most important decisions in Argentina’s history, although by what some consider questionable methods. But his legacy can’t be escaped—Roca’s Conquest of the Desert decorates the reverse side of the old 100 peso bill!

100 peso note, Roca

Interior photo courtesy of Mike De Ghetto. Thanks!