Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires
The City of Buenos Aires
From top to the bottom and from left to right: The downtown skyline; July 9th Avenue with the Obelisk; the Caminito in La Boca; Puerto Madero; Floralis Generica in Recoleta.
From top to the bottom and from left to right: The downtown skyline; July 9th Avenue with the Obelisk; the Caminito in La Boca; Puerto Madero; Floralis Generica in Recoleta.
Flag of Buenos Aires
Coat of arms of Buenos Aires
Coat of arms
Buenos Aires is located in Argentina
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Coordinates: 34°36′36.00″S 58°22′11.99″W / 34.61°S 58.3699972°W / -34.61; -58.3699972
Country  Argentina
Established 1536, 1580
 - Chief of Government Mauricio Macri
 - Senators María Eugenia Estenssoro, Samuel Cabanchik, Daniel Filmus
 - City 203 km2 (78.5 sq mi)
 - Land 203 km2 (78.5 sq mi)
 - Metro 4,758 km2 (1,837.1 sq mi)
Population (2009 est.)
 - City 3,050,728
 - Metro 13,356,715
HDI (2005) 0.923 – high
Website http://www.buenosaires.gov.ar/ (Spanish)

Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina. Currently the third largest city in South America, it is succeeded only by Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. It is located on the southern shore of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent. The city of Buenos Aires is not part of Buenos Aires Province, nor is it its capital; rather, it is an autonomous federal district. Greater Buenos Aires is the third largest conurbation in Latin America, with a population of around 13 million.[1]

After the internal conflicts of the 19th century, Buenos Aires was federalised and removed from Buenos Aires Province in 1880. The city limits were enlarged to include the former towns of Belgrano and Flores, which are both now neighbourhoods of the city.

Buenos Aires (English: Fair Winds or Good Air (see Names of Buenos Aires), pronounced [ˈbwe̞nɔs ˈai̯ɾɛs]) was originally named after the sanctuary of "Nostra Signora di Bonaria" (Italian for "Our Lady of Bonaria") in Cagliari, Sardinia. In the 1994 constitution the city became autonomous, hence its formal name: Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, in English, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. See Names of Buenos Aires.

People from Buenos Aires are called porteños (people of the port).


[edit] History

[edit] First Settlement

Seaman Juan Díaz de Solís, navigating in the name of Spain, was the first European to reach the Río de la Plata in 1516. His expedition was cut short when he was killed during an attack by the native Charrúa tribe in what is now Uruguay.

The city of Buenos Aires was first established as Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre[2] (literally "City of Our Lady Saint Mary of the Fair Winds") on 2 February 1536 by a Spanish expedition led by Pedro de Mendoza. The city founded by Mendoza was located in what is today the San Telmo district of Buenos Aires, south of the city center.

Juan de Garay, founder of Buenos Aires.
Depiction of the founding of Buenos Aires, 1580.
Enactment of the Constitution of Buenos Aires, 1854. From 1820 to 1880, Buenos Aires was almost a nation in itself.
A boulevard in the business district, 1920.

More attacks by the indigenous peoples forced the settlers away, and in 1541 the site was abandoned. A second (and permanent) settlement was established in 1580 by Juan de Garay, who arrived by sailing down the Paraná River from Asunción (now the capital of Paraguay). He dubbed the settlement "Santisima Trinidad" and its port became "Puerto de Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires."

[edit] Colonial History

From its earliest days, Buenos Aires depended on trade. During most of the 17th and 18th centuries, Spain insisted that all trade to Europe pass through Lima, Peru so that taxes could be collected. This scheme frustrated the traders of Buenos Aires, and a thriving contraband industry developed. This also instilled a deep resentment in porteños towards the Spanish authorities.[2]

Sensing these feelings, Charles III of Spain progressively eased the trade restrictions and finally declared Buenos Aires an open port in the late 1700s. The capture of Porto Bello by British forces also fueled the need to foster commerce via the Atlantic route, to the detriment of Lima-based trade. Charles's placating actions did not have the desired effect, and the porteños, some of them versed in the ideology of the French revolution, became even more desirous of independence from Spain.

During the British invasions of the Río de la Plata, British forces attacked Buenos Aires twice, in 1806 and 1807, but were repelled both times by local militias. Ultimately, on 25 May 1810, while Spain was occupied with the Peninsular War and after a week of mostly peaceful demonstrations, the criollo citizens of Buenos Aires successfully ousted the Spanish Viceroy and established a provisional government. 25 May is now celebrated as a national holiday (May Revolution Day). Formal independence from Spain was declared in 1816.

Historically, Buenos Aires has been Argentina's main venue for liberal and free-trade ideas, while many of the provinces, especially to the northwest, advocated a more conservative Catholic approach to political and social issues. Much of the internal tension in Argentina's history, starting with the centralist-federalist conflicts of the 19th century, can be traced back to these contrasting views. In the months immediately following the 25 May Revolution, Buenos Aires sent a number of military envoys to the provinces with the intention of obtaining their approval. Many of these missions ended in violent clashes, and the enterprise fueled the tensions between the capital and the provinces.

In the 19th century the city was blockaded twice by naval forces: by the French from 1838 to 1840, and later by a joint Anglo-French expedition from 1845 to 1848. Both blockades failed to force the city into submission, and the foreign powers eventually desisted from their demands.

[edit] Modern History

During most of the 19th century, the political status of the city remained a sensitive subject. It was already capital of Buenos Aires Province, and between 1853 and 1860 it was the capital of the seceded State of Buenos Aires. The issue was fought out more than once on the battlefield, until the matter was finally settled in 1880 when the city was federalised and became the seat of government, with its Mayor appointed by the President. The Casa Rosada became the seat of the President.

In addition to the wealth generated by the fertile pampas, railroad construction in the second half of the 19th century increased the economic power of Buenos Aires as raw materials flowed into its factories. Buenos Aires became a multicultural city that ranked itself with the major European capitals. The Colón Theater became one of the world's top opera venues. The city's main avenues were built during those years, and the dawn of the 20th century saw the construction of South America's then-tallest buildings and first underground system.

By the 1920s Buenos Aires was a favoured destination for immigrants from Europe, particularly Spain and Italy, as well as from Argentina's provinces and neighbouring countries. Shanty towns (villas miseria) started growing around the city's industrial areas, leading to extensive social problems which contrasted sharply with Argentina's image as a country of riches.

Corrientes Avenue. A second construction boom from 1945 to 1980 reshaped downtown and much of the city.

Buenos Aires was the cradle of Peronism: the now-mythologized demonstration of 17 October 1945 took place in Plaza de Mayo.[3] Industrial workers of the Greater Buenos Aires industrial belt have been Peronism's main support base ever since, and Plaza de Mayo became the site for demonstrations and many of the country's political events. On 16 June 1955, a splinter faction of the Navy bombed the Plaza de Mayo area, killing 364 civilians (see Bombing of Plaza de Mayo). This was the only time the city was attacked from the air; this event was followed by a military uprising which deposed President Perón three months later (see Revolución Libertadora).

In the 1970s the city suffered from the fighting between left-wing revolutionary movements (Montoneros, E.R.P. and F.A.R.) and the right-wing paramilitary group Triple A, supported by Isabel Perón, who became president of Argentina in 1974 after Juan Perón's death.

The military coup of 1976, led by Jorge Rafael Videla, only escalated this conflict; the "Dirty War" resulted in 30,000 desaparecidos (people kidnapped and killed by the military during the years of the junta).[4] The silent marches of their mothers (Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo) are a well-known image of Argentines suffering during those times.

The dictatorship also drew up plans for a network of freeways intended to relieve the city's acute traffic gridlock. The plan, however, called for a seemingly indiscriminate razing of residential areas and, though only three of the eight planned were put up at the time, they were mostly obtrusive raised freeways that continue to blight a number of formerly comfortable neighborhoods to this day.

Skyscrapers in Puerto Madero, a district developed over the old docklands within the last decade.

The city was visited by Pope John Paul II twice: in 1982, due to the outbreak of the Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas/Guerra del Atlántico Sur), and a second visit in 1987, which gathered crowds never before seen in the city.

On 17 March 1992 a bomb exploded in the Israeli Embassy, killing 29 and injuring 242. Another explosion, on 18 July 1994 destroyed a building housing several Jewish organizations, killing 85 and injuring many more.

Following a 1993 agreement, the Argentine Constitution was amended to give Buenos Aires autonomy and rescinding, among other things, the president's right to appoint the city's mayor (as had been the case since 1880). On 30 June 1996, voters in Buenos Aires chose their first elected mayor (Chief of Government).

On 30 December 2004 a fire at the República Cromagnon nightclub killed almost 200 people, one of the greatest non-natural tragedies in Argentine history.

[edit] Government and politics

[edit] Government structure

The Municipal Legislature.
City Hall

The Executive of the city is held by the Chief of Government ("Jefe de Gobierno"), who is directly elected for a four-year term, together with a Deputy Chief, who presides over the 60-member Legislature.

Each member of the legislature is elected for a four-year term; half of the legislature is renewed every two years. Elections use the D'Hondt method of proportional representation. The Judicial branch is composed of the Supreme Court of Justice (Tribunal Superior de Justicia), the Magistrate's Council (Consejo de la Magistratura), the Public Ministry, and other City Courts.

In legal terms, the city enjoys less autonomy than the provinces. The national judiciary determines the autonomy of the city's judiciary with regard to common law, while the national executive branch controls the city’s police.

Beginning in 2007, the city has embarked on a new decentralization scheme, creating new communes (comunas) managed by a seven-person elected committee.

Article 61 of the 1996 Constitution of the City of Buenos Aires states that "Suffrage is free, equal, secret, universal, compulsory and non-accumulative. Resident aliens enjoy this same right, with its corresponding obligations, on equal terms with Argentine citizens registered in the district, under the terms established by law." [5]

[edit] Recent political history

In 1996, following the 1994 reform of the Argentine Constitution, the city held its first mayoral elections under the new statutes, with the mayor's title formally changed to "Head of Government". The winner was Fernando de la Rúa, who would later become President of Argentina for the period 1999 to 2001.

De la Rúa's successor, Aníbal Ibarra, won two popular elections, but was impeached (and ultimately deposed on 6 March 2006) as a result of the fire at the República Cromagnon nightclub. Jorge Telerman, who had been the acting mayor, was invested with the office. In the 2007 elections, Mauricio Macri won the second-round of voting over Daniel Filmus, taking office on 9 December 2007.

[edit] National representation

Buenos Aires is represented in the Argentine Senate by three senators (as of December 2007: María Eugenia Estenssoro, Samuel Cabanchik and Daniel Filmus).[6] The people of Buenos Aires also elect 25 national deputies to the Argentine Chamber of Deputies.

[edit] Demographics

Buenos Aires inhabitants by neighbourhood
A section of Palermo, the largest neighborhood. Total population density is now about 15,000/km2 (37,600/mi2).
Callao Avenue in Recoleta, the city's 2nd-most populous area.
Rivadavia Avenue in Caballito, the 3rd-most populous area.
Population growth since 1740

[edit] Census data

In the census of 2001 there were 12,129,819 people residing in the city and 31 surrounding districts, making metro Buenos Aires home to one in three Argentines[7]. The population density in Buenos Aires proper was 13,680 inhabitants per square kilometer (34,800 per mi2), but only about 2,400 per km2 (6,100 per mi2) in the suburbs. The racial makeup of the city is 88.9% White, 7% Mestizo (including many Bolivian, Peruvian and Paraguayan immigrants), 2.1% Asian and 2% Black.[8]

The population of Buenos Aires proper has hovered around 3 million since 1947, due to low birth rates and a slow migration to the suburbs. The surrounding districts have, however, expanded over five-fold (to around 10 million) since then.[7]

The 2001 census showed a relatively aged population: with 17% under the age of fifteen and 22% over sixty, the people of Buenos Aires have an age structure similar to those in most European cities. They are older than Argentines as a whole (of whom 28% were under 15, and 14% over 60).[9]

Two-thirds of the city's residents live in apartment buildings and 30% in single-family homes; 4% live in sub-standard housing (equally divided between tenements and villas miserias).[10] Measured in terms of income, the city's poverty rate was 8.4% in 2007 and, including the metro area, 20.6%.[11]

The city's resident labor force of 1.2 million in 2001 was mostly employed in the services sector, particularly social services (25%), commerce and tourism (20%) and business and financial services (17%); despite the city's role as Argentina's capital, public administration employed only 6%. Manufacturing still employed 10%.[10]

[edit] Districts

The city is divided into 48 barrios or, neighborhoods, for administrative purposes (see list at right).[12] The division was originally based on Catholic parroquias (parishes), but has undergone a series of changes since the 1940s. A newer scheme has divided the city into 15 comunas (communes).[13]

[edit] Origin

The majority of porteños have European origins, with Italian and Spanish descent being the most common, from the Calabrian, Ligurian, Piedmont, Lombardy and Neapolitan regions of Italy and from the Galician, Asturian, and Basque regions of Spain[14]

Other European origins include German, Greek, Irish, Portuguese, French, Croatian, English and Welsh. In the 1990s there was a small wave of immigration from Romania and Ukraine[15] There is a minority of old criollo stock, dating back to the Spanish colonial days. The Criollo and Spanish-aboriginal (mestizo) population in the city has increased mostly as a result of migration, from countries such as Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay, since the second half of the 20th century.

Important Syrian-Lebanese and Armenian communities have had a significant presence in commerce and civic life since the beginning of the 20th century.

The Jewish community in Greater Buenos Aires numbers around 250,000, and is the largest in Latin America. Most are of Northern and Eastern European Ashkenazi origin, primarily Russian, German and Polish Jews, with a significant Sephardic minority, mostly made up of Syrian Jews[16]

The Metropolitan Cathedral.

The first major East Asian community in Buenos Aires was the Japanese, mainly from Okinawa. Traditionally, Japanese-Argentines were noted as flower growers; in the city proper, there was a Japanese near-monopoly in dry cleaning. Later generations have branched out into all fields of economic activity. Starting in the 1970s there has been an important influx of immigration from China and Korea, the latter known mostly for small, family-owned supermarkets.

[edit] Religion

Most inhabitants are Roman Catholic, though a number of studies over the past few decades suggest that fewer than 20% are actively practicing.[citation needed] Buenos Aires is the seat of a Roman Catholic metropolitan archbishop (the Catholic primate of Argentina), currently Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio. There are Protestant, Orthodox Christian, Jewish, and Muslim minorities.

[edit] Geography

Satellite image of Río de la Plata
1888 German map of Buenos Aires.

The limits of Buenos Aires proper are determined in the eastern part and north-east by the Rio de la Plata, in the southern part and southeast by the Riachuelo and to the northwest, west and Southwest by Avenida General Paz, a 24-kilometer (15 mi) long highway that separates the province of Buenos Aires from the city.

The city of Buenos Aires lies in the pampa region, except for some zones like the Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve, the Boca Juniors (football) Club "sports city", Jorge Newbery Airport, the Puerto Madero neighborhood and the main port itself; these were all built on reclaimed land along the coasts of the Rio de la Plata (the world's largest estuary).[citation needed]

The region was formerly crossed by different creeks and lagoons, some of which were refilled and others tubed. Among the most important creeks are Maldonado, Vega, Medrano, Cildañez and White. In 1908 many creeks were channeled and rectified, as floods were damaging the city's infrastructure. Starting in 1919, most creeks were enclosed. Notably, the Maldonado was tubed in 1954, and currently runs below Juan B. Justo Avenue.

Panorama of Buenos Aires Waterfront seen from the Río de la Plata

[edit] Climate

May Avenue in winter.

The city has a humid subtropical climate ("Cfa" by Köppen classification). The average year temperature is 17.6 °C (63.7 °F). The city gets 1,147 mm (45 in) of rainfall per year. The average high temperatures ranges from 30.4 °C (86.7 °F) in January, to 14.9 °C (58.8 °F) in Winter (1981-1990 period)[17]. Rain can be expected at any time of year and hailstorms are not unusual.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in central Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Central Observatory) was −5.4 °C (22 °F) on 9 July 1918[18]. The highest temperature ever recorded was 43.3 °C (109.9 °F) on 29 January 1957[19]. The last snowfall (see July 2007 Argentine winterstorm) occurred recently on 9 July 2007 when the entry of a massive polar cold snap made as a result the worst winter of Argentina in almost thirty years, where severe snowfalls and blizzards affected the country. It was the first major snowfall in the city in 89 years[20] (since 22 June 1918[21]).

 Weather averages for Buenos Aires, Argentina (1981-1990 period) 
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30.4
Average low °C (°F) 20.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 119
Source: The World Meteorological Organization[22] Nov 2006

[edit] Economy

The Port of Buenos Aires.
Construction in Buenos Aires
Year Construction permits (m2) Percent residential
1994 2,228,085 70.8
1995 1,157,746 57.3
1996 1,266,305 66.5
1997 2,154,130 65.0
1998 2,236,126 66.7
1999 1,736,821 69.0
2000 1,636,295 72.2
2001 1,027,069 59.2
2002 297,867 71.8
2003 1,284,977 86.8
2004 1,382,557 84.3
2005 2,160,872 83.1
2006 3,103,450 86.0
2007 3,088,901 80.1
1Source: City statistics[23]

Buenos Aires is the financial, industrial, commercial, and cultural hub of Argentina. Its port is one of the busiest in South America; navigable rivers by way of the Rio de la Plata connect the port to north-east Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. As a result it serves as the distribution hub for a vast area of the south-eastern region of the continent. Tax collection related to the port has caused many political problems in the past.

The economy in the city proper alone, measured by Gross Geographic Product (adjusted for purchasing power), totalled US$ 84.7 billion (US$ 30,525 per capita) in 2006 [24] and amounts to nearly a fourth of Argentina's as a whole.[25] Metro Buenos Aires, according to one well-quoted study, constitutes the 13th largest economy among the world's cities.[26] The Buenos Aires Human Development Index (0.923 in 1998) is likewise high by international standards.[27]

The city's services sector is diversified and well-developed by international standards, and accounts for 76% of its economy (compared to 59% for all of Argentina's).[23] Advertising, in particular, plays a prominent role in the export of services at home and abroad. The financial, business and real-estate services sector is the largest, however, and contributes to 31% of the city's economy. Finance (about a third of this) in Buenos Aires is especially important to Argentina's banking system, accounting for nearly half the nation's bank deposits and lending.[23] Nearly 300 hotels and another 300 hostels and bed & breakfasts are licensed for Tourism in Buenos Aires, and nearly half the rooms available were in four-star establishments or higher.[28]

Manufacturing is, nevertheless, still prominent in the city's economy (16%) and, concentrated mainly in the southside, it benefits as much from high local purchasing power and a large local supply of skilled labor as it does from its relationship to massive agriculture and industry just outside the city limits themselves. Construction activity in Buenos Aires has historically been among the most dramatic indicators of national economic fortunes (see table at right), and since 2006 around 3 million m2 of construction has been authorized annually.[23]

To the west of Buenos Aires is the Pampa Húmeda, the most productive agricultural region of Argentina produces wheat, soybeans and corn (as opposed to the dry southern Pampa, mostly used for cattle farming and more recently production of premium Buenos Aires wines). Meat, dairy, grain, tobacco, wool and leather products are processed or manufactured in the Buenos Aires metro area. Other leading industries are automobile manufacturing, oil refining, metalworking, machine building and the production of textiles, chemicals, clothing and beverages.

[edit] Culture

Teatro Colón (Columbus Theatre)

Strongly influenced by European culture, Buenos Aires is sometimes referred to as the "Paris of South America".[2][29]

Buenos Aires is the site of the Teatro Colón, one of the world's greatest opera houses.[30] It is closed for renovations until at least 2010. There are several symphony orchestras and choral societies. The city has numerous museums related to history, fine arts, modern arts, decorative arts, popular arts, sacred art, arts and crafts, theatre and popular music, as well as the preserved homes of noted art collectors, writers, composers and artists. It has many public libraries and cultural associations as well as the largest concentration of active theatres in Latin America[citation needed]. It has a world-famous zoo and Botanical Garden, a large number of landscaped parks and squares, as well as churches and places of worship of many denominations, many of which are architecturally noteworthy.[30]

[edit] Language

The National Symphony Orchestra.
Writer Jorge Luis Borges, 1969

Known as Rioplatense Spanish, Buenos Aires' Spanish (as that of other cities like Rosario and Montevideo, Uruguay) is characterised by voseo, yeísmo and aspiration of s in various contexts. It is heavily influenced by the dialects of Spanish spoken in Andalusia and Murcia. A phonetic study conducted by the Laboratory for Sensory Investigations of CONICET and the University of Toronto showed that the porteño accent is closer to the Neapolitan dialect of Italian than any other spoken language.

In the early 20th century, Argentina absorbed millions of immigrants, many of them Italians, who spoke mostly in their local dialects (mainly Neapolitan, Sicilian and Genoan). Their adoption of Spanish was gradual, creating a pidgin of Italian dialects and Spanish that was called cocoliche. Its usage declined around the 1950s.

Many Spanish immigrants were from Galicia, and Spaniards are still generically referred to in Argentina as gallegos (Galicians). Galician language, cuisine and culture had a major presence in the city for most of the 20th century. In recent years, descendants of Galician immigrants have led a mini-boom in Celtic music (which also highlighted the Welsh traditions of Patagonia).

Yiddish was commonly heard in Buenos Aires, especially in the Balvanera garment district and in Villa Crespo until the 1960s. Korean and Chinese have become significant since the 1970s. Most of the newer immigrants learn Spanish quickly and assimilate into city life.

The Lunfardo argot originated within the prison population, and in time spread to all porteños. Lunfardo uses words from Italian dialects, from Brazilian Portuguese, from African and Caribbean languages and even from English. Lunfardo employs humorous tricks such as inverting the syllables within a word (vesre). Today, Lunfardo is mostly heard in tango lyrics [31]; the slang of the younger generations has been evolving away from it. See also: Belgranodeutsch.

[edit] Tango

Tango music was born in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, notably in the brothels of the Junín y Lavalle district and in the arrabales (poorer suburbs). Its sensual dance moves were not seen as respectable until adopted by the Parisian high society in the 1920s, and then all over the world. In Buenos Aires, tango-dancing schools (known as academias) were usually men-only establishments.

Tango consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and eras of Argentina and Uruguay as well as in other locations around the world. The dance developed in response to many cultural elements, such as the crowding of the venue and even the fashions in clothing. The styles are mostly danced in either open embrace, where lead and follow connect at arms length, or close embrace, where the lead and follow connect chest-to-chest.

Early tango was known as tango criollo, or simply tango. Today, there are many tango dance styles, including Argentine Tango, Uruguayan Tango, Ballroom tango (American and International styles), Finnish tango and vintage tangos.

[edit] Cinema

The cinema first appeared in Buenos Aires in 1896. The city has been the centre of the Argentine cinema industry in Argentina for over 100 years since French camera operator Eugene Py directed the pioneering film La Bandera Argentina in 1897. Since then, over 2000 films have been directed and produced within the city, many of them referring to the city in their titles, such as Buenos Aires Plateada, and Buenos Aires a la vista. The culture of tango music has been incorporated into many films produced in the city, especially since the 1930s. Many films have starred tango performers such as Hugo del Carril, Tita Merello, Carlos Gardel and Edmundo Rivero.

[edit] Architecture

Galerías Pacífico on Florida Street
Modern buildings in the Buenos Aires CBD
Art-deco and neoclassical syles converge at Diagonal Norte.

Buenos Aires architecture is characterized by its individuality and uniqueness, with elements resembling Barcelona, Paris and Madrid.

Italian and French influences increased after the declaration of independence at the beginning of the 19th century, though the academic style persisted until the first decades of the 20th century.

Attempts at renovation took place during the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, when European influences penetrated into the country, reflected by several buildings of Buenos Aires such as the Iglesia Santa Felicitas by Ernesto Bunge; the Palace of Justice, the National Congress, and the Teatro Colón, all of them by Vittorio Meano.

The simplicity of the Rioplatense baroque style can be clearly seen in Buenos Aires through the works of Italian architects such as André Blanqui and Antonio Masella, in the churches of San Ignacio, Nuestra Señora del Pilar, the Cathedral and the Cabildo.

The architecture of the second half of the 20th century continued to reproduce French neoclassic models, such as the headquarters of the Banco de la Nacion Argentina built by Alejandro Bustillo, and the Museo Hispanoamericano de Buenos Aires|Museo Hispanoamericano of Martín Noel. However, since the 1930s the influence of Le Corbusier and European rationalism consolidated in a group of young architects from the University of Tucumán, among whom Amancio Williams stands out. The construction of skyscrapers proliferated in Buenos Aires until the 1950s. Newer modern high-technology buildings by Argentine architects in the last years of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st include the Le Parc Tower by Mario Álvarez, the Torre Fortabat by Sánchez Elía and the Repsol-YPF Tower by César Pelli.

[edit] Notable residents

Symphony conductor Daniel Barenboim.
Novelist Ernesto Sabato.
Composer Gustavo Santaolalla, twice honored with an Oscar.
Argentine cultural icon Geniol head in vintage advertising poster by Lucien-Achille Mauzan.

Buenos Aires was home to these Argentine writers:

International figures who have lived in Buenos Aires include:

Others include businesspeople Aristotle Onassis, Fritz Thyssen, John S. Reed and advertising greats Gino Boccasile and Lucien-Achille Mauzan, who was considered to be Argentina's “father of the advertising poster”. During the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, Buenos Aires provided refuge for many expatriate Spaniards, including philosopher José Ortega y Gasset and composer Manuel de Falla, who later moved to Córdoba. Luca Prodan arrived from England in the 1980s and became an icon of Argentine rock.

Musicians Daniel Barenboim, Alberto Ginastera, Gustavo Santaolalla and Martha Argerich among others, are Buenos Aires natives.

Fiction author W.E.B. Griffin spends half the year at his wife's family home in Buenos Aires and the other half in his native Pennsylvania. Cinema trailblazer Francis Ford Coppola, likewise, divides his time between San Francisco and Buenos Aires, where work on an upcoming epic has led him to establish an Argentine subsidiary of his production company, American Zoetrope.

[edit] Education

[edit] Primary education

The ubiquitous white uniform of children at public schools is a national symbol of learning.

Primary education comprises the first two EGB cycles (grades 1–6). Because of the system that was in place until 1995 (7 years of primary school plus 5 or 6 of secondary school), primary schools used to offer grades 1–7. Although most schools have already converted to teach the 8th and 9th grades, others chose to eliminate 7th grade altogether, forcing the students to complete the 3rd cycle in another institution.

[edit] Secondary education

Secondary education in Argentina is called Polimodal ("polymodal", that is, having multiple modes), since it allows the student to choose his/her orientation. Polimodal is not yet obligatory but its completion is a requirement to enter colleges across the nation. Polimodal is usually 3 years of schooling, although some schools have a fourth year.

Conversely to what happened on primary schools, most secondary schools in Argentina contained grades 8th and 9th, plus Polimodal (old secondary), but then started converting to accept 7th grade students as well, thus allowing them to keep the same classmates for the whole EGB III cycle.

Main hall, University of Buenos Aires Law School.

In December 2006 the Chamber of Deputies of the Argentine Congress passed a new National Education Law restoring the old system of primary followed by secondary education, making secondary education obligatory and a right, and increasing the length of compulsory education to 13 years. The government vowed to put the law in effect gradually, starting in 2007. [32]

[edit] College education

There are many state-run, taxpayer-funded universities in Argentina, as well as a number of private universities. See University reform in Argentina and List of Argentine universities.

The University of Buenos Aires, one of the top learning institutions in South America, has produced five Nobel Prize winners and provides taxpayer-funded education for students from all around the globe.[citation needed]

Buenos Aires is a major center for psychoanalysis, particularly the Lacanian school.

[edit] Tourism

Regina Theatre on Santa Fe Avenue. Vigorous even in decline, local theatre life has been enjoying a renaissance.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council,[33] tourism has been growing in the Argentine capital since 2002. In a survey by the travel and tourism publication Travel + Leisure Magazine in 2008, travelers voted Buenos Aires the second most desirable city to visit after Bangkok, Thailand.[34]

The city offers a variety of cultural activities. Visitors may choose to visit a tango show, an estancia in the Province of Buenos Aires, or enjoy the traditional asado. New tourist circuits have recently evolved, devoted to famous Argentines such as Carlos Gardel, Eva Perón or Jorge Luis Borges. Due to the favorable exchange rate, its shopping centres such as Alto Palermo, Paseo Alcorta, Patio Bullrich, Abasto de Buenos Aires and Galerías Pacífico are frequently visited by tourists. Non-traditional tourist options such as downloadable MP3 tours of Buenos Aires and bike tours have recently gained popularity.

San Telmo is a frequently visited area south of city, with its cobblestoned streets and buildings from the colonial era that attest to its long history. There are churches, museums, antique shops and "Antique Fairs" ('Ferias de Antigüedades') in historic Dorrego Square, where the streets on weekends are filled with performers such as tango dancers. The city also plays host to musical festivals, the largest of which is Quilmes Rock.[citation needed]

[edit] Notable Streets and Avenues

Coffee shops on Avenida de Mayo.
  • Avenida Alvear (the avenue passes through the upscale Recoleta area and is the address for a number of five-star hotels and embassies, many of them former mansions)
  • Avenida Corrientes (a principal thoroughfare in Buenos Aires, the avenue is intimately tied to the Tango and Porteño culture)
  • Avenida del Libertador (this avenue connects downtown to upscale areas to the northwest, passing by many of the city's best-known museums, gardens and cultural points of interest)
  • Avenida de Mayo (the avenue is often compared with those of Madrid, Barcelona and Paris due of its sophisticated buildings of Art Nouveau, Neoclassic and eclectic styles)
  • Florida Street (an elegant pedestrian street, downtown)
  • Nueve de Julio Avenue (one of the widest avenues in the World, its name honors Argentina's Independence Day)

[edit] Neighborhoods

Bohemian-chic San Telmo.
  • Belgrano (tipa-lined residential streets, Tudor architecture and numerous museums)
  • La Boca (the old port district still maintains its nineteeth century ambience)
  • Palermo (a trendy neighborhood filled with restaurants, shops and clubs called boliches)
  • Puerto Madero (these 1880-era docklands are now the city's newest neighborhood)
  • Recoleta (the traditionally upscale district combines Parisian architecture with trendy highrises and a variety of cultural resources)
  • Retiro (Art Nouveau cafés and restaurants among Art Deco office architecture)
  • San Telmo (one of the oldest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, this area is characterized by well-preserved 19th century architecture)

[edit] Parks

  • Parque Tres de Febrero (this park, one of the city's largest, is home to a rose garden and paddleboat lake)
  • Botanical Gardens (among the oldest in Latin America and an easy walk to other Palermo-area sights)
  • Buenos Aires Japanese Gardens (the largest of their type in the World, outside Japan)[35]
  • Plaza de Mayo (surrounded by national and city government offices, this square has been central to many of Argentina's historical events)
  • Plaza San Martín (central to the Retiro area, the leafy park is surrounded by architectural landmarks)
  • Recoleta Cemetery (includes graves of many of Argentina's historical figures, including several presidents and scientists, as well many among Argentina's influential families)
  • Buenos Aires Zoo (renown for its collection and the Hindu Revival elephant house)

[edit] Landmarks

The Obelisk.
Fishermen's Club and pier on the Río de la Plata, actually an estuary.

[edit] Transportation

[edit] Street network

Avenida General Paz in Buenos Aires
Taxi in Buenos Aires
Bus Line 114

Buenos Aires is based on a rectangular grid pattern, save for natural barriers or the relatively rare developments explicitly designed otherwise (notably, the neighbourhood of Parque Chas). The rectangular grid provides for square blocks named manzanas, with a length of roughly 110 meters. Pedestrian zones in the city centre are partially car-free and always bustling, access provided by bus and the Metro (subte) Line C. Buenos Aires, for the most part, is a very walkable city and the majority of residents in Buenos Aires use public transport.

Two diagonal avenues in the city centre alleviate traffic and provide better access to Plaza de Mayo. Most avenues running into and out of the city centre are one-way and feature six or more lanes, with computer-controlled green waves to speed up traffic outside of peak times.

The city's principal avenues include the 140-metre (459 ft)-wide 9 de Julio Avenue, the over-35 km (22 mi)-long Rivadavia Avenue,[36] and Corrientes Avenue, the main thoroughfare of culture and entertainment.

In the 1940s and 1950s the Avenida General Paz beltway that surrounds the city along its border with Buenos Aires Province and freeways leading to the new international airport and to the northern suburbs heralded a new era in Buenos Aires traffic. Encouraged by pro-automaker policies pursued towards the end of Pres. Peron's term (1955) and during Pres. Arturo Frondizi's term (1958-62) in particular, auto sales nationally grew from an average of 30,000 during the 1920-57 era to around 250,000 in the 1970s and over 600,000 in 2008,[37] and today over 1.7 million vehicles (nearly one-fifth of Argentina's total) are registered in Buenos Aires.[38]

Toll motorways opened in the late 1970s by then-mayor Osvaldo Cacciatore provided fast access to the city centre and are today used by over a million vehicles daily.[39] Cacciatore likewise had financial district streets (roughly one square kilometre in area) closed to private cars during daytime. Most major avenues are, however, gridlocked at peak hours. Following the economic mini-boom of the 1990s, record numbers started commuting by car and congestion increased, as did the time-honored Argentine custom of taking weekends off in the countryside.

[edit] Buses

There are over 150 city bus lines called Colectivos, each one managed by an individual company. These compete with each other, and attract exceptionally high use with virtually no public financial support.[40] Their frequency makes them equal to the underground systems of other cities, but buses cover a far wider area than the underground system. Colectivos in Buenos Aires do not have a fixed timetable, but run from 4 to several per hour, depending on the bus line and time of the day. With very cheap tickets and extensive routes, usually no further than four blocks from commuters' residences, the colectivo is the most popular mode of transport around the city.[citation needed] Bus line operators must comply with city regulations on security and pollution control.

[edit] Buses - Electronic Ticketing

Buenos Aires has been crippled for several years by an acute coin shortage that has impacted the economy, banking, and transportation. Coins are rationed by banks, if they have them, and the thriving Black Market[41] has been hoarding, so they can sell coins illegally to retailers. Merchants have been rounding prices up or down according to the amount of change a customer actually has, or bartering, and making up the difference with some low priced item like a piece of candy.[42]

Argentina's President announced on 4 February 2009 that Buenos Aires would be instituting electronic ticketing for the city's bus system. It is expected that the new ticketing system will be implemented within 90 days.[43]

One of the benefits of this change is that it would help speed passengers on to the bus. People would no longer have to wait to be issued a printed receipt as they each enter the bus. Environmentally this should help reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen because buses will not have to idle as long while passengers load. It might help to improve air quality in the region.

The city would also no longer have to process, collect, count, and transport coinage received in payment of some 11 million trips per day.

[edit] Taxi

A fleet of 40,000 black-and-yellow taxis ply the streets at all hours. License controls are not enforced rigorously. There have been numerous reports of organized crime controlling the access of taxis to the city airports and other major destinations [44]. Radio-link companies provide reliable and safe service; many such companies provide incentives for frequent users. Low-fare limo services, known as remises, have become popular in recent years.

[edit] Metro

Metro entrance on Avenida de Mayo
The Line D runs from the city centre district to the northern neighborhoods of Palermo and Belgrano

The Buenos Aires Metro (locally known as subte, from "subterráneo" meaning underground or metro), is a high-yield system providing access to various parts of the city. Opened in 1913, it is the oldest underground system in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Spanish-speaking world. The system has six lines, named by letters (A to E, and H) There are 74 stations, and 52.3 km (32 mi) of route. An expansion program is underway to extend existing lines into the outer neighborhoods and add a new north-south line. Route length is expected to reach 89 km (55 mi) by 2011.

Recently inaugurated underground station
Callao Station on Line B

Daily ridership is 1.3 million and on the increase.[citation needed] Fares are cheap and are in fact cheaper than the city buses. While tokens have been used in the past, at present, riders purchase either single-use or multi-use cards (called SubtePass) with a magnetic strip or use Contactless cards called SubteCard which can be rechargeable with cash or linked to a bank account for automatic debit.

The Buenos Aires Metro has six lines which also have links to the metropolitan train network.

  • Line A - Light Blue: Subte Line A is the oldest line of the Buenos Aires Metro. This historical line runs from Plaza de Mayo to Carabobo, and is scheduled to be extended towards Nazca St.
  • Line B - Red: Line B of the Buenos Aires Metro runs from Leandro N. Alem Station to Los Incas (projected to Villa Urquiza).
  • Line C - Blue: The Line C of the Buenos Aires Metro runs from Retiro to Constitución terminus, opened on 9 November 1934, 4.4 km.
  • Line D - Green: Subte Line D of the Buenos Aires Metro runs from Catedral to Congreso de Tucumán. The D Line opened on 3 June 1937 and has been expanded to the north several times. The line is currently 10.41 km long and runs approximately parallel to the Buenos Aires coastline.
  • Line E - Purple: Subte Line E runs from Bolivar Station to Plaza de los Virreyes, opened on 20 June 1944, currently with 9.2 km.
  • Line H - Yellow: Line H runs from Once terminus to Caseros. It is also planned to run from Retiro to Nueva Pompeya once the remaining sections are constructed.

[edit] Current Extensions

Current Underground System map

At Line A two new stations after Carabobo are under construction, being Nazca the new future terminal while newer metro carriages are slowly being introduced to handle the increased demand. On Line B Since 2004, work began to expand the line to Villa Ortúzar and Villa Urquiza[45]. On Line H further extensions are planned to run from Retiro to Nueva Pompeya once constructed. It will connect the Southern part of the city with the North, thus improving the flow to the centre of the city, and will be approximately 11 km long from end to end. The Line H will provide cross-connections with almost all the other lines.

[edit] New Metro lines

New underground lines are planned and were presented by the Government of the City of Buenos Aires on 26 May 2007. There are currently three lines planned:

Line F would join Constitución Station with Plaza Italia and would have an extension of 7.6 kilometers. It would be transverse-radial, according to the section, with strong integration with the rest of the network.

Line G would connect the Retiro Station with the Cid Campeador and would have a length of 7.6 kilometers. It would be radial to connect the axes of high-density residential and commercial areas, and would bring the underground to the northwest of the city.

Line I would run from Emilio Mitre Line A Station up to Plaza Italia, a distance of 7.3 kilometres. It would be the most external transverse line of the network and would link the neighborhoods of the north, center and south of the city and link with the radial lines far from the city centre.

PreMetro E2 map

[edit] Tram system

Tram in Puerto Madero

Buenos Aires had an extensive street railway (tram) system with over 857 km (535 mi) of track, which was dismantled during the 1960s in favor of bus transportation and is now in the process of a slow comeback. The PreMetro or Line E2 is a 7.4-km light rail line that connects with Metro Line E at Plaza de los Virreyes station and runs to General Savio and Centro Cívico. It is operated by Metrovías. The official inauguration took place on 27 August 1987. The cost of building and fitting out the line was USD 5.4 million. An additional USD 4.6 million was allocated to the acquisition of a fleet of 25 light rail vehicles.

A new 2 km (1,25 miles) tramway (LRT), Tranvía del Este, runs across the Puerto Madero district. Extensions planned would link the Retiro and La Boca terminal train stations. Other routes are being studied. A Heritage streetcar maintained by tram fans operates on weekends, near the Primera Junta line A metro station in the Caballito neighbourhood.

[edit] Commuter rail

Retiro Rail Terminal
Suburban train on Tigre Station
Ferry crossing the river Rio de la Plata.
Ministro Pistarini International Airport, more commonly referred as Ezeiza International Airport.

The Buenos Aires commuter network system is very extensive: every day more than 1.3 million people commute to the Argentine capital. These suburban trains operate between 4 AM and 1 AM. The Buenos Aires railway system also connects the city with long-distance rail to Rosario and Córdoba, among other metropolitan areas. There are three principal stations for both long-distance and local passenger services in the city centre: Plaza Constitucion, Retiro and Once de Septiembre.

The Buenos Aires commuter rail system has seven lines:

[edit] High-speed rail

A new high-speed rail line between Buenos Aires, Rosario and Córdoba, with speeds up to 320 km/h is planned[46].

[edit] Ferry

Buenos Aires is also served by a ferry system operated by the company Buquebus that connects the port of Buenos Aires with the main cities of Uruguay, (Colonia del Sacramento, Montevideo and Punta del Este). More than 2.2 million people per year travel between Argentina and Uruguay with Buquebus[47]

[edit] Airports

The Buenos Aires international airport, Ministro Pistarini International Airport, is located in the suburb of Ezeiza and is often called simply "Ezeiza". The Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport, located in the Palermo district next to the riverbank, serves mostly domestic traffic and general aviation.

[edit] Sports

Football is a passion for Argentines. Buenos Aires has the highest concentration of football teams of any city in the world (featuring no less than 24 professional football teams),[48] with many of its teams playing in the major league. The best-known rivalry is the one between Boca Juniors and River Plate; watching a match between these two teams was deemed one of the "50 sporting things you must do before you die" by The Observer.[48] Other major clubs include San Lorenzo de Almagro, Vélez Sársfield, Argentinos Juniors and Huracán.

Club League Venue Established
River Plate (First Division) El Monumental 1901
Boca Juniors (First Division) Estadio Alberto J. Armando 1905
San Lorenzo de Almagro (First Division) Estadio Pedro Bidegain 1908
Partial view of Boca Juniors stadium.

Diego Armando Maradona, born in Villa Fiorito, a villa miseria in the Lanús Partido (county) south of Buenos Aires, is widely hailed as one of the greatest football players of all time. Maradona started his career with Argentinos Juniors, later playing for Boca Juniors, the Argentina national football team and others (most notably FC Barcelona in Spain and SSC Napoli in Italy).[citation needed]

Buenos Aires has been a candidate city for the Summer Olympic Games on three occasions: for the 1956 Games, which were lost by a single vote to Melbourne; for the 1968 Summer Olympics, held in Mexico City; and in 2004, when the games were awarded to Athens.

Luna Park Arena.

However, Buenos Aires hosted the 1951 Pan American Games - the first,[30] and was also host city to several World Championship events: the 1950 and 1990 Basketball World Championships, the 1982 and 2002 Men's Volleyball World Championships and, most remembered, the 1978 FIFA World Cup, won by Argentina on 25 June 1978, when it defeated the Netherlands by 3–1.

Juan Manuel Fangio won 5 Formula One World Driver's Championships, and was only matched by Schumacher, with 6 Championships right before retiring. The Buenos Aires Oscar Gálvez car-racing track hosted 20 editions of the Formula One Argentine Grand Prix between 1953 and 1998; its discontinuation was due to financial reasons. The track features local categories on most weekends.

The 2009 Dakar Rally is started and ending in the city.

Argentines' love for horses can be experienced in several ways: horse racing at the Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo racetrack, polo in the Campo Argentino de Polo (located just across Libertador Avenue from the Hipódromo), and pato, a kind of basketball played on horseback that was declared the national game in 1953.

Buenos Aires native Guillermo Vilas (who was raised in Mar del Plata) was one of the great tennis players of the 1970s and 1980s,[30] and popularized tennis in all of Argentina. He won the ATP Buenos Aires numerous times in the 1970s.

Other popular sports in Buenos Aires are golf, basketball, rugby, and field hockey.

Panorama of Buenos Aires CBD, seen from Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve
Panorama of Buenos Aires CBD, seen from Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b Population projections
  2. ^ a b c Argentina: A Short History by Colin M. Lewis, Oneworld Publications, Oxford, 2002. ISBN 1-85168-300-3
  3. ^ Guía visual de Buenos Aires centro histórico, Clarín Viajes, 2001. ISBN -X
  4. ^ We are Millions: Neo-liberalism and new forms of political action in Argentina, Marcela Lópéz Levy, Latin America Bureau, London, 2004. ISBN -X
  5. ^ Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires (October 1, 1996). "Constitución de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires" (in Spanish). http://www.legislatura.gov.ar/1legisla/constcba.htm. Retrieved on 2007-12-13. 
  6. ^ Senate of the Nation, accessed 2007-12-25
  7. ^ a b Summary of 1947-2001 censuses
  8. ^ Demographics of Buenos Aires
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ a b 2001 Census
  11. ^ Buenos Aires Statistical Monthly, June 2008.
  12. ^ Government of Buenos Aires, accessed 2006-08-07.
  13. ^ 'Buenos Aires con quince comunas' by Pedro Lipcovich, Página/12, 2005-09-02
  14. ^ Buenos Aires Introduction
  15. ^ European Emigration to Argentina
  16. ^ Weiner, Rebecca. "The Virtual Jewish History Tour - Argentina". http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Argentina.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-09. 
  17. ^ Servicio Meteorológico Nacional
  18. ^ "Monthly Information of the city of Buenos Aires, July in the city of Buenos Aires, Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (Argentine National Meterological Service)" (in Spanish). http://www.smn.gov.ar/?mod=clima&id=14. Retrieved on 2008-01-23. 
  19. ^ "Monthly Information of the city of Buenos Aires, January in the city of Buenos Aires, Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (Argentine National Meterological Service)" (in Spanish). http://www.smn.gov.ar/?mod=clima&id=8. Retrieved on 2008-01-23. 
  20. ^ "Buenos Aires sees rare snowfall" (in English). http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6286484.stm. Retrieved on 2008-01-24. 
  21. ^ "Buenos Aires gets first snow since 1918" (in English). http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-07-09-argentina-snow_N.htm. Retrieved on 2008-01-24. 
  22. ^ "(English) Weather Information for Buenos Aires". http://www.worldweather.org. Retrieved on Dec 12 2006. 
  23. ^ a b c d City of Buenos Aires Statistical Annual (2008)
  24. ^ http://www.iader.org.ar/
  25. ^ [2]
  26. ^ http://www.citymayors.com/statistics/richest-cities-2005.html
  27. ^ 'Informe Argentino Sobre Desarrollo Humano'
  28. ^ Buenos Aires Statistical Monthly, April 2008
  29. ^ 'Paris of the South' by Kenneth Bagnell, Canoe travel, 2005-03-07, accessed 2006-08-07.
  30. ^ a b c d Time Out Guide: Buenos Aires, Cathy Runciman & Leticia Saharrea (eds), Penguin Books, London, 2001. ISBN 0-14-029398-1
  31. ^ Lunfardo & Tango lyrics
  32. ^ Clarín article
  33. ^ www.wttc.travel Retrieved on 10 March 2008
  34. ^ Travel + Leisure Magazine worldsbest/2008 Retrieved on 9 July 2008
  35. ^ [3]
  36. ^ 'Avenida Rivadavia:Un largo recorrido de contrastes' by Nora Sánchez, Clarín, 2006-02-26
  37. ^ ADEFA
  38. ^ DNRPA
  39. ^ SS PP'!A1
  40. ^ Transportation Research Board, Buenos Aires Colectivo Buses and Experience with Privatization
  41. ^ Piette, Candice "Argentina Acts to End the Coin Crisis" http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7871111.stm
  42. ^ "Spare Change? There's None in Buenos Aires" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buenos_Aires#Buses
  43. ^ "Argentina Takes Steps to Combat Coin Shortage" http://www.pr-inside.com/argentina-takes-steps-to-combat-coin-r1042978.htm
  44. ^ La Nacion article
  45. ^ History: La Línea B (Spanish)
  46. ^ Argentina sets a new course. Railway Gazette International August 2007.
  47. ^ Buquebus
  48. ^ a b 50 sporting things you must do before you die, The Observer, 2004-04-04

[edit] External links

Look up Porteño in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

[edit] Newspapers

Coordinates: 34°36′13″S 58°22′54″W / 34.60361°S 58.38167°W / -34.60361; -58.38167

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