A Tale of Three Cities: Buenos Aires

La Plata is a fairly big city as the capital of the Province of Buenos Aires (the equivalent of a state in the U.S.), but nowhere near the size of Buenos Aires, the country’s capital city. So far, I have only visited once, but in those 14 hours we covered enough ground for me to give a sizeable synopsis. The streets are slightly harder to navigate than La Plata since they are named for important dates, people, and other countries, but it does make giving or receiving directions more amusing. Should someone ask how to get to Honduras while in Buenos Aires, you will now know that this person is not hopelessly lost. On the Sunday that we went as a William and Mary group, the city streets were bustling, especially in the plazas packed tightly with street vendors, tango dancers, and lively people. Much like the United States, Argentina is a country of immigrants, and the physical manifestations of its roots and history stand tall in the form of architecture. La Boca, located in the south eastern part of Buenos Aires, was a typical destination for new immigrants and therefore was one of the more humble areas. For this reason, many families could not afford to buy enough paint to cover their houses at one time and would pick up where they left off with another color when they acquired more paint, leading to the vivid multi-colored buildings that line the streets today. As a Catholic country, there are an abundance of historic Cathedrals demonstrating the many European influences on the country, from Spanish to Italian to Greek. Other buildings, such as La Casa Rosada, embody not only the influence of founding cultures, but also Argentine history itself. Created as a Spanish fort in the beginning of Argentina’s colonial history, the modern-day Casa Rosada is the capital building, and as such, has seen many of the country’s most important events. From political coups to historic protests such as Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo, this building and its surrounding plaza hold some of the most sensitive and memorable stories of Argentina’s past.

Special thanks to our tour guide Nacho who provided all information about the architectural history of the city.

La Boca, Buenos Aires

La Boca, Buenos Aires

Kim, Evan, Josh, Lathem, and Nacho walking around Plaza de Mayo

Kim, Evan, Josh, Lathem, and Nacho walking around Plaza de Mayo

Me, Evan, Lathem, Josh, and Kim in front of La Casa Rosada

Me, Evan, Lathem, Josh, and Kim in front of La Casa Rosada

One of many murals that cover the walls of buildings around the city

One of many murals that cover the walls of buildings around the city

Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires

Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires