You can not make a trip to Buenos Aires without visiting its center of all major political events in modern history, Plaza de Mayo.
Named for the May Revolution of 1810, which led to Argentina’s independence from Spain, the plaza has been a focal point of political life almost since it’s creation. In 1945 a mass demonstration here forced the release of Juan Perón, who later went on to marry Eva Perón and serve as president of Argentina three times. This is also where the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo started their weekly demonstrations (since 1977). Originally carrying signs of the “desaparecidos”, the children who had disappeared (usually because they had an opposing political view) during the Dirty War from 1976 – 1983, the mothers sought to bring light the injustices of the military dictatorship. Today they still march to highlight political issues they see as cause for concern.
The day we went to the plaza was a beautiful spring/summer day, and there were no demonstrations so it was quite pleasant and not too crowded. However, you could see the fences that help keep the political demonstrations, which still happen on a regular basis, in check. In addition, there were several stands which sold Argentinian flags and other gear to build on the strong affinity people have for their country.
While at the plaza, we could not resist going in and taking a quick peek at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires, the city’s cathedral. Not only is it a beautiful cathedral, filled with fine art work, impressive crypts, and the always guarded mausoleum of San Martin, it happens to be the cathedral Pope Francis presided over as Cardinal before he was elected as pope. While not a strict Catholic myself, I’ve been extremely impressed with Pope Francis’ strong call for compassion, so it was exciting to visit this cathedral in his homeland.
It’s a lovely and history rich place; one you should make sure to stop by if you are in the area.
All photos taken by Atma Photography