Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires
An introduction
by Iwan Slabber
Buenos Aires is a city that visitors come to like because of its charm and its inhabitants – Well, that’s what I read on the internet. The formerly insignificant village in the middle of the Argentine pampa’s only became really worth mentioning when South-European people migrated to the “New World’: Argentina. These newcomers brought modern ideas like equality, freedom of speech and free trade. This is also the moment when ‘homeland’ Spain had to deal with a worse economic situation, and a part of Argentina seized the moment and proclaimed independence. They protested on a random big square in the city in May, supported the revolutionary forces pleading for self-determination. A legendary, originally-named square was born: the Plaza de Mayo.

Buenos Aires becomes the capital of Argentina in 1880, which calls for a grand renovation of the city worthy of being called a capital. This is when the city of Buenos Aires received its nickname Paris of the South. The harbor Puerto Madero is currently being upgraded into the new modern centre of the city. The city keeps on growing with three to thirteen million inhabitants – depending on which city-border you use – what makes it the biggest city of South America. The city is particularly known for its big squares, broad avenues (yes, I really used that word) and its extravagant multi-storey buildings, like Pasaje Barolo and the Kavanagh.

The working class is doing best during World War II and during the presidency of Juan Perón. He was supported by his right-hand woman and anchor Eva: Evita for friends. She is known for her close ties with the people – she’s known as the Michelle Obama (or Dutch queen Maxima… Wow, on-topic!) of her time. Perhaps you know her for one of her fiery speeches, or Madonna’s depiction of her in Don’t cry for me, Argentina – on the real (!) Casa Rosada balcony.
Later in the wild, tumultuous seventies, the city fell into decay during the military dictatorship and economic downfall, the city fell into decay. The city has been crawling back up these two decades and the city is developing into a (semi) modern city
Plaza de Mayo still is the iconic (political) city centre, with the legendary Casa Rosada as most important building. On the other side, you will find the cabildo: the former city-hall. On this square, Juan Perón gave his legendary speeches to thousands of people. On Thursdays, the madres and abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo still demonstrate on the square in order to call attention to the disappearance of their sons during the Dirty War.

Working-class neighbourhoods San Telmo and La Boca, close to the harbour and the old centre, are lively neighborhoods with tangomusic flowing all day round. On top of that, La Boca is where the legendary La Bombonera stadium is based. The male part of the committee of Foreign Affairs will certainly find an open spot in the agenda to visit the stadium where Maradona, Pelusa for friends, found his fame and later his cocaine. Are you more a fine-art type of person? San Telmo is known for her old, colonial buildings, antique shops, and art. This neighborhood also houses the oldest and best known tangobars. The biggest, most exclusive night clubs can be found near the shores of the Río de la Plata and in Puerto Madero.

Are you into more unconventional sports, like polo and horse racing? You’ll find the Campo Argentino de Polo and the Hipódromo Argentina north of Palermo for all you horse-crazy people. Do you like a good book from time to time? El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a bookshop-turned theater – and according to The Guardian, it’s the second most beautiful book shop in the world. Go visit and buy a nice book, or enjoy a cup of coffee or mate on the old podium.
. There is just too much to write about – the neighborhoods, the history… Read the rest of it in the day to day blog!
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