Plaza San Martin Buenos Aires
The area known as Plaza San Martín or Retiro, is one of the various historical districts of the city of Buenos Aires. This plaza is located at the base of the famous Florida street (the most important pedestrian street of Buenos Aires), and it is officially within the Retiro neighborhood.
The name Retiro comes from the hermitage El Retiro, a kind of shelter for the slaves in the beginning of the 18th century. San Martín, of course, is the name of Argentina’a maximum independence hero: Don José de San Martín.
The French landscaper, Charles Thays, the creator of Palermo Gardens, designed the upper side of the Plaza, where the equestrian bronze monument, celebrates San Martín and overlooks the surrounding streets.
The European and rich architecture of this neighborhood gives Plaza San Martín a distinguished style. The fabulous palaces built in its vicinity mostly belonged to aristocratic families that settled there in the late 1800 when the yellow fever epidemic struck in Buenos Aires.
The most beautiful and important mansions lining the Plaza house at present: the Military Circle that includes the Arms Museum, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Park Commission, among others. All of them were owned by the most high-rise families.
Additionally, this magnificent park encompasses more than 350 trees. Gomeros, tipas, jacarandaes, ombues , tilos, palos borrachos, all regional species that decorate the plaza, according to Thays designs. During September and November most of them are in full bloom and their delicious and particular perfume capture the strollers.
This may be one of the reasons why porteños always choose Plaza San Martín to spend their leisure time outside, besides the park is strategically placed in the downtown vicinity. Thus, different kind of public can be seen enjoying this special atmosphere: sunbathers, readers, children, soccer players, students, and tourists. It is not unusual to see business people eating a sandwich, sitting on the benches, lying on the grass, or simply relaxing during their free time at noon.
Another important attraction is the Marriot Plaza Hotel, the most famous and chic of all ancient hotels in Buenos Aires. Many movie stars, politician and royal members stood in the Plaza Hotel of Buenos Aires. Beside the Marriot, the Kavanagh building was the tallest one in South America by the 1940´s. Behind both the Marriot and the Kavanagh, the beautiful church "The Basilica of the Santisimo Sacramento" imposes its Byzantine style among the office buildings and elegant apartments.
On the other side of the Libertador Avenue, the Retiro train station, together with the "Torre de los Ingleses" a gift from the United Kingdom which is a small replica of the Big Ben, called the Torre Monumental after Malvinas war, offer a completely different panorama. This zone is normally crowded due to many buses lines and trains from the suburbs as well as two subway lines converge in it.
Across the Retiro Station, at the bottom of the Plaza San Martín, you will be able to see the Islas Malvinas Memorial. This monument celebrates the almost 700 Argentina casualties that occurred during the South Atlantic War in 1982.
Finally, the above mentioned Florida Street, a well known pedestrian street, offers the largest shopping options. Whatever you are looking for, you will find it in Calle Florida. Galerías Pacífico , a recycled mall housed the Central Railway office of Argentina. It is nowadays one of the most elegant and exclusive shopping center in Buenos Aires.
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