Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Parks and Plazas Abound in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Plaza San Martin
By Roy Heale

Splendid parks and plazas abound in Buenos Aires enabling both locals and tourists to enjoy relaxing green spaces in the heart of this mecca. Varying in size and scope, these urban retreats all offer a unique perspective on the history of Buenos Aires and often feature statues and memorials to prominent Argentine political or military leaders.

 Great Ombú Tree

One of my personal favorites is the Plaza San Martin located in the Retiro neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Situated at the northern end of pedestrian Florida Street, the park is bounded by Libertador Ave. (N), Maipú St. (W), Santa Fe Avenue (S), and Leandro Alem Av. (E). With a history dating back to the 18th century, today the park is encircled by many historic moments in Argentina's history.

Second Empire Paz Palace  Grand Entrance

Some of the Plaza's past includes the 33-story Art Deco Kavanagh Building which was completed in 1936, Plaza San Martín's great Ombú tree, the monument to José de San Martín---the plaza's namesake---and the monument for the fallen in the Falklands War. Three architecturally significant mansions facing the plaza surviving today include the Beaux Arts San Martín Palace (today the ceremonial annex of the Foreign Ministry), the Second Empire Paz Palace (today the Military Officers' Association) and the Neogothic Haedo palace (today the Secretariat of Environmental Policy).The plaza in 1909 was the site for the inaugural of both the first premier hotel in Argentina (the Plaza) and of the new National Museum of Fine Arts (the latter was later moved to Recoleta).

Beautiful Aged Trees

The large, aged trees provide excellent shade on a Buenos Aires hot sunny day, and the pathways and park benches offer a wide variety of perspectives to enjoy year round.

Torcuato & Regina Bar-Bistro

On the southwest corner of the Plaza, the Torcuato & Regina Bar-Bistro is conveniently located to enjoy the sidewalk cafe tables plus the huge windows provide a perfect view for relaxing and indoor dining, or simply meeting friends for drinks. Close to the downtown business district, many historic sights, and the bustle of the Florida Street pedestrian mall, it is also the perfect respite for a break from strenuous activities affording time to stop and smell the roses in an otherwise frenetic day.

Start of Florida Street

So find a good book or your favorite magazine and head to Plaza San Martin for a relaxing time in the hub of Buenos Aires and perhaps go shopping afterwards on the renowned Florida Street pedestrian mall.

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