Buenos Aires, the metropolis in southern America is a magnet for tourists and locals alike and by far the political, industrial and cultural center of Argentina. Also worth seeing quarters, buildings and attractions are innumerable. Therefore, here is a small overview.
Founded in 1535, the city is now home to 13 million inhabitants and stretches 60 kilometers in length and 30 kilometers in width. As a result, it is considered one of the most important cities on the entire continent. Since Argentina as a country is richer and more developed than many other Latin American countries, its capital Buenos Aires has also grown into a cosmopolitan city with many neighborhoods of already European or North American standards. The numerous shopping opportunities, beautiful tourist attractions, expensive hotels and comparatively good infrastructure offer visitors almost western standards. Nevertheless, one should of course always remain cautious when visiting the city, because even here there are dangerous corners with criminals just waiting for their opportunity. But mostly the most important sights are far away from these parts of the city.
El Caminito in the district of La Boca
The story of the origin of the colorful houses in the small street called Caminito in the neighborhood of La Boca reads very sympathetically. At first, the area was called Puntin in the 19th century, namely after the small bridge (“puente”) that crossed the river that flowed alongside the street at that time. At some point the stream dried up. A small railroad track was then built on the dusty riverbed, but it was also abandoned over time, so that individual tracks still lie fallow there even today. A short time later, this part of La Boca was considered the eyesore of the area, until the artist Benito Quintela Martín turned the sight into the opposite by simply painting the houses colorfully. Since then, the street has become popular with tourists, and has even been declared a museum street (“Calle Museo”). If you go there nowadays, you’ll be inundated with commercial overkill, from tango shows to numerous souvenir stores and one terrace restaurant after another. Still, the ambience is quite nice and definitely worth a visit. But be careful in the neighborhood, the area is not exactly the safest in Buenos Aires!
La Bombonera en La Boca
La Bombonera (“The Box of Chocolates”) is the stadium of the first division soccer team Boca Juniors in the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It is considered one of the most impressive soccer stadiums in the world. Its rectangular shape – from which its unusual nickname is derived – and the steep rise of the stands create enormous acoustics that put the fear of God into visiting teams. The stands, which rise up to just two meters from the edge of the pitch, can accommodate more than 57,000 spectators.
Reserva Ecológica de Buenos Aires
When the expressways were built on the coasts near Buenos Aires in the 1970s on an area that used to be a beach resort and was hardly usable anymore due to increasing pollution, the rubble from demolished houses was poured into the nearby Río de la Plata. Natural sedimentation deposited solid land there, creating a small nature reserve. In modern times, the small park is used by the porteños (“port dwellers,” residents of Buenos Aires) as a recreational area.
The San Telmo neighborhood
Adjacent to the large green area just mentioned is one of the rather older neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. The architecturally interesting old buildings that dominate the narrow streets of San Telmo give this beautiful neighborhood its incomparable flair. On Sundays, a huge antique market, the Feria de San Pedro Telmo, is held every week in Dorrego Square, so the adjacent small restaurants are always filled with bargain hunters and visitors.
The Plaza de Mayo with the Casa Rosada
The Plaza de Mayo is located on the city’s founding site of 1535, and along its edges are important buildings such as the Municipal Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires, where Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio was based before being elected Pope in 2013), City Hall, and the Presidential Palace called Casa Rosado because of its pink color. The square itself is characterized by a small green area and serves – when not demonstrating on it – mainly for representative and symbolic purposes.
Cementerio de Recoleta with Evita’s grave
Cemetery of La RecoletaIn the cemetery of La Recoleta lie famous Argentine personalities – from athletes and scientists to actors and presidents. The most famous tomb is the mausoleum of Eva Perón, also known as Evita, the former First Lady of Argentina, who is buried here only since 1976, 24 years after her death. The body was brought back to Argentina by Juan Perón’s third wife Isabel, after making secret stops in Milan and Madrid due to the bad situation in the country. The peculiarity of La Recoleta is that the tombs were built as stately mausoleums, so that the rich deceased could keep their splendid and magnificent appearance even after death. Nowadays, however, some of the architecturally beautiful tombs are quite dilapidated.
Congress building in Buenos Aires
Connected to the Plaza de Mayo by the Avenida de Mayo is the Plaza del Congreso, which actually consists of three squares. Besides the actual, very pompous congress building, the square also deserves its name because of the monument in the center by the Belgian sculptor Jules Lagae, which depicts two congress assemblies that eventually led to Argentina’s independence.
Narrowest house in Buenos Aires
Rather jokingly a landmark, the Casa Mínima, the narrowest house in Buenos Aires, is mentioned in many a guidebook as a highlight. Actually, it is quite unspectacular and very easy to overlook, since it is not really anything special in principle.
Other sights in Buenos Aires
Since the city is so unique and its highlights are so numerous, another article on the same topic has already appeared. In it then info on other beautiful neighborhoods like Palermo Viejo, Palermo Soho and Las Cañitas, a graffiti tour through the city, the shopping miles Florida and Lavalle, the Teatro Colón, the Obelisk of Buenos Aires and the Mercado de las Pulgas.