Buenos Aires Stories and Tips


Palace of Justice Photo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

We found that San Nicolas has its fair share of interesting buildings. We generally found them by just wandering the interesting streets but since leaving Buenos Aires I have discovered a little more about them. Here are three worth seeing.

Basilica de la Merced.
Nuestra Señora de la Merced is the patron saint of Barcelona and was brought to Argentina by the Spanish colonizers of South America. The construction of the first church on this site took place at the beginning of the seventeenth century – a humble church made of mud and straw. The current church dates from 1779. It received the status of basilica minor in 1917 from Pope Benedicto XV.

Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Merced is a dark church, but worth a visit for its walls and ceiling covered in frescos, as well as for its baroque and rococo styled altar. The vestibule has four beautiful stained glass windows. One depicts St Martín of Tours cutting his cloak in half to share it with a beggar. St Martín of Tours is the Patron Saint of Buenos Aires and regularly depicted in its churches.

Spain's King Alfonso XIII donated a silver cross said to be a silver replicate of the actual cross which can be seen in the church. The church's religious museum, has a sizable collection of Easter Island art including a rongorongo tablet, one of only 29 left in the world.

Central Bank.
At Reconquista 266, this classic building was built in the 1870s and was home to the Supreme Court until the 1940s. With its classic Corinthian-columned facade and airy entrance hall it is a suitably impressive building for its current purpose.

The Central Bank of Argentina was created in 1935. It is a self-governed body of the National Government, regulated by its Charter and by the Financial Institutions Act. The building has a Museum inside. The Museum has a permanent exhibit showing its major items. Temporary numismatic exhibits are held on different historical, social and political issues. The Museum includes a large library open to the public which covers a wide range of general subjects as well as volumes specialising in numismatics, Argentine history and museum-related studies.

Palace of Justice
The building stands facing Plaza Lavalle. This square is one of the oldest in town. The imposing Beaux Arts building can be considered the final phase of this architectural type. All exterior and interior surfaces are rendered with original simulated stone stucco-work, a unique finishing technique, typical of Argentine architecture. The building is the biggest building in the country finished within this technique. Stone stucco-work resulted from the mix of Italian immigrant artisans and French architectural materials and features.

Many key historical events have taken place in this building. The plea of prosecutor Julio Cesar Strassera, during the trial of the military junta which made the country undergo a violent dictatorship between 1976 and 1982, is still remembered today.

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