Avenida de Mayo

Avenida de Mayo, one of the main streets in Buenos Aires, has lots of attractions between Plaza de Mayo and Plaza del Congreso. It separates El Centro and Microcentro from Barrio Monserrat.

I started my walk down the street at the Congreso Nacional, the imposing Argentinian National Congress building built in 1906. It was modeled after the US Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Congreso Nacional in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Congreso Nacional

Congreso Nacional in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Congreso Nacional

Plaza del Congreso, a public space in front of the Congreso Nacional, contains a beautiful fountain. It’s called Monumento Dos Congresos and was completed in 1914 by Belgian sculptor Jules Lagae.

Plaza del Congreso in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Plaza del Congreso

Monumento Dos Congresos in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Monumento Dos Congresos

in Plaza del Congreso in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Monumento Dos Congresos

One interesting building on the north side of Plaza del Congreso is the Auditoría General de la Nación (General Auditor’s Office). It was formerly the Instituto Biológico Argentino and was built in 1924. The auditor has occupied the building since 1997.

Auditoría General de la Nación in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Auditoría General de la Nación

Another is Confitería Molino (Windmill Café) with its signature windmill on the tower. It opened in 1916 and was built by Italian architect Francisco Gianotti. It was one of the tallest buildings in the city when it opened and was a popular place for politicians to meet and drink coffee.

Confitería Molino in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Confitería Molino

The large open space is actually split into three plazas, with the section east of Avenida Montevideo called Plaza Mariano Moreno and tiny Plaza Lorea at the northeast corner. Plaza Mariano Moreno was named after Mariano Moreno, a hero of the Argentinian May Revolution. There’s a monument to him in the plaza as well as a lot of sculptures, including the third of only eight original casts of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker. Plaza Mariano Moreno  also has a small monolith marking Kilometer Zero for all Argentine national highways.

Plaza Mariano Moreno in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Plaza Mariano Moreno

Plaza Mariano Moreno in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Plaza Mariano Moreno

At the east end of Plaza Mariano Moreno, on the south side of Avenida de Mayo, are two very interesting buildings. The first one is Edificio La Inmobiliaria, built in 1910. It was built to house the first insurance company in Buenos Aires, founded in 1893. When the original owner died in 1920, his heirs sold the company and the building was occupied by different tenants thereafter. Many of the original design elements have been lost to neglect and time, including when one of the copulas was severely damaged in a severe storm in 1994.

Edificio La Inmobiliaria in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Edificio La Inmobiliaria

The second building is Palacio Barolo. Built in 1923 by Italian architect Mario Palanti, it’s supposed to resemble Dante’s Divine Comedy. The ground floor and basement represent hell, the first through 14th floors are purgatory, and the 15th through 22nd represent heaven. I don’t see it, but it’s still an impressive building. When completed, it was the tallest building in South America. Its twin, Palacio Salvo, was built in Montevideo and is of greater height. It’s also possible to see the lighthouse on top of Palacio Barolo all the way in Montevideo.

Palacio Barolo in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Palacio Barolo

Continuing down Avenida de Mayo, you’ll see plenty of very nice buildings, including the Teatro Avenida and Ex Hotel París. Teatro Avenida opened in 1908 and enjoyed a successful run until a sharp decline with the rise of Argentina’s military dictatorship in 1976. It was closed in 1977 and burned down in 1979. It was rebuilt in 1994 and has been open ever since.

Teatro Avenida in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Teatro Avenida

Ex Hotel París in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ex Hotel París

Keep walking down Avenida de Mayo and you’ll see more buildings (yes, it gets old). This is probably a good time to stop and rest at Café Tortoni. It’s one of the oldest establishments in Buenos Aires, dating back to 1858. It was a popular haunt of the city’s writers, poets, and musicians. If you make reservations for the evening, you will also be able to catch a tango show there. Continuing down Avenida de Mayo will finally bring you to Plaza de Mayo.

Café Tortoni in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Café Tortoni

Avenida de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Avenida de Mayo

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