The Buenos Aires Cabildo on Plaza de Mayo
9 de Julio Avenue and Obelisk of Buenos Aires
La City, financial district of Buenos Aires
Corrientes Avenue, the "Broadway" of Buenos Aires
Galerías Pacífico shopping centre in Retiro
Plaza de Mayo and Casa Rosada
Wonderful "Teatro Colón"
Green Square Plaza San Martin
Avenida de Mayo and its beautiful buildings
Tower of the English in Retiro
Green Square Plaza San Martin
The pedestrian Street Reconquista in Downtown BA
9 de Julio Avenue and the Métrobus
The pedestrian Street Lavalle
|Downtown Buenos Aires is not an official district of the city but the grouping of the three more central districts which are San Nicolás, Retiro and Monserrat (sometimes written Montserrat).
San Nicolás is one of the districts that shares most of the city and national government structure, and is home of the business district's financial center. It's seldom referred to as San Nicolás, but usually as El Centro ("City Centre"), and the part east of the 9 de Julio Avenue is called Microcentro. With major streets such as Avenida 9 de Julio, Avenida Corrientes passing through it, it is a constantly animated neighborhood and an ideal location for visitors to be near to the main historical spots of the Argentinean capital. Florida Street, most of which is in San Nicolás, is the city's best-known pedestrianized street, where visitors can do window shopping and buy clothes and other usual city goods. Many tourists came here, so it's well catered for tourists, though it's not an exact representation of the living area for the average citizens.
The roots of San Nicolàs can be traced back as far as 1733 when Domingo de Acasusso commissioned a chapel on the corner of the streets now known as Carlos Pelligrini and Corrientes, the place where the famous Obelisk stands today. In 1769, the chapel was rebuilt by Royal Decree when the city was split into six parishes, San Nicolàs being one of them. Due to its geographical location, San Nicolàs is one of the oldest barrios in Buenos Aires and its namesake chapel was the place where the Argentine flag was first raised in 1812.
During its early years, San Nicolàs was of great interest to the British who opened a consulate in 1794 that later became the city’s first modern bank (1822), and the England Merchant’s Society in 1810. With relations growing strong with the British Empire, then city governor Juan Manuel de Rosas gave land for the building of an Anglican Cathedral on 25 de Mayo Street.
The growing importance of the area as a financial center was highlighted by the 1854 establishment of the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange. San Nicolás remains the financial center of Argentina, something underscored by the presence of the Central Bank and the National Bank, Argentina's largest.
At the turn of the 20th century, Plaza Lavalle on the west side of the barrio was utilized for military exercises and known as Plaza de Armas. Today, the city courthouse (Tribunales) stands on these grounds facing the Colon Theatre, one of many theatres to set up home in the area. The construction of Corrientes and 9 de Julio Avenues in the 1930s further modernized San Nicolás, which had hitherto been limited in its development by its colonial grid of narrow streets.
San Nicolàs is an exceptional blend of significant history, grand architecture, business activity and entertainment. It is an interesting barrio to explore with your able feet and houses many of the most recognized streets in the city. There is never a shortage of things to see and do in San Nicolàs and, during your stay, you are guaranteed to pass through its streets on a regular basis.
Retiro was once known for being one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires and is home to many of the city’s five star hotels. Today, amongst its grandeur, it is recognized as being the busiest overland transportation hub. Local and long distance rail service heading to the north originate from Estación Retiro (Retiro Terminal Station), and Retiro bus station is the city's main long-distance bus terminal. This area is always teeming with commuters and traffic on weekdays.
The barrio takes its name from the Casa de Retiro, which was built by Governor Agustin de Roble at the intersection of Arenales and Maipu streets at the beginning of the 18th century. At the same location was the hermit dwelling of San Sebastian, said to date back to 1608. Shortly after its construction, Casa de Retiro was sold to the South Sea company and served as a home for the first slaves to arrive in the city.
The first known development of Retiro began in 1800 with the construction of Plaza de Toros, a bullring whose outline is still visible in Plaza San Martin. During the English invasion, this area witnessed the scene of a significant battle, after which it was given the name of Campo de Gloria (Field of Glory). This was also where General Jose de San Martin gave orders to his grenadiers and the bullring eventually became the general’s barracks and training ground. The modern-day Plaza San Martín features an equestrian statue honoring the hero of the Argentine War of Independence, as well as a memorial for the dead in the 1982 Falklands War.
These days, like Recoleta, Retiro is famed for its wealth which is noticeable in the wide leafy boulevards such as Avenida del Libertador and Avenida 9 de Julio. Furthermore, the architecture of this neighborhood defines an era of splendor and finesse. Besides its grand architecture, Retiro is a great place for shopping. It is also the starting point of Florida and Avenida Santa Fe, both of which are important shopping streets. Retiro is one of the nicest in the city for walking and offers some fantastic photo opportunities.
Montserrat is located south of San Nicolás. The section of the Montserrat ward within the business district includes some of the most important buildings in Argentine Government and history, and was the site of the Buenos Aires Cabildo, the colonial town hall.
Monserrat is a barrio measuring only 2.2-sq-km and is squeezed between San Nicolas, Puerto Madero, San Telmo and Balvanera. Although only officially recognized as a barrio in 1972, the area in which Monserrat sits is one the oldest in the city and able to trace its roots back to colonial times. In fact, it was here on June 11th 1580 that Spanish conquistador Juan de Garay first arrived with settlers from Asuncion and Santa Fe. The first development in the barrio came with the construction of the Fort of Juan Baltazar of Austria in 1594 that would later become the government house.
At the beginning of the 17th century, Jesuits began to arrive in the area and when donated a plot of land they set about building the Iglesia de San Ignacio de Loyola. Sanctified in 1734, today the church is the oldest in existence in Buenos Aires. As the population began to grow, further religious orders arrived, the most notable of whom was the Catalan Brotherhood of the Virgin of Monserrat and it was its chapel that gave the barrio its name in 1769.
In 1810, Plaza de Mayo, the focal point of Monserrat, was the scene of a week-long revolution that triggered a war of independence against Spanish colonialism. Towards the end of the 1800s the barrio underwent vast remodeling including the building of Paseo Colon and Avenida de Mayo, two important thoroughfares. This period also saw the completion of the Casa Rosada followed by further development in the early 20th century.
Whilst always maintaining its political significance, during the 1950s Monserrat became a favored haunt of bohemians, artists and the tango community due to the cheap rents. Its rich architectural history and quiet, narrow streets have, as in neighboring San Telmo, helped lead to renewed tourist interest in Montserrat since around 1990.
With its historical significance, range of watering holes and eateries, and a curious political-business-bohemian atmosphere, Monserrat showcases many of the things that make Buenos Aires such a fascinating city.
Galerías pacifico: (Address: Florida & Córdoba Av. - Retiro) Open from 10 am to 9 pm everyday except Sunday when open from 12 am to 9 pm. The Beaux Arts building was designed by the architects Emilio Agrelo and Roland Le Vacher in 1889 to accommodate a shop called the Argentine Bon Marché, modelled on the Le Bon Marché in Paris. In 1896 part of the building was transformed into the first home for the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and in 1908 the British-owned Buenos Aires and Pacific railway company acquired part of the building for offices. The company's name derived from the fact that its intention was to operate a train service linking Buenos Aires and Valparaíso in Chile, thereby giving access to the Pacific Ocean. From that time onwards the building became known as Edificio Pacífico. In 1945 the building was remodeled by architects José Aslan and Héctor Ezcurra, and the offices were separated from the rest of the building. A large central cupola was constructed and decorated with 12 frescos by artists Lino Enea Spilimbergo, Antonio Berni, Juan Carlos Castagnino, Manuel Colmeiro and Demetrio Urruchúa. These frescos, executed in 1946, are some of the most important in Buenos Aires. In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein describes how the building was used as a torture center by the military junta that ruled Argentina from 1976 through 1983. In 1989 it was declared a national historic monument.
After having been abandoned for years, the building was renovated by Juan Carlos López and Associates and re-opened in 1991 as the shopping arcade Galerías Pacífico. Four more frescos by Romulo Maccio, Josefina Robirosa, Guillermo Roux and Carlos Alonso were added to the cupola. In addition to the shopping arcade the building also contains the Jorge Luis Borges Cultural Centre and the Julio Bocca Dance Studio. Currently the mall houses many high-end stores and a large food court.
Casa rosada: (Address: Balcarce, 50 - Monserrat) The Pink House in English) is the executive mansion and office of the President of Argentina. The palatial mansion is known officially as Casa de Gobierno ("Government House"). Normally, the President lives at the Quinta de Olivos, the official residence of the President of Argentina, which is located in Olivos, Buenos Aires Province. The characteristic color of the Casa Rosada is baby pink, and is considered one of the most emblematic buildings in Buenos Aires. The building also houses a museum, which contains objects relating to former presidents of Argentina. It has been declared a National Historic Monument of Argentina.
The Casa Rosada sits at the eastern end of the Plaza de Mayo, a large square which since the 1580 foundation of Buenos Aires has been surrounded by many of the most important political institutions of the city and of Argentina. The site, originally at the shoreline of the Río de la Plata, was first occupied by the "Fort of Juan Baltazar of Austria", a structure built on the orders of the founder of Buenos Aires, Captain Juan de Garay, in 1594. Its 1713 replacement by a masonry structure (the "Castle of San Miguel") complete with turrets made the spot the effective nerve center of colonial government. Following independence, President Bernardino Rivadavia had a neoclassical portico built at the entrance in 1825, and the building remained unchanged until, in 1857, the fort was demolished in favor of a new customs building. Under the direction of British Argentine architect Edward Taylor, the Italianate structure functioned as Buenos Aires' largest building from 1859 until the 1890s.
The old fort's administrative annex, which survived the construction of Taylor's Customs House, was enlisted as the Presidential offices by Bartolomé Mitre in the 1860s and his successor, Domingo Sarmiento, who beautified the drab building with patios, gardens and wrought-iron grillwork, had the exterior painted pink reportedly in order to defuse political tensions by mixing the red and white colors of the country's opposing political parties: red was the color of the Federals, while white was the color of the Unitarians. An alternative explanation suggests that the original paint contained cow's blood to prevent damage from the effects of humidity. Sarmiento also authorized the construction of the Central Post Office next door in 1873, commissioning Swedish Argentine architect Carl Kihlberg, who designed this, one of the first of Buenos Aires' many examples of Second Empire architecture.
Presiding over an unprecedented socio-economic boom, President Julio Roca commissioned architect Enrique Aberg to replace the cramped State House with one resembling the neighboring Central Post Office in 1882. Following works to integrate the two structures, Roca had architect Francesco Tamburini build the iconic Italianate archway between the two in 1884. The resulting State House, still known as the "Pink House", was completed in 1898 following its eastward enlargement, works which resulted in the destruction of the customs house.
A Historical Museum was created in 1957 to display presidential memorabilia and selected belongings, such as sashes, batons, books, furniture, and three carriages. The remains of the former fort were partially excavated in 1991, and the uncovered structures were incorporated into the Museo del Bicentenario. Located behind the building, these works led to the rerouting of Paseo Colón Avenue, unifying the Casa Rosada with Parque Colón (Columbus Park) behind it.
Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires: Open from Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 6:45 pm, and the weekend from 9 am to 7:00 pm. (Address: Av. Rivadavia & San Martín - San Nicolás). The Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral is the main Catholic church of the city. It overlooks Plaza de Mayo and it is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. It was rebuilt several times since its humble origins in the 16th century. The present building is a mix of architectural styles, with an 18th-century nave and dome and a severe, 19th-century neoclassical façade without towers. The interior keeps precious 18th-century statues and altarpieces, as well as abundant Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque decoration.
In 1880, the remains of General José de San Martín were brought from France and placed in a mausoleum, reachable from the right aisle of the church. The mausoleum was specially designed by French sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, with marble of various colours. The black sarcophagus is guarded by three life-size female figures that represent Argentina, Chile and Peru, three of the regions freed by the General. The mausoleum also has the remains of Generals Juan Gregorio de las Heras and Tomás Guido, as well as those of the Unknown Soldier of the Independence.
Cabildo: (Address: Bolívar 65 - Monserrat). The Buenos Aires Cabildo is the public building that was used as seat of the ayuntamiento during the colonial times and the government house of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. Today the building is used as a museum.
Mayor Manuel de Frías proposed the building of the Cabildo in what is now the Plaza de Mayo on March 3rd, 1608, since the government of the city lacked such a building. Its construction financed with taxes from the port of Buenos Aires, the building was finished in 1610 but was soon found to be too small and had to be expanded. In 1682, due to lack of maintenance, the building was almost in ruins, and the construction of a new Cabildo with 2 stories and 11 arches wide was planned. Construction of the new building did not start until July 23, 1725, was suspended in 1728, and restarted in 1731. Soon construction was, however, again suspended due to lack of funds. The tower of the new Cabildo was finished in 1764, yet even by the time of the May Revolution in 1810 the Cabildo was still not completely finished. In 1880 the architect Pedro Benoit raised the tower by 10 meters and with a dome covered with glazed tiles, instead of the traditional colonial red tiles. The tower was demolished nine years later in 1889 to create space for the Avenida de Mayo avenue and the three northernmost arches of the original eleven were demolished. In 1931, to create room for the Julio A. Roca Avenue, the three southernmost arcs were removed, thereby restoring the central place of the tower, but leaving only five of the original arches. In 1940, the architect Mario Buschiazzo reconstructed the colonial features of the Cabildo using various original documents. The tower, the red tiles, the iron bars on the windows and the wooden windows and doors were all repaired.
Currently, the Cabildo hosts the National Museum of the Cabildo and the May Revolution (Museo Nacional del Cabildo y la Revolución de Mayo), in which paintings, artifacts, clothes and jewellery of the 18th century are on display. The patio of the Cabildo still has its 1835 ornamental water well. The cafe of Cabildo which is situated in the magnificent patio is an excellent place to relax.
Plaza de Mayo: (Address: flanked by Hipólito Yrigoyen, Balcarce, Rivadavia and Bolívar streets - Monserrat) The May Square is the main square of Buenos Aires. Since being the scene of the 25 May 1810 revolution that led to independence, the Plaza de Mayo has always been the focal point of political life in Buenos Aires. Its current name commemorates the May Revolution of 1810, which started the process towards the country's independence from Spain in 1816.
The modern plaza took form in 1884 when colonnade separating the Plaza de la Victoria and the Plaza del Fuerte was demolished. Its origins, however, can be traced back to Juan de Garay's foundation of Buenos Aires itself, in 1580. Newly arrived to the dusty riverbank settlement, Jesuit clergymen in 1608 secured a title to much of the 2 hectares (4.9 acres) lot, on which Garay's earlier plans for a central plaza had been abandoned. In 1661, the local governor purchased the eastern half for inclusion into the grounds of the city's new fort; this section soon became the Plaza de Armas. Following over a century of overuse and neglect, the local colonial government attempted to give a semblance of order to the plaza by having a colonnade built across it from north to south. Completed in 1804, the Romanesque structure became the plaza's market and the lot to the west of the colonnade became the Plaza de la Victoria. The area continued divided between these two plazas until 1883 and with only minor changes in landscaping, chief among them the 1811 addition of the May Pyramid, a monument put up to commemorate the newly independent "Provinces of the Rio de la Plata". That year, however, Mayor Torcuato de Alvear ordered the space modernized, resulting in the demolition of the colonnade and the creation of the modern Plaza de Mayo.
Today, Plaza de Mayo continues to be an indispensable tourist attraction for those who visit Buenos Aires. Several of the city's major landmarks are located around the Plaza: the Cabildo, the Casa Rosada, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires, the May Pyramid, the Equestrian monument to General Manuel Belgrano, the current city hall or municipalidad, and the headquarters of the Nación Bank. The Buenos Aires financial district, affectionately known as la City also lies besides the Plaza.
Avenida de Mayo: May Avenue is the main avenue of the former colonial Buenos Aires. It connects the Plaza de Mayo with Congressional Plaza, and extends 1.5 km in a west-east direction before merging into Avenida Rivadavia.
Built on an initiative by Mayor Torcuato de Alvear, work began in 1885 and was completed in 1894. The avenue is often compared with La Gran Vía in Madrid for its architecture and overhanging trees, although the Spanish avenue was built later (1910). It is also compared to those in Paris or Barcelona due to its sophisticated buildings of Art nouveau, neoclassic and eclectic styles. The avenue was named in honor of the May Revolution of 1810. The site of the assembly that touched off the revolution (the Buenos Aires Cabildo) was partially demolished in 1888 to make way for the avenue's entry into Plaza de Mayo, ironically. Juan Antonio Buschiazzo was commissioned to design a number of the buildings along the avenue after Mayor Miguel Cané enacted strict architectural zoning laws for the area facing the new thoroughfare. The recession caused by the Panic of 1890 led to delays and a rollback of many of the more ornate plans for the avenue, which was inaugurated on July 9, 1894 (the 78th anniversary of Independence).
The Avenida de Mayo was the site of the first Buenos Aires Metro stations; opened in 1913, these were the first outside the United States or Europe. The avenue itself underwent its only significant alteration in 1937, when two blocks were demolished to make way for the perpendicular Avenida 9 de Julio (then the widest in the world). Seeking to halt future demolitions along the avenue, Decree 437/97 of the National Executive Branch declared the Avenue a National Historic Site in 1997 and, as a result, the aesthetics of the buildings, billboards, and marquees could not be changed.
Palacio del Congreso de la Nación Argentina: (Address: Plaza del Congreso, Hipólito Yrigoyen, 1849 - Monserrat). Free tours from Monday to Saturday at 11 am, 1 Pm, 3 Pm and 5 pm. The Palace of the Argentine National Congress is a monumental building, seat of the Argentine National Congress, located at the western end of Avenida de Mayo (at the other end of which is the Casa Rosada). Constructed between 1898 and 1906, the palace is a National Historic Landmark.
The idea of a congressional palace was first proposed and decreed in 1895. Designed by the Italian architect Vittorio Meano and completed by Argentine architect Julio Dormal, the building was under construction between 1898 and 1906. Inaugurated that year, its aesthetic details were not completed until 1946. The quadriga atop the entrance is the work of sculptor Victor de Pol; Argentine sculptor Lola Mora graced the interior halls and exterior alike with numerous allegorical bronzes and marble statues, including those in the facade. The building was officially accepted by Congress on 12th May 1906. As time went by, the building proved too small for its purpose, and in 1974 the construction of the Annex, which now holds the Deputies' offices, was started.
Congressional Plaza, built by French Argentine urbanist Charles Thays, faces the palace. Popular among tourists since its inauguration in 1910, the plaza is also a preferred location for protesters and those who want to voice their opinion about congressional activities.
The Kilometre Zero for all Argentine National Highways is marked on a milestone at the Congressional Plaza, next to the building.
Torre Monumental and before 1982 Torre de los Ingleses: The Tower of the English is a clock tower located in the Plaza Fuerza Aérea Argentina (formerly Plaza Británica) next to the Retiro train station. The monument was a gift from the local British community to the city in commemoration of the centennial of the May Revolution of 1810. After the Falklands War in 1982, the tower was renamed Torre Monumental, though some still call it Torre de los Ingleses. Inside, a museum redraws its history.
On September 18, 1909 the Argentine National Congress passed Law N° 6368, consisting of an offer by the British residents of Buenos Aires to erect a monumental column to commemorate the centenary of the May Revolution. Although the centenary monument was initially considered to be a column it ultimately took the form of the tower. An 1910 exhibition of project proposals at the Salón del Bon Marché, today the Galerías Pacífico, resulted in the jury's award to English architect Sir Ambrose Macdonald Poynter (1867–1923), nephew of the founder of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The tower was built by Hopkins y Gardom, with materials shipped from England such as the white Portland stone and the bricks from Stonehouse Gloucestershire. The technical personnel responsible for the construction also came from England. The sudden death of King Edward VII on May 6, 1910, prompted the United Kingdom to cancel its delegation to the Centenary celebrations, and the cornerstone was not laid until November 26. Other delays that followed were due to the late vacationing of the gas company that was installed in the square in 1912 and the outbreak of World War I in 1914. The inauguration of the building took place on May 24, 1916 and was attended by the President of Argentina Victorino de la Plaza and British dignitaries led by the minister plenipotentiary Reginald Tower.
The tower is built in Palladian style, the building is decorated with symbols of the British Empire and features the thistle of Scotland, the English rose, the Welsh dragon and the Irish shamrock. The bells were designed in imitation of the ones at Westminster Abbey. The tower is topped by an octagonal copper roofed cupola. Above the entrance there are the shields of Argentina and Great Britain and the inscription “To the health of the Great Argentine people, from the British residents, May 25, 1810-1910”.
Manzana de las luces: (Address: Perú 272 - Monserrat).
The “Illuminated Block” (in English) is a historical landmark of Buenos Aires, a complex of historic buildings constructed by the Jesuits in the early 17th century. Surrounded by the streets Alsina, Moreno, Peru and Bolivar, the block was home to many of the most important and traditional educational, religious and cultural institutions of Buenos Aires.
A Jesuit mission arrived in 1608, close to the current Plaza de Mayo, where it built its first house, church and school in Argentina. As the place became dangerous, on May 25th, 1661, they moved to the block. In 1686, Jesuits started to build San Ignacio Church and School, which still maintains the oldest tower in Buenos Aires. Almost two centuries after that, in 1821, El Argos newspaper named the place “Manzana de las Luces” due to its great variety of cultural and educating institutions.
Manzana de las Luces is an important place in Argentina, since, throughout the centuries, it has been the stage for many historical moments: the Sala de Representantes (Representatives Chamber) was inside its walls from May 1st, 1822, to the end of the 19th century; Bernardino Rivadavia took the oath as President in one of its rooms; the University of Buenos Aires used one of its widest chambers as the main lecture theater of Architecture School until 1972...
Today one of its most interesting attractions is a mysterious subterranean network of tunnels that communicates each building. The block was declared a National Historic Monument, in 1942, and was (with three of the catacombs) extensively restored, in 1983.
Undoubtedly, walking around Manzana de las Luces allows visitors to relive the history of the colonial period in Buenos Aires. Thus, the City Administration organizes a complete guided tour around the buildings of this historical block during which, depending on the day and time, all the secrets hidden in the famous Manzana de las Luces may be discovered.
Museo de la ciudad: Open from Monday to Friday from 11 am to 7 pm and the weekend from 10 am to 8 pm. (Address: Defensa 223 - Monserrat). The main goal of the Museum of the city is to: compiling the history of the city of Buenos Aires, the history of its inhabitants, their uses and customs, its architecture and the experiences of those who lived and passed through Buenos Aires. Opened in 1968, the Museum occupies four buildings of high patrimonial value: La Casa de los Altos de Elorriaga (1808), la Casa de Ezcurra (1830), la Casa de los Altos de la Estrella (1894) & la Casa de los Querubines (1895)
Avenida 9 de Julio: July 9 Avenue is the widest avenue in the world. Its name honors Argentina's Independence Day, July 9th, 1816.
The avenue runs roughly 4 kilometers from the French Ambassy in the north to Constitución station in the south. The avenue has up to seven lanes in each direction and is flanked on either side by parallel streets of two lanes each. Through the centre of the avenue runs one of the city's Metrobus (Buenos Aires) (Bus rapid transit) corridors, which stretches 3 kilometers and was inaugurated in July 2013. The avenue's unusual width is because it spans an entire city block, the distance between two streets in the checkerboard pattern used in Buenos Aires. The distance between adjacent streets is roughly 110 m, greater than the distance between streets in Manhattan.
The avenue was first planned in 1888, with the name of Ayohuma; but the road was long opposed by affected landlords and residents, so work did not start until 1935. The initial phase was inaugurated on 9 July 1937 and the main stretch of the avenue was completed in the 1960s. The southern connections were completed after 1980, when the downtown portion of the tollway system was completed. Clearing the right-of-way for these intersections required massive condemnations in the Constitución area.
Crossing the avenue at street level often requires a few minutes, as all intersections have traffic lights. Under normal walking speed, it takes pedestrians normally two to three green lights to cross it. Some urban planners have submitted projects to move the central part of the avenue underground to alleviate the perceived "chasm" between the two sides of the avenue.
The main landmarks along the avenue are, north to south: French Embassy - The French government refused to submit the embassy building for demolition, and local preservationists opposed the move as well, as the building is widely hailed as an architectural masterpiece; Teatro Colón; the western end of Lavalle Street, a pedestrianized street formerly known for its many cinemas; the Obelisk and Plaza de la República; statue of Don Quixote in the intersection with Avenida de Mayo; the former Ministry of Communications building (the only building sitting on the avenue itself), at the intersection with Moreno street; Constitución station and Plaza Constitución.
Obelisco: (Address: plaza República - San Nicolás). The Obelisk of Buenos Aires is a national historic monument and icon of Buenos Aires. Located in the Plaza de la República, in the intersection of avenues Corrientes and 9 de Julio, it was built to commemorate the fourth centenary of the first foundation of the city. Its height is 67.5 meters and it has only one entrance (in its west side) and on its top there are four windows that can only be reached by a straight staircase of 206 steps.
In order to enrich the surroundings of the iconic monument, the government of the city started the project Punto Obelisco, creating a zone full of LED signs. Since the Obelisk of the city is always associated with the night and entertainment of Buenos Aires, this project creates a zone similar to Times Square in New York and Piccadilly Circus in London.
Construction began on March 20, 1936, and it was inaugurated on May 23 of the same year. It was designed by architect Alberto Prebisch (one of the main architects of the Argentine modernism who also designed the Teatro Gran Rex, in Corrientes and Suipacha) at the request of the mayor Mariano de Vedia y Mitre (appointed by President Agustín Pedro Justo).
Where the Obelisco stands, a church dedicated to St. Nicholas of Bari was previously demolished. In that church the Argentine flag was officially hoisted for the first time in Buenos Aires, 1812. That fact is noted in one of the inscriptions on the north side of the monument.
La Plaza General San Martín: (Address: In the crossroads of Florida, Alvear & Santa Fe - Retiro). San Martín Square is the main park of Retiro neighborhood.
A succession of colonial Spanish governors had their official residences built on what today is the plaza and, in 1713, the land was sold to the British South Sea Company. The South Sea Company operated their slave trade out of the former governor's residence and a fort and bullring were later built nearby. The land was the site of General John Whitelocke's 1807 defeat upon Britain's second attempt to conquer Buenos Aires, whereby the area became known as the "Field of Glory". The Revolution of 1810 brought an autonomous government to Buenos Aires, which entrusted the Mounted Grenadiers to José de San Martín and allowed him to establish his main barracks at the plaza. An 1813 resolution abolished the slave trade in the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata and the slave quarters were shuttered. Following his decisive military victories, General San Martín was forced into exile in 1824 for political reasons; but a reappraisal of his place in history led to his becoming nearly eponymous in Argentina after his death in 1850. Accordingly, French sculptor Louis-Joseph Daumas was commissioned in 1862 to create an equestrian statue of the hero of the Wars for Independence and the square was renamed in his honor in 1878, upon the hundredth anniversary of his birth.
Monumento a los Caídos en Malvinas (Monument for the fallen in the Falklands War) is located in Plaza San Martin
Following remodeling works by British architect Edward Taylor and Argentine architect José Canale, the fort, bullring and other buildings were demolished in 1883 by order of Mayor Torcuato de Alvear, converting the area into a plaza. Numerous Ombú, Linden and Floss Silk trees were planted. The same administration also shaped the Plaza de Mayo, nearby and in 1889 French urbanist Charles Thays was commissioned to give the plaza its approximate current form (among numerous other designs he left Argentina over the next twenty years). The plaza became the preferred surroundings for some of Argentina's wealthiest landowners around 1900. Three architecturally significant mansions facing the plaza surviving today were the Beaux Arts San Martín Palace (today the ceremonial annex of the Foreign Ministry), the Second Empire Paz Palace (today the Military Officers' Association) and the Neogothic Haedo Palace (today the offices of the National Parks Administration).
The park was the site in 1909 of the inaugural of both the first premier hotel in Argentina (the Plaza) and of the new National Museum of Fine Arts, for which the glass and steel pavilion used at the 1889 World's Fair in Paris was enlisted; structurally inadequate, the pavilion was demolished in 1932, however. Plaza San Martín and its surroundings acquired their current physiognomy in 1936, when Charles Thays' son, Carlos León Thays, designed the esplanade surrounding the monument and when the 33-story Art Deco Kavanagh building was completed. Though the surrounding area has since seen much of its older architecture replaced by high-rises (notably the 1975 Pirelli building), the plaza has remained timeless. Its western section was separated to make way for a rerouting of Maipú Street in 1972; but President Néstor Kirchner ordered the change reverted in 2004, in response to long-standing appeals by neighbors and friends of the park.
Teatro Colón: (Address: Tucumán 1171 - San Nicolás). It is the main opera house in Buenos Aires. It is ranked the third best opera house in the world by National Geographic, and is acoustically considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world. The other venues are Berlin's Konzerthaus, Vienna's Musikverein, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and Boston's Symphony Hall.
The present Colón replaced an original theatre which opened in 1857. Towards the end of the century it became clear that a new theatre was needed and, after a 20-year process, the present theatre opened on 25 May 1908, with Giuseppe Verdi's Aïda.
The Teatro Colón was visited by the foremost singers and opera companies of the time, who would sometimes go on to other cities including Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. After this period of huge international success, the theatre's decline became clear and plans were made for massive renovations. After an initial start of works to restore the landmark in 2005, the theatre was closed for refurbishment from October 2006 to May 2010. It re-opened on 24 May 2010.
Avenida Corrientes: Corrientes Avenue is one of the principal thoroughfares of Buenos Aires. The street is intimately tied to the tango and the Porteño sense of identity. Like the parallel avenues Santa Fe, Córdoba, and San Juan, it takes its name from one of the Provinces of Argentina.
It extends 69 blocks from Eduardo Madero Avenue in the eastern Puerto Madero neighborhood to the West and later to the Northwest, and ends at Federico Lacroze Avenue in the Chacarita neighborhood.
The part of the avenue which crosses San Nicolás district is famous for its theatres, cinemas, bookshops, restaurants and coffee-shops. Its nightlife is animated thanks to its theatres and all the shows offered in this mini “Broadway”.
Florida Street: (Spanish: Calle Florida) is an elegant shopping street. A pedestrian street since 1971, some stretches have been pedestrianized since 1913. The pedestrian section as such starts at the intersection of Perú Street and Avenida de Mayo, a block north of the Plaza de Mayo; Perú Street crosses Rivadavia Avenue, and becomes Florida Street. Florida Street runs northwards for approximately one kilometer to Plaza San Martín, in the Retiro area. It intersects Buenos Aires's other pedestrian street, Lavalle, at the heart of the former cinema district.
Florida is one of the city's leading tourist attractions. Florida Street bustles with shoppers, vendors, and office workers alike because of its proximity to the financial district. By evening, the pace relaxes as street performers flock to the area, including tango singers and dancers, living statues, and comedy acts. Its variety of retail stores, shopping arcades, and restaurants is of great interest to foreign tourists and business travelers.
The Teatro Nacional Cervantes: (Address: Corner av. Córdoba and Libertad) is the national stage and comedy theatre of Argentina. Located on Córdoba Avenue and two blocks north of Buenos Aires' renowned opera house, the Colón Theatre, the Cervantes houses three performance halls. The María Guerrero Salon is the theatre's main hall. Its 456 m2 (4,900 ft2) stage features a 12 m (39 ft) rotating circular platform and can be extended by a further 2.7 m (9 ft). The Guerrero Salon can seat 860 spectators, including 512 in the galleries. A secondary hall, the Orestes Caviglia Salon, can seat 150 and is mostly reserved for chamber music concerts. The Luisa Vehíl Salon is a multipurpose room known for its extensive gold leaf decor.
The Cervantes Theatre of Buenos Aires owes its existence, in part, to the 1897 relocation to Argentina of Spanish theatre producer María Guerrero and her company, who popularized professional stage theatre in Argentina. The Cervantes Theatre was inaugurated on September 5, 1921. A massive fire in 1961 nearly destroyed the Cervantes, a misfortune leading to the aging house's extensive modernization, including the construction of a 17-story annex. The main hall itself was rebuilt according to its original specifications and the renovated institution was reopened in 1968. Tireless advocacy on the part of Lito Cruz (one of the best-known figures in Argentine cinema and theatre) led to Congressional passage of a National Theatre Law in 1997, providing yearly subsidies for the art and for the designation of the Cervantes itself as an official entity.
Museo de arte hispanoamericano Isaac Fernández Blanco: (Address: Suipacha 1422 - Retiro). Reconverted to museum, this former neo-colonial house of 1920 presents some beautiful collector’s item of silverwares, religious paintings and antiquities.
The Café Tortoni: (Address: Avenida de Mayo 825 - Monserrat) is a coffeehouse, national historic monument of Argentina. Inaugurated in 1858 by a French immigrant whose surname was Touan, it was named Tortoni after the Parisian café of the same name located on Boulevard des Italiens. The café itself was Inspired by Fin de siècle coffee houses. Café Tortoni was selected by UCityGuides as one of the ten most beautiful cafes in the world.
The space the café currently occupies was previously the location of the Templo Escocés ("Scottish Temple"), and the Tortoni was located on the corner of Rivadavia and Esmeralda. In 1880 it moved to its present location, but had its entrance on the other side of the block in Rivadavia Street. In 1898 the entrance on Avenida de Mayo was opened, and the facade was redesigned by architect Alejandro Christophersen. At the end of the 19th-century the café was bought by another Frenchman, Celestino Curutchet.
In the basement, La Peña was inaugurated in 1926, which fomented the protection of the arts and literature until its disintegration in 1943. Among its visitors were Alfonsina Storni, Baldomero Fernández Moreno, Juana de Ibarbourou, Arthur Rubinstein, Ricardo Vines, Roberto Arlt, José Ortega y Gasset, Jorge Luis Borges, Molina Campos, and Benito Quinquela Martín. Over the years the café has been visited by many renowned people including politicians Lisandro de la Torre and Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear, popular idols Carlos Gardel and Juan Manuel Fangio, international figures like Albert Einstein, Federico García Lorca, Hillary Clinton, Robert Duvall and Juan Carlos de Borbón. Currently the basement works as stage for jazz and tango artists, and for the presentation of book and poetry contests. The café has conserved the decoration of its early years, has a library and at the back facilities to play billiards, dominoes and dice.