Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires: Monuments & Buildings to Sightsee

Let’s cover the monuments we must see at the famous Plaza de Mayo square when sightseeing Buenos Aires. Located in the Barrio Montserrat, Plaza de Mayo has been and is witness to Argentinean history.

The Plaza de Mayo, officially “Plaza 25 de Mayo”, in commemoration of the date of the Revolution that led to the resignation of the Spanish Viceroy and the establishment of the First Junta de Gobierno Patrio. Founded by Juan de Garay back in 1580, this square has definitely witnessed the history of Argentina. A location for mass demonstrations, right across from Argentina’s key government buildings. If you are visiting Buenos Aires, you will want to walk around and check out the following buildings and monuments.

The Casa Rosada - the equivalent to the White House in DC - situated right across from the Plaza de Mayo.

The Casa Rosada – the equivalent to the White House in DC – situated right across from the Plaza de Mayo.

Plaza de Mayo and its Buildings

The Cabildo, located in Bolivar and Av. De Mayo, right in front of the Plaza de Mayo, saw within its walls these historical events that concluded with the emancipation of the Spanish crown and the beginning of the development of a nation. The Revolution of May 1810, took place in this building where the first open town hall was held. Its construction began in 1682, and completed 200 years later. In 1940, the architect Mario Buschiazzo reconstructed the aspect of the colonial Town hall, based on diverse historical documents.

The monument to Manuel Belgrano in Plaza de Mayo

Equestrian statue of General Manuel Belgrano, off Balcarce street across from the Casa Rosada, in Plaza de Mayo.

Cabildo de Buenos Aires.

Cabildo de Buenos Aires.

The Plaza de Mayo, Hipólito Yrigoyen Avenue

The Casa Rosada, the May Pyramid or Pyramid de Mayo, and the dome of the Municipal Palace in the background seen from Hipólito Yrigoyen Avenue

Plaza de Mayo, Balcarce Street

View of the pedestrian area of ​​Balcarce Street, Casa Rosada on the right and the Argentine National Bank in the background

The Argentine National Bank

Home to the Banco Nación, the main bank of Argentina, and the official public and national bank. In this building operated the first Colón Theater or National Opera House between 1857 and 1888. Project by the architect Alejandro Bustillo, built between 1940 and 1955. This is a magnificent construction, an outstanding example of the institutional architecture of the mid-twentieth century in Argentina.

The Plaza de Mayo has been witness to Argentina's history.

The Plaza de Mayo has been witness to Argentina’s history.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires (Episcopal)

Incredible building of atypical neoclassical architecture – for a Church –  with Greco influences. The portico was made in 1822 by Prospero Catelin and Pierre Benoit, inspired by the Palais Bourbon in Paris. The remains of the Liberator General San Martin lie here with eternal flames.

The Pyramid of 1811 in Plaza de Mayo

Built to commemorate the first anniversary of the May Revolution, right at the center of the Plaza de Mayo.

Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Argentina Pizza a gastronomic journey through Buenos Aires pizza

Argentina pizza has its own identity and it differs from its italian counterpart while it conquers everybody’s palate. Accompanied by beer or moscato wine and fainá, the argentina pizza is made all over the country in various ways and gourmet flavors.

The Argentina Pizza Gastronomic Route

Among the many gastronomic routes that make up the Argentine territory, one of the most tempting is the one following the endless flavors of pizzas made, for over a century, in different parts of the country and especially in the City of Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires Pizza

Buenos Aires Pizza

The Argentina pizza circuit has multiple paths and runs across most of Argentina’s provinces, where all kinds of shops that offer this delicacy were erected in recent years.

However, for the international tourist one of the best ways to discover the ways and flavors of the pizza in Argentina, there is nothing like a gastronomic journey through the neighborhoods of the city to taste the famous Buenos Aires pizza.

It was in Buenos Aires, on the banks of the creek in the neighborhood of La Boca, where a group of Italian immigrants first kneaded pizza on Argentine soil. From Neapolitan roots, Genoese and Sicilian, experts say that over the years Buenos Aires pizza took its own identity and developed its variants to conquer sophisticated palates of all travelers visiting Argentina.

According to recent industry studies, it is estimated that the number of Buenos Aires pizza retail places has reached 650 and may, at any time, exceed the number of steak houses or grills. In fact, the average daily consumption per store is around 60 pizza units, indicating a projected figure of 39,000 pizzas daily and an annual estimate of 14 million pizzas in Buenos Aires alone!

The Origins of the classic Buenos Aires pizza

The earliest references to the traditional pizza date back to the seventeenth centuryin the city of Naples, where it began to be made out of a kind of round cake or bread topped with tomato and, over the years, it also incorporated cheese and some other ingredients and herbs.

In Argentina, it is believed that the first pizzas were prepared by Nicola Vaccarezza in 1882. Nicola was a Neapolitan immigrant who had his bakery in the neighborhood of La Boca. At that time, very low cost and basic ingredients were used to make pizza and therefore it was considered a staple for the lower classes. Ten years later, the Genoese Augustine Banchero creates the very first fugazza, using the traditional dough with onions but then he added cheese to it and it became one of the most traditional flavors of Buenos Aires pizza.

Fugazzeta a classic in Buenos Aires pizza

Fugazzeta a classic in Buenos Aires pizza

However, the proliferation of pizza places did not take place until the early ’30s, when Banchero himself opened his first pizzeria called “Banchero”, currently one of the most traditional and well known Buenos Aires pizza hangouts.

Banchero today in the neighborhood of La Boca

Banchero today in the neighborhood of La Boca

Argentina Pizza Techniques, flavors and styles

In Buenos Aires the pizza circuit allows travelers to taste and enjoy different techniques, doughs and flavors than those used for pizza in other parts of the world.

Some of the distinctive characteristics of the Argentina Pizza are: much lighter dough; different kinds of sauces with a variety of ingredients; and, cheese in abundance. Besides, one of the basic rules for Argentina Pizza is that is presented in a size that permits its division into six or eight portions and share.

One of the more traditional pizzas is made “in a mold”, whose thickness varies between 2 and 2 ½ centimeters (about one inch) as the dough is fairly leavened. Another technique for pizza-making is the “half dough”, whose height barely reaches half a centimeter (0.2 inches), and is very commonly found in bakeries and supermarkets as pre-pizza (pre-cooked dough).

But the favorite Argentine pizza is the “stone-dough pizza” that stands out as the dough is really thin, firm and crunchy. Finally, another Argentina pizza making technique is “grilled”, cooked on the grill with a fairly thin dough.

Stone-style dough pizza another Argentina pizza favorite

Stone-style dough pizza another Argentina pizza favorite

One of the typical Buenos Aires customs, that has even been the subject of books, poems and songs, is eating pizza accompanied by moscato wine – a very sweet and natural wine – and Faina, a pizza dough made out of chickpea flour. This is only available in the traditional bars and pizza places of Buenos Aires, where even the plates are made of metal.

Argentina Pizza - Fainá

Argentina Pizza – Fainá

While in most places the Argentina pizza is served whole with up to two combined flavors, there are still many places in Buenos Aires where it is served “by the slice”.

The cheapest and most common – also a favorite amongst the Buenos Aires pizza – is the “mozzarella” or cheese pizza, with tomato sauce, cheese, green olives and sometimes a little oregano.

Other popular Buenos Aires pizza varieties are: cheese and onion or fugazzeta, especially with ham, cheese, tomato, olives and peppers. The flavors combine gourmet mushrooms, meat, greens of all kinds, various cheeses, black olives, hearts of palm, egg, garlic, sausage, ham and pineapple.

We hope you enjoy your gastronomic journey through the Buenos Aires pizza!

Argentina Pizza

Argentina Pizza

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Places to visit in Argentina – Puerto Madero

There are so many places to visit in Argentina and today we will discover Puerto Madero.

Puerto Madero is a neighborhood in Buenos Aires, whose streets pay homage to outstanding women in Argentina’s history, born out of the recovery of 170 hectares of land via a project that soon became an exclusive residential, gastronomic and business hub of the City and definitely, one of the places to visit in Argentina.

Places to Visit in Argentina - Puerto Madero

Places to Visit in Argentina – Puerto Madero

Puerto Madero and its History:

By the end of the 19th century, the authorities decided to provide the city with adequate port facilities. Eduardo Madero’s proposal, which planned the location of the port in the area surrounding Plaza de Mayo, was passed by the Argentine Congress in 1882. The facilities were eventually inaugurated in 1897. And the red brick warehouses, which have become the landmark of this District, were built.

Puerto Madero Red Brick Buildings

Puerto Madero Red Brick Buildings – Courtesy CVG All rights reserved

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Costanera Avenue, one of the favorite promenades of the city dwellers and a favorite location for many famous steak houses for decades, was opened, together with the Municipal Riverside Resort. But the area was not maintained and had deteriorated and in 1989 the Government decided to rescue the old port area and integrate the city with the Rio de la Plata River. And this is how the neighborhood Puerto Madero was born.

Why is Puerto Madero one of the Places to visit in Argentina?

Besides its fantastic steak houses and worldwide renowned restaurants and night life, Puerto Madero has architectural characteristics that differentiate it from other neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.

On the sides of the water surfaces, a series of lower buildings provide equipment and life to the public walk. It offers parks open to the seafront line, parallel to each one of the docks. An architecturally interesting pedestrian bridge spans the harbor called “El Puente de la Mujer” or the Woman’s Bridge.

 

Puente de la Mujer

The Puente de la Mujer bridge

You cannot miss visiting the BUQUE MUSEO FRAGATA SARMIENTO docked at Avenida Alicia Moreau de Justo 980 – Dique 3 – Oeste (tel. 4334-9386) http://www.ara.mil.ar/pag.asp?idItem=112 or attend the ROJO TANGO SHOW at Martha Salotti 445 – Faena Hotel + Universe (tel. 5787-1636) info@rojotango.com/ – http://www.rojotango.com/

You will enjoy walking around Puerto Madero’s wide boardwalk both during the day and in the evening. The area is calm, modern and a haven from the busy Buenos Aires’ streets. There is a large choice of restaurants which makes it an easy choice for meals or a “cafecito”.

We highly recommend making Puerto Madero one of your places to visit in Argentina on your next trip!

Puerto Madero Waterfront Art

Puerto Madero Waterfront Art – Courtesy CVG – All rights reserved

Buenos Aires and the Spaniards Monument (Monumento de los Espanoles)

Spaniard's Statue - Buenos Aires - Monumento a los Españoles

Spaniard’s Statue – Buenos Aires – Monumento a los Españoles

Marble Memorial in the Palermo District in Buenos Aires – 24.5 meters high, created in marble from Carrara and brass.

In Spanish “El Monumento de los Españoles”, it got its name because it was a gift from the Spanish community. The top sculpture represents the “Republic”. It was built by sculptor Agustín Querol y Subirats.

This is one of the most beautiful monuments in Buenos Aires, not only for its magnificence, but also for its location, in the intersection of two wide boulevards: Avenue del Libertador and Avenue Sarmiento in Palermo.

Its real name is “Magna Carta and the Four Argentine Regions”, but everybody knows it as “El monumento de los Españoles” (The Monument to the Spaniards). It was donated in 1910 by the Spanish community for the centenary of the May Revolution. But the construction suffered several problems.

The first sculptor and winner of the design contest, Agustin Querol, died in 1909, and his creation had to be continued by another artist, Cipriano Folgueras, who also died shortly after.

The work was even more delayed when the Spanish ship which brought the bronze pieces sunk on March, 1916 in the Brazilian coast, and replicas had to be ordered to Spain, which were finished in 1918.

The monument was finally inaugurated on May 25, 1927. There is much more to the story of of this monument. If you are interested in knowing its secret history join us on one of our Buenos Aires Secrets Tours.

Buenos Aires Tango Tips

Clarry Smits is one of the top tango dancers and instructors in Vancouver, Canada. He also runs Tango a Media Luz, a popular Vancouver milonga that features Golden Age Buenos Aires tango every Friday night.
Clarry recently visited Buenos Aires and I asked him about his tango experience in “the Paris of South America”. He offered some wonderful Buenos Aires tango tips on milongas, tango schools, and other tango-related topics. Read them below.

Piazzolla - Tango Argentino

Piazzolla – Tango Argentino

What are your favorite Buenos Aires milongas?

My favorite milongas in Buenos Aires seem to differ every time I go there. It depends a lot on the visiting transient population at the time.
I like Niño Bien on Saturday night. A lot of the good dancers go there on a Saturday night. Friday night at Niño Bien is a posing night. A lot of well dressed beautiful ladies go there to see and be seen not necessarily to dance. It is a night for socializing. It was a puzzle to me at first until I was enlightened by a local Tanguera.
I love Sunderland. The floor always seems to move well there. The food is also very good and affordable. It is a popular haunt for a lot of the maestros. I enjoy watching them dance socially when they are not performing.
Confiteria Ideal is great for their afternoon milonga. The ambiance there is very comfortable. An older crowd. Sometimes they have live music.
Salon Canning is a must. There is always good energy. Many good dancers. Also a favorite haunt for the maestros. They also usually have a live band there which is a wonderful experience.

What are your least favorite milongas?

Every time I have been to Club Gricel it has been a zoo. Bad floorcraft, crazy dancers. But, I have friends who have been there and absolutely loved it.
Maipu 444 was also a bit odd for me. The music was good, the hosts were very friendly but they had the Argentine men on one side, women on the other thing happening. I don’t find that very social at all. It is their way. It is not my way.

What’s the best Buenos Aires tango show?

I have only been to two shows so I cannot really comment. I am not that interested in tango shows. I saw the show at El Viejo Almacen which I enjoyed. But the dinner before was awful. The other show was the one by Carlos Copes. Again, I enjoyed the show but the food wasn’t that great. I found the shows to be designed for the tourists. So they were expensive.

Who are your favorite tango performers?

I like Gustavo Naveira and Giselle-Ann, Chicho Frumboli and Juana Sepulveda, Sebastian Arce and Mariana Montes, Pablo Inza, Carlos Gavito, Hugo Patyn, Miriam Larici, Geraldine Rojas, Cecilia Gonzales, Milena Plebs, Mora Godoy…  my list is endless, but those are the top ones for me. I prefer tangueros to tango performers. Tango performances can be pulled off by any good jazz dancer. Tango requires soul and passion and an intimate one on one connection.
I like lots of Apilado style dancers who are not performers. They are not necessarily Milongueros. Milonguero is not a style. It is a way of life. The “Milonguero Style” was something created for the USA market. Most of the Milongueros dance Apilado. Dancers who dance with their heart driven by an emotion created by the music. Puppy Castello, Ricardo Vidort, El Chino Perico, Pepito Avellaneda, Alberto Dasseiu. Lots more. Some here, some passed away.

What’s the best Buenos Aires tango school? Who are the best instructors?

I like DNI for more advanced nuevo style tango. The old studio was small and crowded their new studio is great. Run by Pablo Villaraza and Dana Frigoli. Also a great place to buy shoes.
I also like Tango Brujo and Escuela Argentina de Tango. I found that with Escuela Argentina de Tango it is not uncommon that the instructors you hoped to work with who are listed in the schedule are either late or miss their class completely. This is annoying at times.
As for instructors, all of those mentioned above as favorite performers. If you can get them and in no particular order: Natasha Probej, Soledad Larratapia,  (followers techniques), Pablo Villaraza and Dana Frigoli, Martin Gutierrez, Matias Facio.

Where is the best place to buy tango shoes in Buenos Aires?

DNI for good men’s shoes and Neo shoes makes comfortable shoes for tangueras. Also Tango Brujo and Fabio for ladies and mens shoes.

Any other tips for tango dancers planning their first trip to BA?

Not everywhere takes Visa or US$.
You can only take out $100 per time from the ATM’s and have to pay about $3 to $5 each time.
US$ can only be exchanged at approved Money Exchange offices. Some banks will only do it if you are a customer. Of course you can get it on the street but caveat emptor.

Source: BA Tips