Buenos Aires, Argentina – The Capital City of South America


When designing their new capital city of Buenos Aires, Argentine architects took inspiration from Paris rather than Spain for the city layout design. Diagonals, grand structures, parks, and vista points all found their place within its layout.

At the center of Santiago is Plaza de Mayo. Lined with stately 19th-century buildings such as Casa Rosada (the balconied presidential palace), it serves as an impressive gathering place.

1. Plaza de Mayo

Plaza de Mayo is the city’s symbolic central square, bustling with activity since 1608 when Jesuit priests first acquired its two-hectare plot and installed an Antiguo Recova colonnaded terrace. By the early 1800s, a Government Palace and Post Office had been constructed on either side of the plaza, with its facade becoming part of what is today Casa Rosada, creating an iconic Argentinian blend of Italian Renaissance and French Neoclassical architecture.

In the 1940s and ’50s, this square became known for hosting rallies by supporters of Juan Domingo Peron’s supporters – including Eva “Evita” Duarte from her balcony at Casa Rosada – in support of their leader Juan Domingo Peron. Mass demonstrations against military dictatorships were frequently staged here – a tradition that continues today.

Opposite the President’s Palace is Catedral Metropolitano, Argentina’s primary Catholic cathedral and UNESCO World Heritage site. Additionally, its museum (Museo Historico Nacional del Cabildo) hosts an impressive collection of artifacts from indigenous tribes of Argentina.

The plaza’s enormous flag dates back to 1890 and previously housed a Carrara marble statue of Christopher Columbus made of Carrara marble from Italy. Former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner took exception and replaced it with one depicting Bolivian freedom fighter Juana Azurduy. Mothers of Plaza de Mayo first convened here during dictatorship rule (1977), demanding information regarding missing children during its practice – they have continued meeting there every Thursday since.

2. Casa Rosada

Casa Rosada, or “the Pink House,” at the heart of Buenos Aires’s historic district, serves as the official seat of the Argentinian government. Although not home to President Mauricio Macri (he now resides outside Buenos Aires in Olivos), Casa Rosada remains a home for various government agencies and is an attractive tourist attraction.

After Argentina achieved independence from Spain, the structure became a customs house overseeing imports and exports. Following President Bartolome Mitre’s selection as a government seat in 1862, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento expanded the complex further – possibly to reduce tensions between parties that identified with red and white, respectively. He painted part of it pink to try and minimize political stress between red and white parties who recognized each other through different colors such as red or white flags.

The palace is filled with ornate chambers decorated with marble busts of former Presidents. Visitors to Casa Rosada can take tours that allow them to explore its various rooms and view exhibits, stand on Juan and Evita Peron’s famous balcony for speeches, and visit the Hall of Busts featuring marble busts of Argentina’s former constitutional presidents; all this can be done without an entrance fee; however personal belongings will likely be X-rayed upon entering Casa Rosada premises.

3. Museo Nacional del Cabildo

At the corner of Del Libertador and Sarmiento Avenues is this mid-18th-century town hall building – known as Cabildo de Libertadores in Argentina’s native Spanish tongue – now a museum dedicated to Argentina’s battle for independence from Spain. Exhibits cover its development during colonial times, British invasions between 1806-1807, and independence three years later – guided tours are available.

Buenos Aires boasts an electric atmosphere more often associated with Europe than Latin America, characterized by distinctive neighborhoods based around coffeehouses or bars known as pulpers as social meeting places for this metropolitan area. Decentralization strategies such as Usina del Arte (Arts Factory), which opened its doors to visitors in 2012 in La Boca’s former power station, as well as Centro Cultural Recoleta are further reinforced through independent cultural centers offering music, dance, literature, theatre cinema, and urban culture programs.

After becoming its capital in 1880, Lima underwent an unprecedented expansion, altering the demographic structure and urban appearance in many ways. These transformations manifested through architecture, landscape design, construction practices, and transculturation formulas such as eclecticism that blended immigrants’ knowledge with local sensibility into numerous transculturation formulas that contributed to developing Latin American-specific architectural styles.

4. Plaza de la Repblica

Argentina’s capital blends colonial architecture with Latin passion and hearty cuisine. Agustina Palenque (IntM 2022) guides us around some of its key sights.

At the eastern end of Plaza de Mayo, look for a red cupola decorated with statues; this is the Argentine National Congress building since 1910 and contains eight floors housing Supreme and lower courts and accessible tours by prior arrangement.

Congressional Plaza features a water fountain featuring bronze sculptures of military and political figures from its centerpiece of General Manuel Belgrano (1810 – 1816), who became a national hero and delegate to the Primera Junta during its formation. His decisive victories during the War of Independence ensured its final liberation from Spain in 1816.

One of the world’s finest opera houses – Teatro Colon- is on the opposite side of the plaza. Established in 1908 and featuring neoclassical architecture, this majestic opera house offers breathtaking acoustics when performing. Furthermore, during summer concerts, open-air concerts can take place outside on its enormous outdoor stage; during which La Boca (Latin for “the mouth”) neighborhood became home for dancing the tango; its birthplace can also be found here with brightly painted houses; many dancers who brought international recognition were born here!

5. Plaza San Martin

Plaza San Martin in Retiro is one of Buenos Aires’s premier parks between Libertador Avenue, Maipu Street, and Leandro N Alem Avenue. Renamed in honor of Jose de San Martin after his major military victories during Argentina’s fight for independence war in 1878, now features an equestrian statue bearing his name – which makes an impressive centerpiece in the Retiro neighborhood.

In addition, the park boasts several notable buildings, such as the Beaux Arts San Martin Palace (which now serves as a ceremonial annex to the Foreign Ministry), Second Empire Paz Palace, and Neogothic Haedo Palace. Charles Thays is responsible for shaping its current physiognomy; he planted numerous ombu, linden, magnolias, rubber plants, and lily-of-the-valley trees around its square in late 19th century France.

Apart from its numerous monuments, the plaza is also an inviting space in downtown Buenos Aires, providing a tranquil haven of relaxation. Portenos and tourists often come here for respite from life’s hectic pace – reading or sipping on some mate while watching people pass. Children play there with their parents; soccer players gather casually; students, workers, or tourists seeking their first postcard back home also make appearances here. It is a popular meeting place throughout the day, especially between September and November when 350 trees (gameros, tipas jacarandas, imbues, and tilos) bloom fully! The plaza serves as a popular gathering spot throughout its daily activities, particularly between September and November when all 350 trees (Gameros, tips jacarandas ombues & tilos) bloom.

6. Plaza San Martin

The plaza is an important meeting place for locals and tourists alike, providing a respite from busy city life where people can relax by reading, sipping mate tea, or simply talking with one another. It is one of the few clean spots in town that allows everyone to feel welcome regardless of social standing, age, or personal interests.

The monument to General Jose de San Martin by Louis Joseph Daumas serves as the centerpiece of this plaza. Erected in 1862 and dedicated to him on his centenary birthday celebration in 1878, it serves as part of the Retiro neighborhood and a terminus of the famous pedestrian street Calle Florida.

Buildings and structures here serve as an invaluable testament to Argentina’s history. They display how various urban, cultural, and political ideas impacted each other during a transitional period that marked Argentina’s move from colonial rule to federal republic status. They represent modernism’s development through typologically inspired stylistic components created during the last two decades of the nineteenth century – all reflecting social and urban life in Argentina at that time – thus serving as an excellent example of eclecticism’s rise within architecture and city planning practices within Argentina itself.