Plaza de Mayo, a historical landmark of Buenos Aires

6:30 PM Sandra Gutrejde 0 Comments

Plaza de Mayo is as old as the city of Buenos Aires itself. Juan de Garay founded Buenos Aires city for the second time in 1580. At this time, he also decided the location of the Plaza Mayor, current Plaza de Mayo.

From then on, the Plaza the Mayo has been the scenario of all the major events in the history of Buenos Aires. Even today, it's the meeting point of all major demonstrations, political revolts, and popular festivals.

The Plaza de Mayo suffered many changes throughout the years, but the one that gave it the appearance it has today, was performed by CharlesThays. He transplanted some of the original palm trees, designed new paths and added flower beds.

At the center of the Plaza de Mayo, you can see one of the most important monuments in Buenos Aires, not because of its appearence, but for its symbolic meaning:

Piramide de Mayo (May's Pyramid):
Erected in en 1811, it was the first historical monument of Buenos Aires, and it was declared as a National Historic Monument one year later; it's a small obelisk, to which a figure representing Liberty, made by French sculptor Doubourdieu, was added during its redesign by Argentine architect and painter Prilidiano Pueyrredón in 1856, preserving the original pyramid in its interior.

Another important monument in the Plaza the Mayo is the Equestrian Statue of Manuel Belgrano:
Facing the Casa Rosada on Balcarce street, this work by French sculptor Albert Carriere-Belleuse and Argentine Manuel de Santa Coloma, depicts general Belgrano admiring the Argentine flag.

Being the heart of the city's political life, many official buildings surround this square, as well as other buildings with a great architectural value:

Casa Rosada Government House (Pink House) - Balcarce 50

The building, in its current location, has always been the national government's headquarters from 1810 to date, but the current building was finished in 1884, in a Renaissance style, with an asymmetrical facade. President Sarmiento (1868-1874) decided to paint the building of a pink color.

Above the entrance on Balcarce Street you can see the famous Evita balcony.

On 219 Hipolito Yrigoyen St., you will find find the entrance to the Museum of the Casa Rosada, which shows presidential memorabilia, and offers guided visits to the interior rooms of the governmental building in several languages.

Metropolitan Cathedral - Rivadavia and San Martín
In 1692, construction of the first cathedral was carried out on this same plot. In 1822 , the current building was finished, after a century and a half of several architectural works. This is a neoclassical building, with Greek influences, atypical for a church. The facade was made in 1822 by Próspero Catelin and Pierre Benoit, inspired in the Palais Bourbon in Paris. Though the exterior looks more like a Greek temple than a church, its interior is like a colonial Spanish church. Inside the cathedral, you can observe pictures and sculptures, mainly made by Italian artists.
You may access the mausoleum where General Jose de San Martin remains are. He has been a hero of our independence.

Cabildo (Colonial Town Hall) - Bolívar 65
This is the only building that preserves the authentic colonial style from the times of its construction. During colony times, the Cabildo was the institution which represented the local interests. Along the years, the Cabildo suffered successive architectural modifications.
In 1810, the building held the events which would give rise to the Primera Junta de Gobierno and later to the declaration of independence.
This building currently houses the Cabildo Historical Museum and Museum of the May Revolution.

Banco de la Nacion Argentina (Argentine's National Bank) - Rivadavia and 25 de Mayo
Between 1857 and 1888 this was the site of the first Teatro Colon. In 1888 the place was transformed into the headquarters of the National Bank. The present building was designed by renowned Argentine architect Alejandro Bustillo, and was built between 1937 and 1955. The most remarkable part of this building is its central Hall and its Dome, one of the largest in the world.

Banco Frances - Reconquista and Rivadavia
Inaugurated in 1929, magnificent facade in the Spanish Plateresque style.

Municipal Palace (City Governement Building) - Bolivar 1
French Academicist style building, home to the municipal government of Buenos Aires since 1856, one of the nicest buildings around the Plaza de Mayo.

Legislative Palace - Diagonal Roca and Peru
The construction of this building started in 1927. The front has columns in Corinthian style and balconies in the first floor. Surrounding all the building on the last floor, 26 sculptures recreate certain classical French models. The tower, that is 97 meters high, the most noteworthy area of the building, has 4 sundials, and holds a 30 bells German carillon.

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