Buenos Aires

Short history

Buenos Aires was founded in 1536 by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Mendoza but was later reestablished in 1580 by Juan de Garay due to indigenous resistance and lack of resources. Throughout the colonial period, it grew in importance as a port city, serving as a gateway to the rest of South America.

During the 19th century, Buenos Aires played a crucial role in Argentina’s fight for independence from Spanish colonial rule. It became the country’s capital in 1880 and underwent rapid growth and modernization. Immigration from Europe and other parts of the world shaped the city’s culture, earning it the nickname “Paris of South America.”

In the 20th century, Buenos Aires encountered economic and political challenges, including periods of military rule and economic instability. Despite these obstacles, the city has emerged as a dynamic center in Latin America.

Geography

Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is situated on the eastern shore of the Rio de la Plata estuary in southeastern South America. The city has a flat topography, with the expansive Pampas plains stretching out from the west.

The city experiences a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot and humid summers and mild winters. The city’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean moderates its temperatures, providing a comfortable environment for residents and visitors alike. The high levels of humidity in the summer months can make the heat feel even more intense, while the mild winters offer a welcome reprieve from the sweltering heat. Yet, occasional cold fronts from the south can bring cooler temperatures and even frost during the winter season.

Buenos Aires is divided into districts, such as Palermo, San Telmo or Recoleta, each with its own attractions. Its proximity to the water allows for a refreshing coastal breeze and breathtaking river views, adding to its appeal.

Population

Buenos Aires has a population of around 3 million people, making it the largest city in the country. 

The population of Buenos Aires is a mix of various ethnicities, with origins from European, indigenous, and mestizo backgrounds. Majority of the population is of European descent, especially Spanish and Italian.

The city is predominantly Roman Catholic, but also has a significant Jewish and Muslim minority. Spanish is the official language, though English and Italian are also commonly spoken due to historical immigration. Buenos Aires has a relatively high population density, but there are more spacious areas like Puerto Madero. The demographic makeup of the city is constantly changing due to ongoing immigration and internal migration. 

Main sights

  • The Obelisco: an iconic monument, erected in 1936 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the city’s founding. It rises to a height of 67 meters and is made of white stone. Its location at the intersection of Avenida 9 de Julio and Avenida Corrientes makes it a focal point for events and gatherings in the metropolis.
  • Recoleta Cemetery: a stunning display of ornate mausoleums and monuments.
  • Plaza San Martín: with its majestic clock tower, provides a peaceful retreat amidst the bustling city.
  • The Rio de la Plata coastline: offers a setting to relax and take in the beauty of the city.
  • Sports enthusiasts can experience the passion of Buenos Aires at the iconic stadiums such as La Bombonera and El Monumental.

Food

  • Asado: Argentine barbecue with a variety of grilled meats, usually beef, cooked over an open flame.
  • Empanadas: Turnovers filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables, commonly enjoyed as a snack.
  • Choripán: Street food featuring grilled chorizo sausage on bread with chimichurri sauce.
  • Milanesa: Breaded and fried meat cutlets, often beef or chicken, served with mashed potatoes or salad.
  • Provoleta: Grilled provolone cheese topped with oregano and chili flakes, a tasty appetizer.
  • Dulce de Leche: Sweet caramel spread made from milk and sugar, used in pastries and desserts.
  • Mate: Herbal tea from the yerba mate plant, traditionally shared in a special gourd.
  • Alfajores: Sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche, chocolate, or powdered sugar, a popular dessert in Buenos Aires.

Fun facts

  • Buenos Aires has the widest avenue globally, Avenida 9 de Julio, honoring Argentina’s Independence Day.
  • The city is a theater hub, hosting more than 280 theaters
  • Tango, the renowned dance, was born in Buenos Aires’ working-class neighborhoods.
  • The colorful houses in La Boca were painted using leftover ship paint.
  • Buenos Aires holds the record for the highest number of psychoanalysts per capita worldwide, with over 100 psychologists per 100,000 residents.