It was a great 10 days in Buenos Aires. I am not certain what I was expecting but whatever it was, BA exceeded it!
The Nueve de Julio Avenue is the center of the city. Created in the 1930s by wiping out an entire city block wide, and nearly 3 miles long, it is an impressive sight.
The city exists because of the huge estuary of the Rio de La Plata, creating one of the world’s great ports.
The city is full of great architecture starting with the Retiro Train Station.
The Torre Monument is in the plaza in front of Retiro. The tower was completed in 1916 by the same architect who built Big Ben.
Just down the street is the Kavanagh Building, an Art Deco masterpiece.
One of the highlights of the city is the number of ‘Palacios’ remaining from the early 1900s. While there were once more than 100, less than 40 remain, but those that still stand are magnificent.
In addition to the Palacios there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of impressive buildings.
The city was the first city in South America to have a subway, starting over 100 years ago.
As with any city, not all are enjoying the good life. Buenos Aires has some ‘Villa’s, basically shantytowns for the very poor. The city says they have a plan to help improve the lives of the people living in the Villas, but only time will tell.
No visit to Buenos Aires is complete without a stop at the Obelisk.
For now it is time to fly, but not before joining the crowd to watch a soccer game while waiting on the plane. True Buenos Aires!
Of all the important streets in Buenos Aires, none is above Avenida de Mayo, May Avenue. Named in honor of the May Revolution of 1810 that lead to the Argentine independence, the street takes you from the Plaza of Congress to the Presidential Palace.
The Congressional Building graces the far end of the plaza.
The plaza has a massive fountain and a collection of statues.
The view from the plaza looking down Avenida de Mayo.
The Confiteria El Molino, an Art Noveau coffee house was completed in 1917. All of the marble, ceramics an glass was imported from Italy.
The windmill was in honor of the Molino Lorea, the first flour mill in Buenos Aires.
Across the plaza is the Senate Building.
Most of the buildings along the street have character.
None have more character than the Palacio Barolo. Once South America’s tallest building, the entire structure is an ode to Dante’s Divine Comedy.
The height of one hundred meters corresponds to the one hundred cantos of the story. There are nine access points within the building, representing nine circles and nine hierarchies of Hell.
The 22 floors of the building reflect the number of stanzas in the poem. Even moving up the building takes one through hell, purgatory and paradise.
The building is a beautiful masterpiece.
This relatively plain, Spanish mission looking building is the Cabildo. It was used as the center of government during the colonial era. Since 1610 there has been a government building on this site, with this one dating from the late 1700s.
The Piramide de Mayo, or May Pyramid, was originally constructed in 1811 in celebration of the revolution. It was renovated in the 1860s.
During the ‘Dirty War’ of the 1970s dictatorship in Argentina, up to 30,000 people ‘disappeared’, without a trace, including many children. During this time 3 people together was considered a mass assembly, with possible arrest.
Beginning in 1977 women began together in the plaza in public defiance of the ban on public gatherings, they wore white head scarves to symbolize the diapers of the ‘lost’ children. This is memorialized in the pavement of the plaza.
Many of the children taken were given to families of those in power, and raised as their own. To this day the ‘Mothers of the Mayo Plaza’ continue to pursue to reunification of the now older adults to their rightful families.
The Casa Rosada (Pink House), is the office of the President. While it is officially the Presidential Home, in reality the president lives elsewhere in Buenos Aires.
Soldiers from the Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers march from the Palace every few hours.
The Metropolitan Cathedral is the state church for Argentina. Before he became Pope, Francis was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in this cathedral.
The interior is impressive.
The tomb of General San Martin is located in the Cathedral. As the Father of the Nation of Argentina, he is honored with guards.
Argentina at times has had a volatile history, but they seem to make sure all aspects are remembered, and the Avenida de Mayo is the best way to understand what makes up Argentina of today, by understanding their past.
One of the cultures of Buenos Aires is one that celebrates in a grand way those who have died. The best example of this is the world renown Recoleta Cemetery.
If you search for ‘worlds most impressive cemeteries’ Recoleta Cemetery will always be included in any list. It is huge, historical, ornate, impressive and at times macabre. There are so many stunning scenes that it will be broken up into 3 postings, to keep the size reasonable.
Recoleta Cemetery – final resting place for the rich and famous of Argentina.
Buenos Aires, Argentina is said to have more live theater than any other city in the world. In my 10 days there I even saw an impromptu performance on a subway, which at first I thought was a real argument.
With all of these theaters it is bound to have one or two that go out of business – like this one.
Ah but Buenos Aires is smart enough not to tear it down. Adolfo de Vincenzi purchased the theater and restored it into a bookstore called the El Ateneo! This translates in English to anthenaeum, which was a school in ancient Rome. The word is commonly used for libraries, etc.
The results were spectacular. Numerous publications, including National Geographic, have named the El Ateneo these most beautiful bookstore in the world. I agree.
In addition to the main level, two of the upper levels have books.
The cafe is located on the stage.
The old lighting controls are also located in the cafe.
No matter the angle of view, it is amazing.
In addition to housing the children’s section, the lower level has a small display detailing the history of the theater.
As with many old theaters, the ceiling has a great mural.