1. National Library Agüero 2502
The National Library was founded in 1811 by the Primera Junta. As from that point on, its venues changed four times: the Cabildo of Buenos Aires (1810-1812), a building in the Manzana de las Luces (1812-1901); the luxurious building on Mexico Street (1901-1992) which was prepared for the National Lottery and the current headquarters, the first of its own. The Library holds approximately 2,000,000 pieces, distributed mainly in the “Books Sector” and the documentation library (the most important in Latin America). The Treasure Room keeps the most valuable pieces of the Library (11,000 volumes), mostly belonging to XVI and XVII centuries. We can mention among them a folio from Gütenberg’s Bible, first printed book, and twenty-one incunabula (1455-1499). However, the real assets of the National Library consist of the diverse collections which show the national cultural activities.
The building was projected by architect Clorindo Testa in association with Alicia Cazzaniga and Francisco Bullrich. It presents 6 floors and 3 basements for books deposit. There are nine reading rooms with a total capacity for 940 readers and among other dependences, an auditory and a School of Librarians.
2. Oriental Republic of the Uruguay
Square Av. Del Libertador, among Austria, Tagle and Figueroa Alcorta streets
The center of the Oriental Republic of the Uruguay Square seats the monument to Gral. José Gervasio de Artigas (by sculptor José Luis Zorrilla de San Martin and Architect Alejandro Bustillo). A bronze figure on a masonry base. Its two bas-reliefs symbolize “La Libertad” and “La Federación”, accompanied by four bronze faucets representing the rivers: River Plate, Uruguay, Parana and Paraguay.
On Av. Figueroa Alcorta and Tagle, we can look at the significant building architect Clorindo Testa designed for Argentina Televisora Color (ATC). It holds the television studio for Channel 7 (the only Governmental and the first color television broadcaster); Television Argentina library also runs there.
3. Mitre Square
Av. del Libertador, among Dr. Luis Agote, Agüero and Republica del Líbano streets
The equestrian monument to Bartolomé Mitre, inaugurated in 1927, by the sculptors David Calandra and Eduardo Rubino, identifies the place. The General's image is in bronze, while the basis is red granite and allegorical groups in Carrara marble surround it. At front, the prow of a ship where “Victoria Alada” raises two palms. On both sides, we can admire “El Valor Civil”represented by an athlete fighting against a lion, “La Familia”, symbolized by a young mother with a sleeping boy, and “La Victoria”, “La Angustia”, “La Armonía” and “El Estudio y el Pensamiento”.
Bartolomé Mitre was an outstanding Argentine politician. He was born in 1821. His victory at Pavon battle in 1861 consolidated the Argentine unit. One year later, he was elected President of the Nation and held his office up to 1868.
Behind the gorge, at Gelly y Obes round, we can indulge at a series of residences of French architecture where the Great Britain Embassy stands out.
4. Francia Square
Av. del Libertador, among Ricardo Levene, Dr. Luis Agote and Pueyrredon streets
The central monument of this square is denominated “Francia a la Argentina” (France to Argentina), by French sculptor Edmond Peynot. It was inaugurated in 1910 and it has been the first monument donated by a foreign community to be erected in our country, on the Centennial of the Revolution of May.
The four bronze bas-reliefs located on the base depict historical moments of both nations: “Primera Junta de Gobierno Criollo” and “Paso de los Andes” (from Argentina history) and “La Toma de la Bastilla” and “La Declaración de la Independencia” (from France). The allegorical figures, middle centered, in Carrara marble, represent Sciences, Industries, Agriculture and Arts. The shaft is crowned by two feminine figures representing Argentina and France, hand in hand, led by an Angel (symbolizing Glory).
Surrounding the monument, different plates referring to French characters who influenced in our country: grenadier Domingo Porteau, dead San Lorenzo's combat during the fights for independence, the writer and journalist Emile Zola and Luis Braille’s bronze sculpture made by Djibilion Lazaro. Luis Braille was the creator of the reading and writing system for the blind.
5. National Museum of Fine Arts
Av. del Libertador 1473
The most important in our country and one of the main in America. This building formerly belonged to O.S.N. (Argentine Water Services Company). Architect Alejandro Bustillo took charge of the design in 1937, remodelled and adapted it to the function it currently fulfils. It is classical a style. There are 32 rooms, where permanent patrimony is exposed, altogether with changing expositions.
Its collections involve more than 9,000 art pieces - paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings and objects - 500 out of which are exhibited. It offers a broad panorama of the Occidental art, from Middle Ages until nowadays. Outstanding is the collection of French art from XIX century. First floor holds the Argentine Art collection and one of its rooms is dedicated to contemporary works. The Museum offers important exhibitions of Argentine and international art all over the year.
Among its outstanding pieces, we can admire works by Goya, The Greek, Tintoretto, Zurbarán, Van Gogh, Picasso, Kandinsky and Miró; sculptures by Bourdelle and Rodín, paintings from the XX century by Carlos Morel, Cándido López, Prilidiano Pueyrredón, Ernesto de la Cárcova, etc.
6. School of Law and Social Sciences
Av. Figueroa Alcorta 2263
The School of Law and Social Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires was founded in 1821 by Antonio Sáenz. Previous to that, Law Studies had been held at the Academy of Jurisprudence up to 1873, when Procedures area would become Law School.
The building blends preliminary designs by architects Arturo Ochoa, Ismael Chiapore and Pedro Vivent. The purest Doric style can be clearly seen, since no other decoration but its monumental structure renders it as an absolute classic. It dates from 1949 and occupies a surface of 40,000 square meters.
The interior of the building is also venue for a Museum, an art gallery and a library. At present, concerts are delivered there, including cinema, theater and literature plays, art shows, science and cultural exhibitions, open to the whole community.
Very important members of the Argentine political history graduated there.
7. Mayor Torcuato de Alvear Square
Av. Pueyrredón, Av. Del Libertador, Av. Alvear and Junín street.
This is a very important tourist area, surrounded by historical buildings culturally valuable. Its construction dates from beginning of XX century. It was called Camino de la Recoleta, created during Torcuato de Alvear’s Office. He commended its design to German engineer Schübeck who followed the Paris “Bois of Boulogne” pattern.
On the gorge of this area, the Convent of La Recoleta was originally located. With different destinations, finally became an important Cultural Center.
In 1993, next to the Cultural Center, the Buenos Aires Design Center was founded. Here we can find a group of boutiques and business shops devoted to all branches of design, altogether with attractive bars and restaurants.
The thick strong wall of Buenos Aires Design Center shows some sculptures which originally belonged to the Bank of the City of Buenos Aires. These sculptures arrived in Buenos Aires in 1873, from a Genoa atellier. The group was composed of 16 statues allegorically representing the sciences, the arts and the production activity. At the moment, four of those sculptures are placed at San Francisco small square and the remaining twelve decorate Buenos Aires Design Center.
Tourists may visit and enjoy the diverse proposals of street art that nurture with color the movement of the urban landscape. An extensive and traditional fair of local artisans with beautiful handicraft pieces resides there. They offer all type of artistic objects, from paintings to leather, cloth or metal goods.
8. Monument to General Alvear
The monument to Gral. Carlos María de Alvear is the work made by sculptor Antonio Emilio Bourdelle, pupil and collaborator to Rodin. Bourdelle took almost ten years in having it finished.
The monument bases on a platform of 20 square meters, its polished granite pedestal is 13 meters high. The equestrian bronze figure which harmoniously crowns the monument is 5 meters high. The angles of its base seat the symbolic statues of “La Libertad”, “La Victoria ”, “La Fuerza” and “La Elocuencia”.
When General Alvear arrived in Buenos Aires in 1812, he assisted San Martin in the creation of the Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers. Alvear presided the Assembly of the Year 13 and also held the office of Supreme Director for the Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata in 1815. Later, he was also appointed Plenipotentiary Minister in the United States, where he died in 1852.
9. Palais de Glace
The Palais of Glace took its name after the first skating ice field built in Buenos Aires. It was active from 1911 up to 1921. Then, the mentioned field was covered with wood and became an elegant site important figures of our society danced tango. The first music groups of this gender were led by Roberto Firpo and Julio De Caro, an also the famous duet Cobián y Cadícamo.
In 1932, architect Alejandro Bustillo remodelled the building and transformed it into rooms for art exhibitions. From then onwards, the name of Palais de Glace has coexisted with that of National Halls for Exhibition. In 1954, Channel 7 settled the television sets there, up to 1960. That year, the Palais retook previous functions and was entitled National Halls of Culture - Palais of Glace.
10. Alvear Avenue - Alvear Hotel
Originally called Bella Vista, designed upon request of the first Mayor of the City of the City of Buenos Aires, Don Torcuato de Alvear , in homage to his father Carlos María de Alvear. It starts just at the monument to Carlos Pellegrini, in the homonymous small square and it finished at the monument to Mayor Don Torcuato de Alvear.
This monument, inaugurated in 1900, by architect Juan Lauer, shows the Doric column style of marble crowned by a winged figure that represents “La Gloria”. Just half centered, the eminent bust of a person. The base holds three bas-reliefs that represent “La Apertura de Avenida de Mayo”, “La Pavimentación de la Ciudad” and “Arreglo de La Recoleta”, which were some of the main works Alvear sponsored during his office.
The Avenida Alvear is flanked by aristocratic residences, such as the Palaces of Pereda family (present residence of the Ambassador to Brazil), Ortiz Basualdo family (France Embassy), of Mrs. Concepción Unzué de Casares (headquarters of the Jockey Club), of the Atucha’s and also the Alzaga Unzué’s (part of the Hyatt Hotel).
The residences, strongly influenced by French academicism, endow this avenue with a Parish-like flair.
Where Av. Alvear intersects Ayacucho, we find the Alvear Palace Hotel, one of the maximum expressions of hotels management in Buenos Aires City. The building was built in 1928, by architects Valentine Brodski and Estanislao Pirovano and engineers Escudero y Ortúzar. The two hundred eighty rooms developed in the eleven high floors are greatly comfortable, decorated in different styles. The Roof Garden and the wide terraces on the last floor offer splendid views of the river. This hotel usually hosts foreign presidents, ministers, diplomats and world famous artists on their trip to Buenos Aires.
11. Recoleta Cultural Center
This building belonged to the Convent of the Padres Recoletos (1886). It later served as an asylum for old men and as from 1979, it has been run as it currently works.
Architects Santiago Beadle, Luis Benedit and Clorindo Testa intended to reformulate certain sectors of the building to adapt them to the purposes of the Center while respecting the original structure of the construction and restoring the most antique part of the Convent.
Today the auditorium “El Aleph” (former chapel of the asylum) has kept its doors and primitive stain glasses. Next to the auditorium, the amphitheater “Buenos Aires Verano”. It holds 27 exhibition rooms, among which “Cronopios” and the multi-cinema stand out (Mementarily Closed).
The wide range of activities developed by the Cultural Center involves fine arts exhibitions, concerts, theatre plays, dances, presentations of books, recitals, perfomances, techno music, video shows and special events.
It also seats a Training area, where courses and artistic shops are delivered as well as a research laboratory for musical production equipped with the most advanced digital technology.
12. Basílica Nuestra Señora del Pilar
The construction of the current church began near 1720 and it was inaugurated in 1732. The Jesuit architect Andrés Blanqui led the work, and conceived the façade of the Church under classicist principles.
On the right side of the facade we can observe a double reed-mace – unique in the city, crowned by a spherical clock.
In its interior, the lateral chapel stands out with the wood-carving of San Pedro Alcántara, by Alonso Cano.
The altarpieces, great part of the images and other worshipping elements of the time the Padres Recoletos inhabited the convent were maintained. Part of them may be admired at the small museum located next to the Church, on the side of the cemetery, occupying spaces that still remain intact until our days.
In 1930, architect Andrés Millé carried out a remodelling of the temple, and in 1942 it was officially declared National Historical Monument.
13. La Recoleta Cementery Junín 1790
The premises where today the cemetery is, were part of a bigger extension granted by Juan de Garay to Rodrigo Ortiz de Zárate, member of the colonysing expedition. It had been owned by different people, till the marriage of Don Fernando de Valdéz e Inclán and Doña Gregoria de Herrera y Hurtado who donated them so that a convent in charge of the Padres Recoletos may be settled there. This convent was inaugurated in 1732, same year when the Church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar was concluded. Beside it, the orchard of the monks.
The use of the place as a public cemetery followed the expulsion of the monks Recoletos (this was due to a General Reform of the Ecclesiastical Order. The orchard became a cemetery, qualified for that on November 17, 1822.
The layout of the cemetery was designed by French engineer Prospero Catelin, and was remodelled by request of Mayor Torcuato de Alvear in 1881 who commended it to architect Juan Antonio Buschiazzo.
Its almost six hectares seat the ashes of eminent people, warriors of the independence, presidents of the Republic, writers, science men and fine arts representatives. They were buried in vaults and mausoleums built in many cases by important architects who ornamented them with sculptures.
As from the astounding popularity gained by “La Biela” as a relevant center for gastronomy and culture movement, the surrounding area to the Cemetery of Recoleta gave rise to a huge area of restorants, cinemas, cafes and cafeterias which hinted the neighbourhood distinctively.
Wide sidewalks, antique trees, bars tables and chairs surrounding the sector are the preferred drives by Buenos Aires people and tourists from the interior of the country as well as from abroad. Youngsters of the City of Buenos Aires have chosen this part to frequent the dancing places and crowded discos of the area.
15. Quintana Avenue
La Biela Cafe Avenida Quintana used to be called “La Calle Larga de Recoleta.”
It appeared on Cristobal Barrientos’ Map of 1772, starting with the so-called “Cinco Esquinas” (Libertad and Juncal).
The first communication between the city and the convent of the monks Recoletos was made possible by this road, well-known as Calle Larga because it was not cut by any street until arriving to Avenida Callao. Its both sides had week-end houses, thoroughly lighted up, as seen on graphic icons of that time.
La Biela, a cafe called this way from 1942 (former Aero Bar cafe), bears a long tradition at the corner of Av. Quintana and Roberto M. Ortiz. In that decade, it used to be the meeting place for car fans. Then it started to run as a restaurant and became a place highly populated by Buenos Aires high society members. La Biela was the drive to the development of many gastronomic business opposite to the cemetery.
In 1999, the Legislature of the City officially declared it “Place of Cultural Interest”.