Buenos Aires

2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Central and South America; Cities

Buenos Aires
Panorama of the city at night.
Panorama of the city at night.
Flag of Buenos Aires
Flag
Coat of arms of Buenos Aires
Coat of arms
Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Coordinates:
C
Established 1536, 1580
Government
 -  Chief of Government Mauricio Macri
 - Senators María Eugenia Estenssoro, Samuel Cabanchik, Daniel Filmus
Area
 - City 203 km² (78.5 sq mi)
 - Land 203 km² (78.5 sq mi)
 - Metro 4,758 km² (1,837.1 sq mi)
Population (2007 est.)
 - City 3,034,161
 -  Density 14,946.6/km² (38,711.5/sq mi)
 - Metro 13,044,800
HDI (2005) 0.923 – high
Website: http://www.buenosaires.gov.ar/ (Spanish)

Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina. It is geographically located on the southern shore of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent. Greater Buenos Aires is the third largest conurbation in Latin America">Latin America, with a population of about 13 million.

After the internal conflicts of the 19th century, Buenos Aires was federalised and removed from Buenos Aires Province in 1880. The city limits were enlarged to include the former towns of Belgrano and Flores, which are both now neighbourhoods of the city.

Buenos Aires (English: Fair Winds or Good Air (see Names of Buenos Aires), pronounced [ˈbwe̞nɔs ˈai̯ɾɛs]) was originally named after the sanctuary of "Nostra Signora di Bonaria" ( Italian for "Our Lady of Bonaria") in Cagliari, Sardinia . In the 1994 constitution the city became autonomous, hence its formal name: Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, in English, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. See Names of Buenos Aires.

People from Buenos Aires are called porteños (people of the port).

History

First Settlement

Juan de Garay, founder of Buenos Aires.
Juan de Garay, founder of Buenos Aires.
Depiction of the founding of Buenos Aires, 1580.
Depiction of the founding of Buenos Aires, 1580.
Enactment of the Constitution of Buenos Aires, 1854.  From 1820 to 1880, Buenos Aires was almost a nation in itself.
Enactment of the Constitution of Buenos Aires, 1854. From 1820 to 1880, Buenos Aires was almost a nation in itself.
Florida Street, 1920.
Florida Street, 1920.
A boulevard in the business district, 1920.
A boulevard in the business district, 1920.

Seaman Juan Díaz de Solís, navigating in the name of Spain, was the first European to reach the Río de la Plata in 1516. His expedition was cut short when he was killed during an attack by the native Charrúa tribe in what is now Uruguay.

The city of Buenos Aires was first established as Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre (literally "City of Our Lady Saint Mary of the Fair Winds") on February 2, 1536 by a Spanish expedition led by Pedro de Mendoza. The city founded by Mendoza was located in what is today the San Telmo district of Buenos Aires, south of the city centre.

More attacks by the indigenous peoples forced the settlers away, and in 1541 the site was abandoned. A second (and permanent) settlement was established in 1580 by Juan de Garay, who arrived by sailing down the Paraná River from Asunción (now the capital of Paraguay).

Colonial History

From its earliest days, the success of Buenos Aires depended on trade. During most of the 17th and 18th centuries, Spain insisted that all trade to Europe pass through Lima, Peru so that taxes could be collected. This scheme frustrated the traders of Buenos Aires, and a thriving contraband industry developed. Unsurprisingly, this also instilled a deep resentment in porteños towards Spanish authorities.

Sensing these feelings, Charles III of Spain progressively eased the trade restrictions and finally declared Buenos Aires an open port in the late 1700s. The capture of Porto Bello by British forces also fueled the need to foster commerce via the Atlantic route, to the detriment of Lima-based trade. Charles's placating actions did not have the desired effect; and the porteños, some of them versed in the ideology of the French revolution, became even more desirous of independence from Spain.

During the British invasions of the Río de la Plata, British forces attacked Buenos Aires twice, in 1806 and 1807, but were repelled both times by local militias. Ultimately, on May 25, 1810, while Spain was occupied with the Peninsular War, and after a week of mostly pacific demonstrations, the criollo citizens of Buenos Aires successfully ousted the Spanish Viceroy and established a provisional government. May 25 is now celebrated as a national holiday ( May Revolution Day). Formal independence from Spain was later declared in 1816.

Historically, Buenos Aires has been Argentina's main venue for liberal and free-trade ideas, while many of the provinces, especially to the Northwest, advocated a more conservative Catholic approach to political and social issues. Much of the internal tension in Argentina's history, starting with the centralist-federalist conflicts of the 19th century, can be traced back to these contrasting views. In the months immediately following the May 25 Revolution, Buenos Aires sent a number of military envoys to the provinces with the intention of obtaining their approval. Many of these missions ended in violent clashes, and the enterprise fueled the tensions between the capital and the provinces.

In the 19th century the city was blockaded twice by naval forces: by the French from 1838 to 1840, and later by a joint Anglo-French expedition from 1845 to 1848. Both blockades failed to force the city into submission, and the foreign powers eventually desisted from their demands.

Modern History

During most of the 19th century, the political status of the city remained a sensitive subject. It was already capital of Buenos Aires Province, and between 1853 and 1860 it was the capital of the seceded State of Buenos Aires. The issue was debated more than once on the battlefield, until the matter was finally settled in 1880 when the city was federalised and became the seat of government, with its Mayor appointed by the President. The Casa Rosada became the seat of the office of the President.

In addition to the wealth generated by the fertile pampas, railroad construction in the second half of the 19th century increased the economic power of Buenos Aires as raw materials flowed into its factories; Buenos Aires became a multicultural city that ranked itself with the major European capitals. The Colón Theatre became one of the world's top opera venues. The city's main avenues were built during those years, and the dawn of the 20th century saw the construction of South America's then-tallest buildings and first underground system.

By the 1920s Buenos Aires was a favoured destination for immigrants from Europe, as well as from Argentina's provinces and neighbouring countries. The impact of the economic crisis forced many farmers and other countryside workers to relocate to the outskirts of the larger cities, resulting in the creation of the first villas miserias (shanty towns), leading to extensive social problems which contrasted sharply with Argentina's image as a country of riches. Thus, the population of Buenos Aires jumped from 1.5 million inhabitants in 1914 to 3.5 million in 1935. Deprived of political experience, in contrast with the European immigrants who brought with them socialist and anarchist ideas, these new city dwellers would provide the social base, in the next decade, for Peronism.

Corrientes Avenue. A second construction boom from 1945 to 1980 reshaped downtown and much of the city.
Corrientes Avenue. A second construction boom from 1945 to 1980 reshaped downtown and much of the city.

Buenos Aires was the cradle of Peronism: the now-mythologized demonstration of October 17, 1945 took place in Plaza de Mayo. Industrial workers of the Greater Buenos Aires industrial belt have been Peronism's main support base ever since, and Plaza de Mayo became the site for demonstrations and many of the country's political events. On June 16, 1955, a splinter faction of the Navy bombed the Plaza de Mayo area, killing 364 civilians (see Bombing of Plaza de Mayo). This was the only time the city was attacked from the air; this event was followed by a military uprising which deposed President Perón three months later (see Revolución Libertadora).

In the 1970s, the city suffered from the fighting between left-wing revolutionary movements ( Montoneros, E.R.P. and F.A.R.) and the right-wing paramilitary group Triple A, supported by Isabel Perón, who became president of Argentina in 1974 after Juan Perón's death.

The military coup of 1976, led by Jorge Rafael Videla, only escalated this conflict; the " Dirty War" resulted in 30,000 desaparecidos (people kidnapped and killed by the military during the years of the junta). The silent marches of their mothers ( Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo) are a well-known image of Argentines suffering during those times.

The dictatorship also drew up plans for a network of freeways intended to relieve the city's acute traffic gridlock. The plan, however, called for building roads through residential areas and though only three of the seven planned were put up at the time, two of the three were obtrusive above ground freeways built with no sound walls or parallel landscaping through residential neighborhoods. Efficiently built and undeniably practical, the stuctures' attendant problems, however, continue to inconvenience residents in a number of neighborhoods to this day.

Nighttime view of Puerto Madero, a district developed over the old docklands within the last decade.
Nighttime view of Puerto Madero, a district developed over the old docklands within the last decade.

The city was visited by Pope John Paul II twice: in 1982, due to the outbreak of the Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas/Guerra del Atlántico Sur), and a second visit in 1987, which gathered crowds never before seen in the city.

On March 17, 1992 a bomb exploded in the Israeli Embassy, killing 29 and injuring 242. Another explosion on July 18, 1994 destroyed a building housing several Jewish organizations, killing 85 and injuring many more.

Following a 1993 agreement, the Argentine Constitution was amended to give Buenos Aires autonomy and rescinding, among other things, the president's right to appoint the city's mayor (as had been the case since 1880). On June 30, 1996, voters in Buenos Aires chose their first elected mayor ( Chief of Government).

On December 30, 2004, a fire at the República Cromagnon nightclub killed almost 200 people, one of the greatest non-natural tragedies in Argentine history.

Government and politics

Government structure

The Municipal Legislature.
The Municipal Legislature.

The Executive of the city is held by the Chief of Government ("Jefe de Gobierno"), who is directly elected for a four-year term, together with a Deputy Chief, who presides over the 60-member Legislature.

Each member of the Legislature is elected for a four year term; half of the Legislature is renewed every two years. Elections use the D'Hondt method. The Judicial branch is composed of the Supreme Court of Justice (Tribunal Superior de Justicia), the Magistrate's Council (Consejo de la Magistratura), the Public Ministry, and other City Courts.

In legal terms, the city enjoys less autonomy than the provinces. The national Judiciary determine the autonomy of the city's Judiciary with regards to common law, while the national Executive branch controls the city’s police.

Beginning in 2007, the city has embarked on a new decentralization scheme, creating new communes (comunas) managed by a seven-person elected committee.

The Parliament of Argentina (Congreso Nacional).
The Parliament of Argentina (Congreso Nacional).

Article 61 of the 1996 Constitution of the City of Buenos Aires states that "Suffrage is free, equal, secret, universal, compulsory and non-accumulative. Resident aliens enjoy this same right, with its corresponding obligations, on equal terms with Argentine citizens registered in the district, under the terms established by law."

Recent political history

In 1996, following the 1994 reform of the Argentine Constitution, the city held its first mayoral elections under the new statutes, with the mayor's title formally changed to "Chief of Government". The winner was Fernando de la Rúa, who would later become President of Argentina for the period 1999 to 2001.

Casa Rosada, Buenos Aires city centre. The President's offices are housed here.
Casa Rosada, Buenos Aires city centre. The President's offices are housed here.

De la Rúa's successor, Aníbal Ibarra, won two popular elections, but was impeached (and ultimately deposed on March 6, 2006) as a result of the fire at the República Cromagnon nightclub. Jorge Telerman, who had been the acting mayor, was invested with the office. In the 2007 elections, Mauricio Macri won the second-round of voting over Daniel Filmus, and the office on December 9, 2007.

National representation

Buenos Aires is represented in the Argentine Senate by three senators (as of December 2007: María Eugenia Estenssoro, Samuel Cabanchik and Daniel Filmus). The people of Buenos Aires also elect 25 national deputies to the Argentine Chamber of Deputies.

Demographics

Buenos Aires inhabitants by neighbourhood
Buenos Aires inhabitants by neighbourhood
A section of Palermo, the city's largest neighborhood.  Total population density is now about 15,000/km2 (37,600/mi2).
A section of Palermo, the city's largest neighbourhood. Total population density is now about 15,000/km2 (37,600/mi2).
Population growth since 1740
Population growth since 1740

Census data

As of the census of 2001, there are 12,129,819 people residing in the city and 31 surrounding districts, making Buenos Aires home to one in three Argentines. The population density in Buenos Aires proper was 13,680 inhabitants per square kilometer (34,800 per mi2); but, only about 2,400 per km2 (6,100 per mi2) in the suburbs. The racial makeup of the city is 88.9% White, 7% Mestizo ( 2.1% Asian and 2% Black .

The population of Buenos Aires proper has hovered around 3 million since 1947, due to low birth rates and a slow migration to the suburbs. The surrounding districts have, however, expanded over five-fold (to around 9 million) since then.

The 2001 Census showed a relatively aged population, as well; with 17% under the age of fifteen and 22% over sixty, the people of Buenos Aires have an age structure similar to those in most European cities. They are, likewise, a good bit more elderly than Argentines as a whole (of whom, 28% were under 15 and 14%, over 60).

Districts

Divine bridge in the Buenos Aires Japanese Gardens, the world's largest outside Japan.
Divine bridge in the Buenos Aires Japanese Gardens, the world's largest outside Japan.

The city is divided into 48 barrios or, neighborhoods, for administrative purposes (see list at right). The division was originally based on Catholic parroquias ( parishes), but has undergone a series of changes since the 1940s. A newer scheme has divided the city into 15 comunas (communes).

Origin

The majority of porteños have European origins, with Italian and Spanish descent being the most common, from the Calabrian, Ligurian, Piedmont, Lombardy and Neapolitan regions of Italy and from the Galician, Asturian, and Basque regions of Spain

Other European origins include German, Irish, Portuguese, French, Croatian, English and Welsh. In the 1990s, there was a small wave of immigration from Romania and Ukraine There is a minority of old criollo stock, dating back to the Spanish colonial days. The Criollo and Spanish-aboriginal (mestizo) population in the city has increased mostly as a result of migration. Important Syrian-Lebanese and Armenian communities have had a significant presence in commerce and civic life since the beginning of the 20th century.

The Jewish community in Greater Buenos Aires numbers around 250,000, and is the largest in Latin America. Most are of Northern and Eastern European Ashkenazi origin, primarily Russian, German and Polish Jews, with a significant Sephardic minority, mostly made up of Syrian Jews

The Metropolitan Cathedral.
The Metropolitan Cathedral.

The first major East Asian community in Buenos Aires was the Japanese, mainly from Okinawa. Traditionally, Japanese-Argentines were noted as flower growers; in the city proper, there was a Japanese near-monopoly in dry cleaning. Later generations have branched out into all fields of economic activity. Starting in the 1970s there has been an important influx of immigration from China and Korea, the latter known mostly for small, family-owned supermarkets.

Religion

Most inhabitants are Roman Catholic, though a number of studies over the past few decades suggest that fewer than 20% are actively practicing. Buenos Aires is the seat of a Roman Catholic metropolitan archbishop (the Catholic primate of Argentina), currently Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio. There are Protestant, Catholic Ortodox, Jewish and Muslim minorities.

Geography

Satellite image of Río de la Plata
Satellite image of Río de la Plata
1888 German map of Buenos Aires.
1888 German map of Buenos Aires.

The limits of Buenos Aires proper are determined in the eastern part and north-east by the Rio de la Plata, in the southern part and southeast by the Riachuelo and to the northwest, west and Southwest by Avenida General Paz, a 24-kilometer (15 mi) long highway that separates the province of Buenos Aires from the city.

The city of Buenos Aires lies in the pampa region, except some zones like the Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve, the Boca Juniors (football) Club "sports city", Jorge Newbery Airport, the Puerto Madero neighbourhood and the main port itself; these were all built on reclaimed land along the coasts of the Rio de la Plata (the world's largest estuary).

The region was formerly crossed by different creeks and lagoons, some of which were refilled and other tubed. Among the most important creeks are: Maldonado, Vega, Medrano, Cildañez and White. In 1908 many creeks were channeled and rectified, as floods were damaging the city's infrastructure. Starting in 1919, most creeks were enclosed. Notably, the Maldonado was tubed in 1954, and currently runs below Juan B. Justo avenue.

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Climate

Rivadavia Avenue in winter.
Rivadavia Avenue in winter.

The city has a humid subtropical climate ("Cfa" by Köppen classification). The average year temperature is 17.6 °C (63.7 °F). The city gets 1,147  mm (45  in) of rainfall per year. The average high temperatures ranges from 30.4 °C (86.7 °F) in January, to 14.9 °C (58.8 °F) in Winter (1981-1990 period). Rain can be expected at any time of year and hailstorms are not unusual.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in central Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Central Observatory) was −5.4 °C (22 °F) on July 9, 1918. The highest temperature ever recorded was 43.3 °C (109.9 °F) on January 29, 1957. The last snowfall (see July 2007 Argentine winterstorm) occurred recently on July 9, 2007 when the entry of a massive polar cold snap made as a result the worst winter of Argentina in almost thirty years, where severe snowfalls and blizzards affected the country. It was the first major snowfall in the city in 89 years (since June 22, 1918).

Many locals leave Buenos Aires during the hot summer months (December, January and February) and head for seaside resorts on the Atlantic coast.

Weather averages for Buenos Aires, Argentina (1981-1990 period)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30.4 (87) 28.7 (84) 26.4 (80) 22.7 (73) 19.0 (66) 15.6 (60) 14.9 (59) 17.3 (63) 18.9 (66) 22.5 (73) 25.3 (78) 28.1 (83) 22.4 (72)
Average low °C (°F) 20.4 (69) 19.4 (67) 17.0 (63) 13.7 (57) 10.3 (51) 7.6 (46) 7.4 (45) 8.9 (48) 9.9 (50) 13.0 (55) 15.9 (61) 18.4 (65) 13.5 (56)
Precipitation mm (inches) 119 (4.69) 118 (4.65) 134 (5.28) 97 (3.82) 74 (2.91) 63 (2.48) 66 (2.6) 70 (2.76) 73 (2.87) 119 (4.69) 109 (4.29) 105 (4.13) 1,147 (45.16)
Source: The World Meteorological Organization Nov 2006
Panorama of Buenos Aires Waterfront seen from the River Plate.
Panorama of Buenos Aires Waterfront seen from the River Plate.

Economy

Buenos Aires Stock Exchange
Buenos Aires Stock Exchange
The Port of Buenos Aires.
The Port of Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires is the financial, industrial, commercial, and cultural hub of Argentina. Its port is one of the busiest in South America; navigable rivers by way of the Rio de la Plata connect the port to north-east Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. As a result it serves as the distribution hub for a vast area of the south-eastern region of the South American continent. Tax collection related to the port has caused many political problems in the past.

Measured in GDP, the economy of Greater Buenos Aires was the 13th largest economy among the world's cities in 2005 at US$245 billion in purchasing power parity, which, based on the population of that year, translates into US$19,500 per capita. The Buenos Aires Human Development Index (0.923 in 1998) is likewise high by international standards.

The city's services sector is diversified and well-developed by international standards and accounts for 78% of its economy (compared to 58% for all of Argentina's); advertising, in particular, plays a prominent role in the export of services at home and abroad. Manufacturing is, nevertheless, still prominent in the city's economy (17%) and, concentrated mainly in the southside, it benefits as much from high local purchasing power and a large local supply of skilled labor as it does from its relationship to massive agriculture and industry just outside the city limits themselves.

To the west of Buenos Aires is the Pampa Húmeda, the most productive agricultural region of Argentina (as opposed to the dry southern Pampa, mostly used for cattle farming). Meat, dairy, grain, tobacco, wool and leather products are processed or manufactured in the Buenos Aires metro area. Other leading industries are automobile manufacturing, oil refining, metalworking, machine building and the production of textiles, chemicals, clothing and beverages.

Culture

Strongly influenced by European culture, Buenos Aires is sometimes referred to as the "Paris of South America".

Buenos Aires is the site of the Teatro Colón, one of the world's greatest opera houses. It is closed for renovations until at least 2010. There are several symphony orchestras and choral societies. The city has numerous museums related to history, fine arts, modern arts, decorative arts, popular arts, sacred art, arts and crafts, theatre and popular music, as well as the preserved homes of noted art collectors, writers, composers and artists. It has many public libraries and cultural associations as well as the largest concentration of active theatres in Latin America. It has a world-famous zoo and Botanical Garden, a large number of landscaped parks and squares, as well as churches and places of worship of many denominations, many of which are architecturally noteworthy.

Language

Poet and Novelist Jorge Luis Borges, 1969; as influential to Hispanic literature as William Faulkner was to American literature.
Poet and Novelist Jorge Luis Borges, 1969; as influential to Hispanic literature as William Faulkner was to American literature.

Known as Rioplatense Spanish, Buenos Aires' Spanish (and also in other cities like Rosario and Montevideo, Uruguay) is characterised by voseo, yeísmo and aspiration of s in various contexts. It is heavily influenced by the dialects of Spanish spoken in Andalusia and Murcia. A phonetic study conducted by the Laboratory for Sensory Investigations of CONICET and the University of Toronto showed that the porteño accent is closer to the Neapolitan dialect of Italian than any other spoken language.

In the early 20th century, Argentina absorbed millions of immigrants, many of them Italians, who spoke mostly in their local dialects (mainly Neapolitan, Sicilian and Genoan). Their adoption of Spanish was gradual, creating a pidgin of Italian dialects and Spanish that was called cocoliche. Its usage declined around the 1950s.

Many Spanish immigrants were from Galicia, to the extent that Spaniards are still generically referred to in Argentina as gallegos ( Galicians). Galician language, cuisine and culture had a major presence in the city for most of the 20th century. In recent years, descendants of Galician immigrants have led a mini-boom in Celtic music (which also highlighted the Welsh traditions of Patagonia).

Yiddish was commonly heard in Buenos Aires, especially in the Balvanera garment district and in Villa Crespo until the 1960s. Korean and Chinese have become significant since the 1970s. Most of the newer immigrants learn Spanish quickly and assimilate into city life.

The Lunfardo argot originated within the prison population, and in time spread to all porteños. Lunfardo uses words from Italian dialects, from Brazilian Portuguese, from African and Caribbean languages and even from English. Lunfardo employs humorous tricks such as inverting the syllables within a word ( vesre). Today, Lunfardo is mostly heard in tango lyrics ; the slang of the younger generations has been evolving away from it. See also: Belgranodeutsch.

Tango

Tango dance
Tango dance

Tango music was born in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, notably in the brothels of the Junín y Lavalle district and in the arrabales (poorer suburbs). Its sensual dance moves were not seen as respectable until adopted by the Parisian high society in the 1920s, and then all over the world. In Buenos Aires, tango-dancing schools (known as academias) were usually men-only establishments.

Tango consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and eras of Argentina and Uruguay as well as in other locations around the world. The dance developed in response to many cultural elements, such as the crowding of the venue and even the fashions in clothing. The styles are mostly danced in either open embrace, where lead and follow connect at arms length, or close embrace, where the lead and follow connect chest-to-chest.

Early tango was known as tango criollo, or simply tango. Today, there are many tango dance styles, including Argentine Tango, Uruguayan Tango, Ballroom tango (American and International styles), Finnish tango and vintage tangos.

Cinema

The cinema first appeared in Buenos Aires in 1896. The city has been the centre of the Argentine cinema industry in Argentina for over 100 years since French camera operator Eugene Py directed the pioneering film La Bandera Argentina in 1897. Since then, over 2000 films have been directed and produced within the city, many of them referring to the city in their titles, such as Buenos Aires Plateada, and Buenos Aires a la vista. The culture of tango music has been incorporated into many films produced in the city, especially since the 1930s. Many films have starred tango performers such as Hugo del Carril, Tita Merello, Carlos Gardel and Edmundo Rivero.

Architecture

Galerías Pacífico on Florida St
Galerías Pacífico on Florida St
Modern buildings in the Buenos Aires CBD
Modern buildings in the Buenos Aires CBD
Art-deco and neoclassical syles converge at Diagonal Norte.
Art-deco and neoclassical syles converge at Diagonal Norte.

Buenos Aires architecture is characterized by its individuality and uniqueness, with elements resembling Barcelona, Paris and Madrid.

Italian and French influences increased after the declaration of independence at the beginning of the 19th century, though the academic style persisted until the first decades of the 20th century.

Attempts at renovation took place during the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, when European influences penetrated into the country, reflected by several buildings of Buenos Aires such as the Iglesia Santa Felicitas by Ernesto Bunge; the Palace of Justice, the National Congress, and the Teatro Colón, all of them by Vittorio Meano.

The simplicity of the Rioplatense baroque style can be clearly seen in Buenos Aires through the works of Italian architects such as André Blanqui and Antonio Masella, in the churches of San Ignacio, Nuestra Señora del Pilar, the Cathedral and the Cabildo.

The architecture of the second half of the 20th century continued to reproduce French neoclassic models, such as the headquarters of the Banco de la Nacion Argentina built by Alejandro Bustillo, and the Museo Hispanoamericano de Buenos Aires|Museo Hispanoamericano of Martín Noel. However, since the 1930s the influence of Le Corbusier and European rationalism consolidated in a group of young architects from the University of Tucumán, among whom Amancio Williams stands out. The construction of skyscrapers proliferated in Buenos Aires until the 1950s. Newer modern high-technology buildings by Argentine architects in the last years of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st include the Le Parc Tower by Mario Álvarez, the Torre Fortabat by Sánchez Elía and the Repsol-YPF Tower by César Pelli.

Notable residents

Symphony conductor Daniel Barenboim.
Symphony conductor Daniel Barenboim.
Novelist Ernesto Sabato.
Novelist Ernesto Sabato.
Composer Gustavo Santaolalla, twice honored with an Oscar.
Composer Gustavo Santaolalla, twice honored with an Oscar.
Film maker Francis Ford Coppola.
Film maker Francis Ford Coppola.

Buenos Aires was home to these Argentine writers:

  • Roberto Arlt
  • Leopoldo Lugones
  • Jorge Luis Borges
  • Andrés Rivera
  • Paul Groussac
  • Manuel Mujica Laínez
  • Adolfo Bioy Casares
  • Ernesto Sabato
  • Leopoldo Marechal
  • Tomas Eloy Martinez
  • Silvina Ocampo
  • Victoria Ocampo
  • Julio Cortázar
  • Manuel Puig

International figures who have lived in Buenos Aires include:

  • René Goscinny
  • Marcel Duchamp
  • Witold Gombrowicz
  • Jerry Masucci
  • Pablo Neruda
  • Rubén Darío
  • Lucas Gelardi
  • Romola Nijinska
  • Rosa Chacel
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • Eugene O' Neill
  • Federico Garcia Lorca
  • José Ortega y Gasset
  • Robert Duvall
  • Viggo Mortensen
  • Indra Devi
  • Hugo Pratt
  • Guy Williams
  • Francis Ford Coppola

Others include businesspeople Aristotle Onassis, Fritz Thyssen, John S. Reed and advertising greats Gino Boccasile and Lucien-Achille Mauzan, who was considered to be Argentina's “father of the advertising poster”. During the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, Buenos Aires provided refuge for many expatriate Spaniards, including philosopher José Ortega y Gasset and composer Manuel de Falla, who later moved to Córdoba. Luca Prodan arrived from England in the 1980s and became an icon of Argentine rock.

Musicians Daniel Barenboim, Alberto Ginastera, Gustavo Santaolalla and Martha Argerich among others, are Buenos Aires natives.

Fiction author W.E.B. Griffin spends half the year at his wife's family home in Buenos Aires and the other half in his native Pennsylvania. Cinema trailblazer Francis Ford Coppola, likewise, divides his time between San Francisco and Buenos Aires, where work on an upcoming epic has led him to establish an Argentine subsidiary of his production company, American Zoetrope.

Education

Primary education

The ubiquitous white uniform of children at public schools is a national symbol of learning.
The ubiquitous white uniform of children at public schools is a national symbol of learning.

Primary education comprises the first two EGB cycles (grades 1–6). Because of the system that was in place until 1995 (7 years of primary school plus 5 or 6 of secondary school), primary schools used to offer grades 1–7. Although most schools have already converted to teach the 8th and 9th grades, others chose to eliminate 7th grade altogether, forcing the students to complete the 3rd cycle in another institution.

Secondary education

Secondary education in Argentina is called Polimodal ("polymodal", that is, having multiple modes), since it allows the student to choose his/her orientation. Polimodal is not yet obligatory but its completion is a requirement to enter colleges across the nation. Polimodal is usually 3 years of schooling, although some schools have a fourth year.

Conversely to what happened on primary schools, most secondary schools in Argentina contained grades 8th and 9th, plus Polimodal (old secondary) but then started converting to accept also 7th grade students, thus allowing them to keep their same classmates for the whole EGB III cycle.

Main hall, University of Buenos Aires Law School.
Main hall, University of Buenos Aires Law School.

In December 2006 the Chamber of Deputies of the Argentine Congress passed a new National Education Law restoring the old system of primary followed by secondary education, making secondary education obligatory and a right, and increasing the length of compulsory education to 13 years. The government vowed to put the law in effect gradually, starting in 2007.

College education

There are many state-run, taxpayer-funded universities in Argentina, as well as a number of private universities. See University reform in Argentina and List of Argentine universities.

The University of Buenos Aires, one of the top learning institutions in South America, has produced five Nobel Prize winners and provides taxpayer-funded education for students from all around the globe.

Buenos Aires is a major centre for psychoanalysis, particularly the Lacanian school.

Tourism

Bohemian-chic San Telmo.
Bohemian-chic San Telmo.
Fishermen's Club and pier on the Rio de la Plata, actually the world's biggest estuary.
Fishermen's Club and pier on the Rio de la Plata, actually the world's biggest estuary.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism has been growing in the Argentine capital since 2002. In a survey by the travel and tourism publication Travel + Leisure Magazine in 2008, travelers voted Buenos Aires the second most desirable city to visit after Bangkok, Thailand.

The city offers a variety of cultural activities. Visitors may choose to visit a tango show, an estancia in the Province of Buenos Aires, or enjoy the traditional asado. New tourist circuits have recently evolved, devoted to famous Argentines such as Carlos Gardel, Eva Perón or Jorge Luis Borges. Due to the favourable exchange rate, its shopping centres such as Alto Palermo, Paseo Alcorta, Patio Bullrich, Abasto de Buenos Aires and Galerías Pacífico are frequently visited by tourists.

San Telmo is a frequently visited area south of city, with its cobblestoned streets and buildings from the colonial era that attest to its long history. There are churches, museums, antique shops and "Antique Fairs" ('Ferias de Antigüedades') in historic Dorrego Square, where the streets on weekends are filled with performers such as tango dancers. The city also plays host to musical festivals, the largest of which is Quilmes Rock.

Landmarks

The Obelisk.
The Obelisk.
Coffee shops on Avenida de Mayo.
Coffee shops on Avenida de Mayo.
  • The Obelisk (Is one of the main icons of the city, and a venue for various cultural activities and other events)
  • Casa Rosada (Is the official seat of the executive branch of the government of Argentina)
  • Avenida Corrientes (Is one of the principal thoroughfares of the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. The street is intimately tied to the Tango and Porteño culture.)
  • Cabildo (Is the public building in Buenos Aires that was used as the government house during the colonial times)
  • Florida Street (Is an elegant street at Buenos Aires city centre,)
  • Nueve de Julio Avenue (Its name honours Argentina's Independence Day. It was the widest avenue in the world)
  • Metropolitan Cathedral (It is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires)
  • Teatro Colón (Opened in 1908 it is one of the world's major opera houses)
  • Plaza de Mayo (Is the main square in Buenos Aires, site of many protests and historical events)
  • San Telmo (Is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires and also one of the best preserved areas and is characterized with a number of European style buildings)
  • 9 de Julio (is the widest street street in the world).
  • Palermo (A hip and trendy neighbourhood of Buenos Aires filled with restaurants, shops and clubs called boliches))
  • Avenida de Mayo (The avenue is often compared with those of Madrid, Barcelona and Paris due of its sophisticated buildings of art Nouveau, neoclassic and eclectic styles)
  • National Library (is the largest library in Argentina and one of the most important in the Americas)
  • La Boca (It retains a strong European flavour, with many of its early European settlers being from Italy and Spain)
  • Caminito
  • Cementerio de la Recoleta (The Cemetery includes graves of some of the most influential and important persons of Argentina, including several presidents, scientists, and wealthy characters)
  • National Congress (Argentine Parliament)

Transportation

Street network

Autopista Panamericana in Buenos Aires
Autopista Panamericana in Buenos Aires
Taxi in Buenos Aires
Taxi in Buenos Aires
Bus Line 114
Bus Line 114

Buenos Aires is based on a rectangular grid pattern, save for natural barriers or the relatively rare developments explicitly designed otherwise (notably, the neighbourhood of Parque Chas). The rectangular grid provides for square blocks named manzanas, with a length of roughly 110 meters. Pedestrian zones in the city centre are partially car-free and always bustling, access provided by bus and the Metro (subte) Line C. Buenos Aires, for the most part, is a very walkable city and the majority of residents in Buenos Aires use public transport.

Two diagonal avenues in the city centre alleviate traffic and provide better access to Plaza de Mayo. Most avenues running into and out of the city centre are one-way and feature six or more lanes, with computer-controlled green waves that ensure fast traffic outside of peak times.

Main avenues of the city include the 140-metre (459 ft)-wide 9 de Julio Avenue, the over-35 km (22 mi)-long Rivadavia Avenue, and Corrientes Avenue, the main thoroughfare of culture and entertainment.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the Avenida General Paz beltway that surrounds the city along its border with Buenos Aires Province and freeways leading to the new international airport and to the northern suburbs heralded a new era in Buenos Aires traffic. Encouraged by pro-automaker policies pursued towards the end of Pres. Peron's term (1955) and during Pres. Arturo Frondizi's term (1958-62) in particular, auto sales nationally leapt from an average of 30,000 during the 1920s through the '50s to about 250,000 in the 1970s and over 560,000 in 2007 and today, 1.7 million vehicles (nearly one-fifth of Argentina's total) are registered in Buenos Aires.

Toll motorways opened in the late 1970s by then-mayor Osvaldo Cacciatore provided fast access to the city centre and are today used by over a million vehicles, daily. Cacciatore likewise had financial district streets (roughly one square kilometre in area) closed to private cars during daytime. Most major avenues are, however, gridlocked at peak hours. Following the economic mini-boom of the 1990s, record numbers started commuting by car and congestion increased, as did the time-honored Argentine custom of taking weekends off in the countryside.

Buses

There are over 150 city bus lines called Colectivos, each one managed by an individual company which makes them very effective as they compete with each other and attracts exceptionally high use with virtually no public financial support, their frequency makes them equal to the underground systems of other cities, but on wheels, however, buses cover a far wider area than the underground system. Colectivos in Buenos Aires do not have a fixed timetable, but run from 4 to several per hour, depending on the bus line and time of the day. With very cheap tickets and extensive routes, usually no further than four blocks from commuters' residences, the colectivo is by far the preferred mode of transport around the city. Bus line operators must comply with city regulations on security and pollution control.

Taxi

A fleet of 40,000 black-and-yellow taxis ply the streets at all hours. License controls are not enforced rigorously. There have been numerous reports of organized crime controlling the access of taxis to the city airports and other major destinations . Radio-link companies provide reliable and safe service; many such companies provide incentives for frequent users. Low-fare limo services, known as remises, have become popular in recent years.

Metro

Metro entrance on Avenida de Mayo
Metro entrance on Avenida de Mayo
The Line D runs from the city centre district to the northern neighborhoods of Palermo and Belgrano
The Line D runs from the city centre district to the northern neighborhoods of Palermo and Belgrano

The Buenos Aires Metro (locally known as subte, from "subterráneo" meaning underground or metro) is a high yield system providing access to various parts of the city. Opened in 1913, it is the oldest underground system in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Spanish-speaking world. The system has six lines, named by letters (A to E, and H) There are 74 stations, and 52.3 km (32 mi) of track. An expansion program is underway to extend existing lines into the outer neighborhoods and add a new north-south line. Track length is expected to reach 89 km (55 mi) by the year 2011.

Recently inaugurated underground station
Recently inaugurated underground station
Callao Station on Line B
Callao Station on Line B

Daily ridership is 1.3 million and on the increase. Fares are cheap and are in fact cheaper than the city buses. While tokens have been used in the past, at present, riders purchase either single-use or multi-use cards (called SubtePass) with a magnetic strip or use Contactless cards called SubteCard which can be rechargeable with cash or linked to a bank account for automatic debit.

The Buenos Aires Metro has six lines which also has links to the metropolitan train network.

  • Line A - Light Blue: Subte Line A is the oldest line of the Buenos Aires Metro. This historical line runs from Plaza de Mayo to Primera Junta, and is scheduled to be extended towards Nazca St.
  • Line B - Red: Line B of the Buenos Aires Metro runs from Leandro N. Alem Station to Los Incas (projected to Villa Urquiza).
  • Line C - Blue: The Line C of the Buenos Aires Metro runs from Retiro to Constitución terminus, opened on 9 November 1934, 4.4 km.
  • Line D - Green: Subte Line D of the Buenos Aires Metro runs from Catedral to Congreso de Tucumán. The D Line opened on 3 June 1937 and has been expanded to the north several times. The line is currently 10.41 km long and runs approximately parallel to the Buenos Aires coastline.
  • Line E - Purple: Subte Line E runs from Bolivar Station to Plaza de los Virreyes, opened on 20 June 1944, currently with 9.2 km.
  • Line H - Yellow: Line H runs from Once terminus to Caseros. It is also planned to run from Retiro to Nueva Pompeya once the remaining sections are constructed.

Current Extensions

Current Underground System map
Current Underground System map

At Line A four new stations after Primera Junta are under construction, being Nazca the new future terminal while newer metro carriages are slowly being introduced to handle the increased demand. On Line B Since 2004, work began to expand the line to Villa Ortúzar and Villa Urquiza. On Line H further extensions are planned to run from Retiro to Nueva Pompeya once constructed. It will connect the Southern part of the city with the North, thus improving the flow to the centre of the city, and will be approximately 11 km long from end to end. The Line H will provide cross-connections with almost all the other lines.

New Metro lines

New underground lines are planned and were presented by the Government of the City of Buenos Aires on May 26 of 2007. There are currently three lines planned:

The Line F will join Constitución Station with Plaza Italia and will have an extension of 7,6 kilometers. It will be transverse-radialy, according to the section, with strong integration with the rest of the network.

The Line G will connect the Retiro Station with the Cid Campeador and will have an extension of 7,6 kilometers. It will be radial to communicate the axes of high density residential and commercial areas, and will bring the underground to the northwest district of the city.

The Line I will run from Emilio Mitre Line A Station up to Plaza Italia and will have an extension of 7,3 kilometres. It will be the most external transverse line of the network and will communicate the neighborhoods of the north, centre and south of the city and will integrate to the radial lines far from the city centre.

PreMetro E2 map
PreMetro E2 map

Tram system

Tram in Puerto Madero
Tram in Puerto Madero

Buenos Aires had an extensive street railway (tram) system with over 857 km (535 mi) of track, which was dismantled during the 1960s in favour of bus transportation and is now in the stages of a slow comeback. The PreMetro or Line E2 is a 7.4 km light rail line that connects with the Buenos Aires Metro Line E, at Plaza de los Virreyes station and runs to General Savio and Centro Cívico and is operated by Metrovías. The official inauguration took place on 27 August 1987. The cost of building and fitting out the line was also impressive, amounting to a mere USD 5.4 million. An additional USD 4.6 million was allocated to the acquisition of a fleet of 25 light rail vehicles.

Tren de la Costa is a 15.5 km-long (9.7 miles) 11-station light rail line inaugurated in 1996 in Greater Buenos Aires, between Maipú Avenue station in the northern suburb of Olivos and Delta station in Tigre partido, on the Río de la Plata. Tren de la Costa is served by nine trains, each of two cars. Each train has a capacity of 200 passengers and travels at an average speed of 35 km/h. The journey time is 30 minutes, with a frequency of about 15 minutes. A new 2 km (1,25 miles) tramway (LRT), Tranvía del Este runs across the Puerto Madero district. Extensions planned will link the Retiro and La Boca terminal train stations. Other routes are being studied. A Heritage streetcar maintained by tram fans operates on weekends, near the Primera Junta line A metro station in the Caballito neighbourhood.

Commuter rail

Retiro Rail Terminal
Retiro Rail Terminal
Suburban train on Tigre Station
Suburban train on Tigre Station
Ferry crossing the river Rio de la Plata.
Ferry crossing the river Rio de la Plata.
Ministro Pistarini International Airport, more commonly referred as Ezeiza International Airport.
Ministro Pistarini International Airport, more commonly referred as Ezeiza International Airport.

The Buenos Aires commuter network system is very extensive, every day more than 1.3 million people commute to the Argentine capital for work and other business. These suburban trains operate between 4 AM and 1 AM. The Buenos Aires Railway system also connects the city with long distance rail to Rosario and Córdoba among other metropolitan areas. The three principal stations for both long-distance and local passenger services are located in Buenos Aires city centre Plaza Constitucion, Retiro and Once de Septiembre.

The Buenos Aires commuter rail system has seven lines:

  • Belgrano Norte Line
  • Belgrano Sur Line
  • Roca Line
  • San Martin Line
  • Sarmiento Line
  • Mitre Line
  • Línea Urquiza (Buenos Aires)

High speed rail

A new high-speed rail line between Buenos Aires, Rosario and Córdoba, with speeds up to 320 km/h is planned.

Ferry

Buenos Aires is also served by a ferry system operated by the company Buquebus that connects the port of Buenos Aires with the main cities of Uruguay, ( Colonia del Sacramento, Montevideo and Punta del Este). More than 2,2 million people per year commute between Argentina and Uruguay with Buquebus

Airports

The Buenos Aires international airport, Ministro Pistarini International Airport, is located in the suburb of Ezeiza and is often called simply "Ezeiza". The Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport, located in the Palermo district next to the riverbank, serves mostly domestic traffic and general aviation.

Sports

Football is a passion for Argentines. Buenos Aires has the highest concentration of football teams of any city in the world (featuring no less than 24 professional football teams), with many of its teams playing in the major league. The best-known rivalry is the one between Boca Juniors and River Plate; a match between these two teams was named as one of the "50 sporting things you must do before you die" by The Observer. Other major clubs include San Lorenzo de Almagro, Vélez Sársfield, Argentinos Juniors and Huracán.

Club League Venue Established
River Plate (First Division) El Monumental 1901
Boca Juniors (First Division) Estadio Alberto J. Armando 1905
Independiente (First Division) Estadio Libertadores de América 1905
Partial view of Boca Juniors stadium.
Partial view of Boca Juniors stadium.


Buenos Aires has been a candidate city for the Summer Olympic Games on three occasions: for the 1956 Games, which were lost by a single vote to Melbourne; for the 1968 Summer Olympics, held in Mexico City">Mexico City; and in 2004, when the games were awarded to Athens.

Luna Park Arena.
Luna Park Arena.

However, Buenos Aires hosted the 1951 Pan American Games - the first, and was also host city to several World Championship events: the 1950 and 1990 Basketball World Championships, the 1982 and 2002 Men's Volleyball World Championships and, most remembered, the 1978 FIFA World Cup, won by Argentina on June 25, 1978 when it defeated the Netherlands by 3–1.

Juan Manuel Fangio won 5 Formula One World Driver's Championships, and was only matched by Schumacher, with 6 Championships right before retiring. The Buenos Aires Oscar Gálvez car-racing track hosted 20 editions of the Formula One Argentine Grand Prix between 1953 and 1998; its discontinuation was due to financial reasons. The track features local categories on most weekends.

Argentines' love for horses can be experienced in several ways: horse racing at the Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo racetrack, polo in the Campo Argentino de Polo (located just across Libertador Avenue from the Hipódromo), and pato, a kind of basketball played on horseback that was declared the national game in 1953.

Buenos Aires native Guillermo Vilas (who was raised in Mar del Plata) was one of the great tennis players of the 1970s and 1980s, and popularized tennis in all of Argentina. He won the ATP Buenos Aires numerous times in the 1970s.

Other popular sports in Buenos Aires are golf, basketball, rugby, and field hockey.

Panorama of Buenos Aires CBD, seen from Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve
Panorama of Buenos Aires CBD, seen from Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve

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