Plaza de Mayo
Starting from the 1810 revolution that led to independence, the Plaza de Mayo has been a focal point of political life in Argentina. Several of the city’s major landmarks are located around the Plaza including the Cabildo; the city council during the colonial era. Located in the center of the Plaza de Mayo is The May Pyramid, the oldest national monument in Buenos Aires. The plaza is also the square where the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo have congregated with signs and pictures of desaparecidos, their children, who were subject to forced disappearance by the military junta in the 1970s.
Recoleta Cemetery isn’t just an ordinary cemetery. It’s where the elite of Buenos Aires and Argentina are buried, including the country’s former presidents, Eva Peron and even one of Napoleon’s granddaughters. Established in 1822, it contains more than 4,500 above-ground vaults, of which 94 have been declared national historical monuments. The cemetery is a good place to view fantastic marble mausoleums and best statuary, sculpted by notable artists. The BBC called it one of the best cemeteries in the world while CNN ranked it among the world’s 10 prettiest cemeteries.
Caminito, which translates as “little street,” wasn’t always a street. It was originally a stream; when the water dried up, railroad tracks were built on the dry bed. When the tracks were removed, it became a landfill. Today it is considered one of Buenos Aires’ most colorful streets. Located in the neighborhood of La Boca, the street is a good place to watch artists at work and view their completed works. It’s also known for inspiring Juan de Dios Filiberto to write his famous tango, “Caminito.” Several museums also are located along the street.
Travelers who are in Buenos Aires on a Sunday won’t want to miss the market at Plaza Dorrego, especially if they’re in the market for antiques and curios. The Plaza Dorrego is one of the oldest public squares in Buenos Aires, getting its start as a market in the 18th century when farmers filled wagons with produce to sell to locals on Sundays. The present antiques market started in the early 1970s; visitors who can’t make the Sunday market might enjoy the plaza’s surrounding area, as San Telmo is the capital’s antique district. Tired shoppers can rest at an outdoor café and watch tango dancers perform or even take a few lessons themselves.
Travelers who collect dining experiences may want to visit Café Tortoni, Argentina’s oldest and most famous café. Started by a Frenchman in 1858 who modeled it after a Parisian café, the Tortoni remains a popular place to enjoy coffee or snacks with friends as well as hobnob with writers, painters and other artists. It’s also a good place to see the tango performed on stage by professional dancers. Located on Avenida de Mayo, the Cafe Tortoni entices the hungry with sandwiches, steaks and desserts that look too good to eat.