*Porteño (feminine: porteña) in Spanish it is used to refer to a person who is from or lives in a port city, but it can also be used as an adjective for anything related to those port cities. The largest city to which the term is commonly applied is Buenos Aires, Argentina and since the end of the 19th century Porteños has come to be the name of the people from that city
As if that isn't enough for a visitor to comprehend, it is also important to understand that Argentines are a very proud people, warm, friendly, and easy going, with a great sense of style, loving late nights and dining, and devoted to tango. If you can embrace this multiple personality and lifestyle, then you will enjoy Argentina and all of its magic.
(Please see note at end of this posting)
The monks of the Order of the Recoletos arrived in this area, then the outskirts of Buenos Aires, in the early eighteenth century. The cemetery is built around their convent and a church, Our Lady of the Pilar, built in 1732. It was designed by the French architect Prosper Catelin at the request of President Bernardino Rivadavia and was dedicated in 1822 after the Order of the Recoletos was disbanded. The Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Pilar located in The Recoleta Cemetery is also a national historic monument.
Set in fourteen (14) acres, the Recoleta Cemetery contains 4691 vaults, all above ground, of which 94 have been declared National Historical Monuments by the Argentine government. The entire cemetery is laid out in sections like city blocks, with wide tree-lined main walkways branching into sidewalks filled with mausoleums. The cemetery is a labyrinth of haunting, gorgeous mausoleums belonging to the city’s rich, famous, and powerful families.
The entrance to the cemetery is through neo-classical gates with tall Doric columns.The cemetery contains many elaborate marble mausoleums, decorated with statues, in a wide variety of architectural styles such as Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Baroque, and Neo-Gothic. Recoleta Cemetery includes graves of many of Argentina's historical figures, including Eva Perón, several presidents and scientists, as well as many from Argentina's most influential families. The cemetery is truly a remarkable venue and one not to be missed while visiting Buenos Aires.
The barrio of SAN TELMO could not be more different in character and lifestyle from the barrio of Recoleta and is one of my favorites neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.
San Telmo* is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. The multinational heritage of Buenos Aires is embodied in the varied architecture of San Telmo including Spanish Colonial design coupled with Italian detailing and graceful French Classicism. San Telmo is also steeped in the city's history. It was a fashionable district for years until a series of yellow fever epidemics in the mid to late 1800's drove the inhabitants north into what is now the upscale barrio of Recoleta and the lower classes and immigrants moved in.
* from "Saint Pedro Gonzales Telmo" go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Gonz%C3%A1lez
San Telmo is now a well-preserved area with cobble stoned streets, low buildings and residential areas, antique shops, and cafes which are often filled with artists and tango dancers. Other attractions include old churches including San Pedro Telmo, museums, and the famed Sunday antique fair (FERIA DE ANTIGUEDADES) in Plaza Dorrego, the main square. San Telmo's many tango bars are an excellent place to learn and dance the tango.
An unbelievable amount of "antiques" and memorabilia can be found in San Telmo if you have the patience!
Meeting the artist in action is always special and a great way to appreciate the art offerings.
BARRIO LA BOCA:
pressed tin houses are painted a rainbow of colors and muralists have turned the district's side streets into avenues of color. Wow!
LA BOCA, in my opinion, is the most picturesque of all the barrios in Buenos Aires. La Boca retains a strong European flavor with many of its early settlers being from the Italian city of Genoa. This working class area, originally populated by Italian dock workers, has bloomed into a colorful center of art, restaurants, and the colorful metal houses which are in total contrast and a pleasant change from the rest of the city. And yet this old port district still maintains its 19th century ambiance.
The La Boca neighborhood was so named for its position at “the mouth” of the Rio (river) Riachuelo and its role as the port of call for thousands of immigrants from Italy, Spain, and other European countries. Those settlers struggled, starved, hoped, and celebrated in this rough-and-tumble barrio. Today, La Boca is the domain of the working class, bohemian artists, rabid soccer fans, and tango artists.
Buenos Aires, for the most part, is a very walk able city and the majority of residents in Buenos Aires use public transport including the fabulous underground subway system known as the SUBTE.
The Buenos Aires Underground (locally known as subte from "subterráneo" meaning underground or subway), is a high-yield system providing access to various parts of the city including the barrios we have visited. Pedestrian zones in the city center like Florida Street are partially car-free and always bustling with access provided by bus and the Underground (subte) Line C.
These amazing murals are only a few of the many fabulous works of art as seen in the underground subway, "Subte" system in Buenos Aires. Don't you wish that all large cities had such a wonderful transportation system? I do!
To me Buenos Aires is beautiful, exciting, challenging, and never boring! I hope you will be able to join me again when I share more of Buenos Aires and other fabulous and colorful areas of Argentina.
You will notice that I am closing this posting with a few photographs taken at the wonderful Jardín Zoológico de Buenos Aires (the Buenos Aires Zoo) which is located in the large and multi-faceted barrio of Palermo. You will also find many more animals in my Web Album which is found at the bottom of this page. Here are a few samples:
I hope you have enjoyed this mini-introduction to Buenos Aires and I look forward to seeing you again soon. Until then, happy trails and safe travels! Gracias, Laura