This 3-hour Buenos Aires City Tour explores the city's golden age at the beginning of the 20th century. In the company of an architect or urban historian, we will examine Argentine national identity and trace its expression in the architectural and urban tissue of its “Belle Epoque,” when Buenos Aires became known as the “Paris of South America" and the expression riche comme un Argentin—as rich as an Argentine—was commonplace.
Buenos Aires City Tour - Wealth and Prestige
Our walk will begin at the legislative end of Avenida de Mayo, in front of the National Congress, which will allow us to understand Argentina's development during the 1930s, a time when the country grew rich due to the exportation of agricultural products, and to place this within a broader international context. We will then visit possibly the best example of this wealth at what was then the tallest building in Latin America: the stunning Palacio Barolo. Here we may discuss the ideas of how Argentine citizens chose to present themselves both publicly and privately, a topic which will lead us to a public building designed to show and show-off: the famous Teatro Colón. We'll trace the importance of various visual presentations, onstage and as well as within the urban context of public issues such as education, hygiene, and infrastructure. We may then further develop these themes with a look at other nearby buildings such as the Palacio Pizzurno, Escuela Roca, or the Water Company Palace (Palacio de Aguas Corrientes).
Looking for a broader overview of the city's history? See our Buenos Aires History Tour
, which focuses on the political and cultural movements that took place during the Belle Epoque.
Recoleta & Retiro Neighborhoods
We'll work our way to the most elegant districts of Buenos Aires: Recoleta and Retiro, the destinations of those who fled the southern parts of town to escape the 1871 yellow fever epidemic. As we stroll along Avenida Alvear, through Plaza Pellegrini and Plaza San Martín, we will be able to admire the private palaces of high Argentine society and its great affinity for the 'Parisian style.' We will then explore some other structures both civil and private, like the exquisite example of industrial architecture: the impressive Retiro Train Station. It will give us the opportunity to not only appreciate the steel construction and decoration, but also to examine the foreign influences in Argentine economy and infrastructure at the turn of the century, and the incredible effect this means of transport had on the society’s mobility.
By the end of our walk, we will emerge with a strong grasp of the city’s history and urban shaping through its golden-era architecture as well as an understanding of the complex national identity in Argentina. This walk is an excellent pair to our Evita Tour
, which discusses the political climate of the 1940’s and 50’s.
Does this walk include the Teatro Colon? This walk usually includes discussing the Teatro Colon from the outside, however, we do not visit the interior. The theater offers its own tours which run several times per hour in English, no reservation is necessary.