Downtown Buenos Aires
Plaza de Mayo & Microcentro (downtown) is the heart of Argentina since the city of Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires was founded by Juan de Garay in this plaza in the late 1500’s. The surrounding microcentro is almost a synonym. Most important official buildings, monuments, banks, theatres, hotels and churches are encompassed in this district.
Located at walking distance from San Telmo, Plaza San Martin, Puerto Madero and Congreso, it is the place where business, cultural, artistic, official, and most popular events occur.
The government palace, known as Casa Rosada and its famous balcony overlooking Plaza de Mayo, where Evita used to address to the people are an argentine icon.
In the middle of the plaza there is a symbol of the independence, which is the Pyramid of May, built to commemorate the first independence year. It is around this pyramid that the Madres de Plaza de Mayo have claimed for the desaparecidos during the dictatorship, between 1976-1983.
In the Casa Rosada opposite side, to the north, the Cabildo, is the unique remaining building from the independence era. Its colonial style is a highlight in this context. The Cabildo houses a museum where documents, paintings and periodic exhibitions of that period are exposed. In its colonial courtyard there is a handcraft fair on Thursdays and Fridays.
The Catedral Metropolitana, at the left side of the Plaza, is a neo-classical building, similar to La Madeleine of Paris. It was finished in 1863. It is the home of the Buenos Aires Archbishop. Official ceremonies are held in this temple, like the traditional “tedeum” on independence commemoration dates, such May 25 or July 9. Our national hero, Jose de San Martis is in a mausoleum guarded by the Granaderos a Caballo.
Other magnificent buildings are in the plaza surroundings, such as The Banco de la Nacion Argentina (the first national bank), impressive construction of the mid 1900’s.
All vicinity of the Plaza is a sample of fine architecture and distinguished style of the Buenos Aires city. Some of these buildings date from the early 1800’s, such as the old pharmacy, “La Estrella”, a master piece of the old Buenos Aires, that maintains its original façade and interior wood design. Impressive old photographs are often exhibited in its windows. Just a pleasure to discover the hidden or unknown aspects of our old Buenos Aires in these original photos.
In front of this authentic pharmacy, we can visit San Francisco Covent and the chapel of San Roque that together with San Ignacio Church werepartly burnt during the dictatorship of Juan Peron in 1955. Lately, some of the destroyed pieces have been replaced, and repaired. San Ignacio, the oldest church of Buenos Aires that belonged to the Jesuit Order, dates from the 1700’s and is currently been recycled by the Buenos Aires government.
The pedestrian street, Florida, deserve a special stroll. To walk alongside this street, that runs from Plaza San Martin to the Plaza de Mayo vicinity is a must, specially to observe the top and original facades of several buildings, now modern offices or stores in the interior.
It is possible you have heard about El Bajo. This ensemble of dark streets leading to Plaza de Mayo and to the Government Palace, were mostly known for the taverns frequented by sailors and women. Nowadays, important restaurants, Irish pubs, modern and luxurious 5 stars hotels have replaced the old bad reputation bars.
Downtown Buenos Aires is a perfect blend of a crowd, romantic, developed and curious city. Should you like to know more about its large history, don’t miss a good tourist guide and follow him.
Downtown Buenos Aires Map
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