In the XVI century, the waters of the River Plate reached
the hill of the present San Martín square, where
there was a wharf. An hermitage called Saint Sebastian,
where spiritual retirements took place, was built in that
area. In the early 1700s, a countryhouse was built next
to the hermitage. It was known as the Retirement Countryhouse,
it was similar to the one that had the Kings of Spain
in Madrid, named “The Good Retirement” (“El
Buen retiro”). That is why the neighborhood is called
Retiro (Retirement). Some time later, because the countryhouse
was sold, a slave market was established. In 1726, due
to commercial differences between Spain and England the
market was closed and the area was abandoned until 1801
when the bullfight square which was in Montserrat neighborhood
was placed there. It held 10,000 spectators. Its contour
is still kept in San Martín square on Santa Fe
Avenue. Its walls were used as defense during the second
English Invasion in 1807. In that place there was a memorable
confrontation, so it received the name of the Field of
Glory. Also, in that place the grenadiers were instructed
by general José de San Martín and the barracks
replaced the bullfight square. From that moment the place
was known as Mars Field.
Because of the wharf that was described in a previous
paragraph, several industries such as soap factories,
salteries and tanneries were established in that area.
In 1826 under Bernardino Rivadavia’s presidence
the industries were moved to a different place so as not
to bother the neighbours. From that moment until 1874,
the place was used as a summer holiday resort. In 1856
the factory of the Primitive Gas Company, which was from
England, was built where it is the present Air Force Square.
It worked until 1909.
As a consequence of the yellow fever outbreak in the south
of the city in 1871, rich families started to establish
in the area. They built the palaces around the park and
therefore they transformed the neighboourhood for ever.
SAN MARTÍN SQUARE: it is surrounded
by del Libertador Avenue, Maipú Street (today
Crucero Gral. Belgrano St.), Santa Fe Av. and San Martín
St. It is a vey important square in the city of Buenos
Aires because of three reasons: its location, Florida,
a pedestrian street is born there, and because of its
hills. In the past there used to be a bullfight square,
a battlefield and the barracks of the San Martín’s
Mounted Grenadiers The square receives the present name
oficially on February 25, 1878, centenay of the birth
of the great man. The monument to San Martín,
made by the French artist Louis Joseph Daumas, was opened
on July 13, 1862.
TO THE HEROES OF MALVINAS: it is in San
Martín square, on del Libertador Av. It was opened
in 1990, in homage to the fallen in the Malvinas and South
Atlantic War. It is made up of 25 black marble plates which
have all the names of the soldiers that died in that battle
it is at 761 Arenales Street. It is a luxurious French style
building which was opened in 1905 as the residence of Mercedes
Castellanos de Anchorena. In 1936 it was acquired by the
government that established the State Deparment there. Nowadays
it is used to celebrate official ceremonies. In its facade,
the sculptures and the majestic iron doors stand out.
ANNEX OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT:
It is at 1212 Esmeralda Street. It is
a tall and modern building which was inaugurated in 1998.
There the administrative activities of the Department take
PAZ PALACE- MILITARY CIRCLE:
It is at 750 Santa Fe Av, if you want
a guided visit call on 4311-1071/9. It was built in 1912
as a residence for Dr. José C. Paz, founder of La
Prensa newspaper. In 1939 it was acquired by the Military
Circle. In this building you can also find the Argentinian
Arms Museum, which shows a general panorama of world armament
through time and the Military National Library. Its entrance
is at 1030 Maipú St.
HAEDO PALACE-NATIONAL PARKS
BUILDING: It is at 690 Santa Fe Av. and
Marcelo T. de Alvear, in a small block of irregular shape.
This building was built in 1880 as a residence for the Haedo
family. Nowadays it is used by National Parks Service.
It is on Florida and Marcelo T. de Alvear. It was opened
in 1909 to put up the distinguished visitors that would
arrive in Buenos Aires to celebrate the centenary of its
KAVANAGH BUILDING: It is at 1065 Florida
St. It was built in 1936 for Corina Kavanagh. In that
time it was the tallest building in Buenos Aires. It
has 30 stories and a height of 120 meters, it occupies
a surface of two thousands four hundred roofing square
meters cuadrados cubiertos. It has five stairs and one
hundred and five apartments occupied by about one thousand
people. An important detail to mention is that because
of the echelon of the different parts of the building,
30 % of the apartments have terrace balconies.
SACRAMENT CHURCH: It is at 1039
San Martín St. It was opened in 1916, and its
architects were the French men Coulomb and Chauvet,
who performed an eclectic architecture with romanic
They are surrounded by Leandro N. Alem Av., Córdoba
Av., Eduardo Madero Av. and San Martín St. They are
modern towers. Until 1961 an amusement park firstly known
as Japanese Park and later as Retiro Park used to be there.
AIR FORCE SQUARE:
It is opposite San Martín square. Until 1982,
it was called British Square, as a gratitude to the British
because of the donation of the towers that are in the middle
of the square. The name was changed due to the Malvinas War.
TOWER: It is in the middle of the
Air Force Square. It is popularly called English Tower.
It was donated to Argentina by British residents because
of the centenary of the May Revolution of 1810. It is
placed where there used to be the gas power plant that
distributed the fuel for public lighting. The fundamental
rock was placed in May, 1910 and the building was inaugurated
on May 24, 1916. It is 70 meters high. On the sixth
floor (35 meters high) there is a balcony where you
can see an amazing view of Retiro, North Dock and part
of the Ecological Reserve and the River Plate. The clock,
which has four quadrants of 4.40 meters of diameter
made of opaline, has five bronze bells. There are permanent
and temporary exhibitions on all the floors. You can
visit the tower and the balcony on the sixth floor from
Thursday to Sunday, 12.00 – 18.00. The entrance
from the balcony in the Monumental Tower.
RETIRO TRAIN STATION: It is on Dr. Ramos Mejía Av.,between Del Libertador
Av. and Antártida Argentina Av. Three different railways
finish there. They are:
-Ex Línea Mitre, which was inaugurated in 1915. Nowadays
it is called Trenes de Buenos Aires. Short distance trains
go to and come from Retiro (Tigre, Bartolomé Mitre
and José León Suarez), middle distance ones(Capilla
del Señor and Zárate) and long distance trians
(Rosario and Santa Fe)
-Ex Línea Belgrano, which was opened in 1913. Nowadays
it is Ferrovías. It has trains to Villa Rosa, in Pilar,
Province of Buenos Aires.
-Ex Línea San Martín, opened in 1886, the oldest
railway station, you can tell because it is made of wood and
iron unlike the other two. At present it is called Trenes
Metropolitanos and has trains to Pilar, Province of Buenos
BUS STATION OF THE CITY OF BUENOS
AIRES: It was opened in 1983. All the passenger
transport companies of middle and long distance gather here.
The buses travel to cities in Argentina and in bordering countries.
CANADA SQUARE: It is on Dr. Ramos Mejía Av. and Antártida Argentina
Av, across from the Air Force Square. In the middle of it
there is a totempole that stands out. It was made by carvers
who belonged to an Indian tribe in Columbia Británica,
Canadá. It is a group of carvings which represent mythological
animals. They are set in a 21-meter-high wooden pole. Totempoles
are originally from American and Canadian northeast coast
and represent theTribe’s protective and organizing emblem.
They are considered sacred and preside ceremonies related
to birth, marriage and death.