Things to Do in The Pampas - page 3
Housed in an ornate building on the banks of the Luján River in Tigre, the Tigre Art Museum (Museo de Arte Tigre) is known for its stunning architecture and impressive collection of Argentine paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. The museum was declared a National Historic Monument in 1979.
While the weekly San Telmo antiques fair is the most famous of the outdoor markets in Buenos Aires, the Mataderos Fair is considered to be the most authentic. Staged in and named after the Mataderos neighborhood, the fair features more than 700 vendors selling traditional Argentine arts and crafts; leather goods, silver jewelry and mate gourds are particularly popular items.
Just as important as the shopping are the other fair traditions: folk music, dancing and gauchos showing off their skill on horseback. Come hungry, as Argentine street cuisine features heavily, with specialties like choripan (chorizo sandwich), locro (a corn and meat stew), tamales and various types of empanadas on offer.
Located in the pampas of Buenos Aires Province outside the capital city, Estancia Santa Susana (Santa Susana Ranch) is one of the region’s most popular destinations for experiences a taste of traditional gaucho culture. Founded at the end of the last century by an Argentine citizen of Irish decent, the ranch encompasses 2,965 acres (1,200 hectares) of land, originally used for agricultural activities, including cattle ranching.
Visitors to Santa Susana Ranch are greeted with two Argentine specialties, piping hot empanadas and wine. After a tour of the grounds by carriage or on horseback, including a stop at the Spanish-colonial house which now contains a museum, guests are treated to a parrillada, an Argentine-style barbecue that remains a popular weekend tradition even among modern Porteños. Tango dancers and folk singers entertain during the meat-centric lunch.
In the afternoon, visitors to the ranch sit back and watch as a group of gauchos show off their impressive horseback skills.
On a corner of Plaza San Martin in the Retiro neighborhood of Buenos Aires stands one of its most iconic buildings. The Kavanagh Building (Edificio Kavanagh) was designed in 1934 and built in 1936, and at 394 feet (120 meters) it was for a time the tallest building in Latin America. The story surrounding the origins of the building is just as interested as its distinctive art deco facade.
According to local lore, a wealthy Irishwoman by the name of Corina Kavanagh commissioned the building as a form of revenge. Corina, who was not part of the Buenos Aires aristocracy, fell in love with the son of the prominent Anchorena family. The boy’s parents didn’t approve of their engagement and ended it. In response, Corina had the building put up to obstruct the view of the Anchorena church, at the time the private mausoleum of the Anchorena family, from the family’s mansion.
Plaza Italia, a small perk located in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires, was originally built in 1898 and named Plaza de los Portones, or Plaza of the Big Gates. In 1909, the city of Buenos Aires renamed it Plaza Italia after a statue of Italian general and politician Giuseppe Garibaldi was erected in the center of the plaza in 1904.
A small tile located on the northeast side of the park along Avenida Santa Fe commemorates another important moment in the history of Buenos Aires. In 1894, the city’s first electric tram departed from Plaza Italia, and the area remains a significant public transportation hub to this day.
Located in the moder Puerto Madero neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Madero Tango is a dance hall with many extras. The building offers panoramic views of the old port, and its nightly show guides guests through the evolution of tango, from its golden age to today, with a live orchestra, electronic music, and the fusion of genres.
This whitewashed colonial church, built by Franciscans in 1732, sits alongside the city’s famous Recoleta Cemetery. Buenos Aires’ elite often stage weddings here, and tourists come to see the church’s six baroque altars, including one overlaid with Incan ornamentation and engraved silver from Peru.
The Estadio Boca Juniors, locally known as La Bombonera, is the Buenos Aires home for Argentine soccer (football) team Boca Juniors. The 2-floor Passion for Boca Juniors Museum (Museo de la Pasión Boquense) is housed within the stadium and chronicles the team’s history, dating back to their modest beginnings as a neighborhood club in 1905.
Few tango venues have as illustrious a history as the Esquina Homero Manzi, built in 1917 and earning a reputation as an important cultural hub in the 1940s, where local tango musicians, dancers and poets would gather to drink, talk and perform. Today, the protected building has been beautifully restored in period style and named after one of its most famous former visitors – legendary tango lyricist Homero Manzi, who wrote his famous tango 'Sur' within its walls.
The atmospheric 300-seat restaurant now hosts one of the city’s best tango dinner shows, where guests can dine on Argentine cuisine and wine, and watch a nostalgic show of iconic tango songs and dances by talented local performers.
The Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art (Museo de Arte Moderno or MAMBA) showcases a 7,000-piece permanent collection of contemporary art largely from Argentine artists. While paintings and other more traditional mediums are represented, the museum also covers photography, graphic design, printmaking, and works of new media.
More Things to Do in The Pampas
Just outside of Buenos Aires, the town of Lujan is famous for its neo-Gothic cathedral, dedicated to Our Lady of Lujan, the patron saint of Argentina. The basilica is an architectural landmark—its twin towers stand an imposing 348 feet (106 meters) tall—as well as one of Argentina’s most visited pilgrimage sites.
Old Palermo (Palermo Viejo), the old quarter of Buenos Aires’ largest barrio, is a popular destination where you’ll stroll past grand buildings and gardens. Drop into trendy cafés and fashion boutiques on Plaza Serrano, or unwind in the area’s many parks clustered around Avenue del Libertador.
Located in a quiet corner of Recoleta, the Argentine National Library is the largest library in the country and one of the most important in South America. In a city like Buenos Aires, famous for its belle epoch architecture, the National Library stands out as one of the best examples of contemporary architecture in the country.
The Brutalist structure was the work of architect Clorindo Testa, winner of a design contest staged in the early 1960s. Construction of the library wouldn’t begin until a decade later, and it wasn’t until 1992 that the completed library was inaugurated.
Visitors access the public library through a small, grassy reading garden. Inside, the collection is available to the public. The view from the top floor of the library is worth a look, and there are often special exhibitions on display within the building.
An atmospheric tango venue in the heart of tango legend Carlos Gardel’s neighborhood, Catulo Tango treats guests to an intimate tango experience. With 10 costumed dancers taking to the stage, accompanied by live musicians and tango singers—the performance is a fitting tribute to the city’s tango legacy.
San Ignacio de Loyola Church(St. Ignatius Church) began as a small adobe church built by the Jesuits in 1675. The structure as it stands today, located in the Montserrat neighborhood, was built between 1710 and 1734, making it the oldest colonial church in Buenos Aires.
San Ignacio de Loyola briefly served as the city cathedral after the Jesuits were expelled in the late eighteenth century. During the social unrest of 1955, this church, along with numerous others in the city, were burned by Peronist mobs.
The church interior required significant renovation, but the facade remained relatively unscathed. The church is immediately recognizable by its Baroque facade fronting Bolivar Street. Within the church, visitors will find several paintings and pieces of furniture dating back to the eighteenth century. Most notable is the canvas of San Ignacio de Loyola, made in 1767.
This art museum in Puerto Madero displays works from the collection of the late cement heiress and socialite Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat. Argentina’s wealthiest woman was closely involved in the design of the largely concrete building that now houses works by Argentine and international artists.
Founded in 1892 and moved to Tigre in the 1940s as the collection grew, Buenos Aires’ National Naval Museum (Museo Naval de la Nacion) occupies a former maritime workshop on the banks of the Luján River.
The collection of some 4,000 pieces, divided among six different rooms, tells the story of Argentina’s maritime and naval history through scale models, maritime art, navigational charts, weaponry, biological specimens, nautical instruments, uniforms and personal items. A fascinating highlight includes miniature recreations of living spaces aboard various ships. Aviation buffs will appreciate the retired planes now displayed on the grounds, including that of a North American AT-6 “Texan” from 1939.
The Palais de Glace, French for “ice palace,” was built in the early 20th century as an ice skating rink and social club catering to the city’s high society at the time. As the popularity of ice skating waned, tango quickly became the new trend, and the circular building was converted into an oak-floored dance hall, where some of the most important orchestras of the time performed.
Today, the Belle Époch building in the Recoleta neighborhood houses an always-changing selection of cultural, historical, musical and artistic exhibitions, as well as the National Visual Arts Exhibition (Salon Nacional de Artes Visuales). The building has been listed as a National Historic Monument since 2004.
Flanking the borders of Palermo and Recoleta in northern Buenos Aires, the area known as Barrio Norte is one of Buenos Aires’ most affluent residential districts. Travelers flock to this neighborhood to browse the shops, stroll around the Japanese Gardens, sip cocktails with the locals, and visit the Evita Museum.
A burgeoning foodie hot spot, the lively barrio of Villa Crespo has become a fashionable haunt for the city’s young and hip. The district is most notable for its array of bars and eateries—just as chic yet more affordable than those in neighboring Palermo to the northeast—which make it an atmospheric option for an evening out in Buenos Aires.
Don Silvano Ranch (Estancia Don Silvano) sits on the pampas outside the Argentine capital. A day trip to this ranch gives visitors a glimpse into the history, heritage, and traditions of Argentina’s cowboys, or gauchos, who worked as cattle herders and have become famous for their impressive skills on horseback.
In the 1880s shortly after Buenos Aires became the new capital of Argentina, the town of La Plata was founded as the capital of Buenos Aires Province. Argentine architect and urban planner Pedro Benoit planned the layout of the city — one of the first completely planned cities in South America — to include a large park at the center with eight boulevards radiating out in all directions. La Plata is home to the Universidad Nacional de La Plata (75,000 students) which lends the city a distinctly college town vibe.
The city’s plazas, tree-lined boulevards and somewhat confusing intersections are reminiscent of Buenos Aires, but in miniature. At the center of it all is Plaza Moreno with its towering neo-Gothic cathedral. Also of interest is the Museo de La Plata, ranked among the best natural history museums in Argentina.
In 1967 Dr. Salvador Kibrick, a prominent member of the Argentine Israeli Congregation, donated his personal collection of Torahs, paintings, coins, siddur, ceremonial items and religious art to start the Jewish Museum of Buenos Aires (El Museo Judío de Buenos Aires). This museum, known locally as the Museo Kibrick in honor of its founder, is housed beside Argentina’s largest and oldest synagogue.
Since its founding, many other works have been added to the collection, including manuscripts by Albert Gerchunoff and Samuel Eichelbaum and letters of Albert Einstein and Martin Buber. Special exhibits recount the history of Judaism in Argentina, including the role of Jewish agricultural colonies in the rural parts of the country.
Composing part of the border between Argentina and Uruguay, this 180-mile (290-km) long estuary is formed by the confluence of the Uruguay and Paraná Rivers. After multiple explorations by various Spanish navigators, the waterway came to be known as the Rio de la Plata (River of Silver) for the promise of riches thought to lie upstream.
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