advertisement

On a street lined with impressive structures meant to rival the Champs-Elysées, these two buildings, grouped together on tours, are standouts that should not be missed. The Palacio de Gobierno, on the corner of Rivadavia and San Martín, is the new City Hall. The working office of the mayor of Buenos Aires, it is a white Beaux Arts building fronting the Plaza de Mayo on the block opposite the Cabildo, the old city hall. The building was originally constructed between 1891 and 1902, and it was expanded 10 years later.

The adjoining Casa de Cultura, a sumptuous gray granite building with bronze ornamentation, is the former home of the newspaper La Prensa, at one time the most important paper in Argentina. The paper was started by the Paz family, former owners of the palace on San Martín now occupied by the Círculo Militar. The Casa de Cultura is topped by a statue representing freedom of the press (suppressed in Argentina under many regimes). The clientele of the paper were largely wealthy oligarchs, and the building's beauty reflects this. The dark lobby even has extremely ornate payment-window stands. The most impressive room is the Salón Dorado, a French neoclassical masterpiece of gilded columns, painted ceilings, an ornate parquet floor, and a performance stage. Tours take visitors through this room and others throughout the building, but you should also ask for schedules of the various functions hosted here in the evenings, which are usually free. The building is now headquarters of the city's Office of Culture, and there's no finer home for it.