[Visited: September 2013 and several times before]
A strong, chilly wind was blowing through the streets of Buenos Aires as I walked south to the Plaza de Mayo. I had been to the city many times before, had crossed the square, but for some reason, never really explored it. Perhaps I always thought it was too touristy? In any case, I was about to do what first-timers to the Argentinian capital normally do: visit the Plaza de Mayo, or May Square. For my generation, the square is almost synonymous with the famous Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who have assembled here every Thursday since 1977 to protest the disappearance of their children during the Dirty War of Argentina. They still do so, and you can find their symbol on the tiles around the Pirámide monument right at the heart of the square. My visit was not on a Thursday, though, so I was not able to see the mothers demonstrate.
In fact, the square, which is named after the month in 1810 which saw a revolution that ultimately led to independence from Spain. The square itself is much older: when the Spanish founded the city in 1580, they did what they always do when founding a city: establish a central square. Even though the location of the square is by no means central anymore in the enormous metropole that Buenos Aires has become, the Plaza de Mayo still claims many buildings of importance to the city. There is the oldest monument of Buenos Aires, the Pirámide de Mayo, which rather is a white-washed obelisk right in the middle of the square that was erected to commemorate one year of independence of Argentina from Spain in 1811. When i visited, I found a camp with war veterans, asking for attention to the fallen and the former soldiers of the Malvinas or Falklands War in 1982.
On the eastern side of the Plaza de Mayo, you can find a small museum, several buildings with grand architectural design, as well as the metropolitan cathedral of Buenos Airea. Unfortunately, the facade of the latter was under reconstruction during my visit, but the inside was well worth a visit. Walking eastwards, I passed some more imposing buildings, housing banks. Dividing the central part from the east, is a fence full of political slogans. Then, several fountains embellish the Plaza de Mayo. From here, the famous Casa Rosada can be admired in full beauty. Visiting in the afternoon means the sun makes the pink of this office of the president of Argentina blazes from its facade. The statue of General Manuel Belgrano, under a tall Argentinian flag, adds to the classy appearance of this iconic building from which former president Perón held his famous speech, and which was the scene of other historical moments in the national history. I walked around the Casa Rosada, leaving the Plaza de Mayo, to enter it on the other side. The light was even better now, and I sat on a bench to see the sun set over the Plaza de Mayo.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Plaza de Mayo (Argentina). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Plaza de Mayo. Read more about this site.