A trip to the Argentine capital is not complete without perusing the palatial architecture that lines the streets. Buenos Aires has been dubbed the "Paris of South America" for its wide range of stately, European-style architecture. From Baroque-inspired churches to French-style buildings, beyond the famed presidential palace, there are countless historic buildings in Buenos Aires. Here are seven you shouldn't miss:
1. Teatro Colon
This symmetrical, millennial pink building is like something out of a Wes Anderson film. Inside, this opulent building is a 19th century opera house that has seen legendary singers like Maria Callas and Luciano Pavarotti take its palatial stage. It was restored in 2010 and stands as a beacon of Argentinian design. It also has notable materials shipped from Italy, like marble, mirror and Venetian glass for mosaics. They have tours in English, so check their website for bookings.
2. Catedral Metropolitana
This grand church is just steps away from the city's National History Museum in the city centre of San Nicolas. It’s known as the place where Pope Francis came to pray and is the main cathedral of Buenos Aires. Once you step inside this 18th century gem, it reveals a stunning collection European mosaics, paintings and stained glass, as well as a golden light projected on its ceiling, giving it a grandiose vibe.
3. Basilica de Nuestra Señora Del Pilar
This ornate church is somewhat Venetian in its gold-encrusted baroque design. Just steps away from the city's famous Recoleto cemetery. It's the go-to place for high society couples to wed, and this cathedral is steeped in history and is free to visit. It was built in 1732 and is filled with countless marble sculptures, a sacred altar, and religious artifacts.
4. Palacio Barolo
This beautiful building was first used as a fashion headquarters for a textile company in the 20th century and was designed to look like a building from Dante's Divine Comedy. The basement and ground floor represent the gates of hell, while the levels above represent purgatory. The highest area, which goes up to the 22nd floor, represents heaven, and are covered entirely in white. Tours in English and Spanish are available of this building, listed as a historic monument in 1997.
This historic building on the waterfront looks like a church, but it isn't. It's home to the National Museum of the Cabildo, which traces the history of Argentina's independence from Spain the 18th century. As the city’s former town hall, there are weapons, official outfits and hand-penned letters, detailing the 1810 May Revolution. Catching a guided tour here will bring to light many overlooked details from the city’s history.
6. Palacio de Aguas Corrientes
In English, this palace is called the “water palace.” This palace is enormous, it spans an entire city block, so it cannot be missed. Originally designed as a water pumping station, it was built in the style of a French renaissance palace and is covered in thousands of terra cotta ceramic tiles imported from England. The facade, facing Cordoba Avenue, is unlike most in the city; it's washed in the colours of orange, blue and green.
7. Casa Rosada
Another grandiose pastel building, this one is dubbed the "Pink House." Set across from the famed Plaza de Mayo, this once-housed palace is now home to the office of the Argentinian president. It also has a section which is home to the Casa Rosada Museum, which traces the country's political history. From oil paintings of past leaders to memorabilia and old photos, there are countless objects like old furniture, swords and books used throughout Argentinian history.