Argentina means in Italian “(made) of silver, silver coloured”, probably borrowed from the Old French adjective argentine “(made) of silver.” The first written use of the name in Spanish can be traced to La Argentina, a 1602 poem by Martín del Barco Centenera describing the region. Although “Argentina” was already in common usage by the 18th century, the country was formally named “Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata” by the Spanish Empire, and “United Provinces of the Río de la Plata” after independence.
Europeans first arrived in the region with the 1502 voyage of Amerigo Vespucci. The Spanish navigators Juan Díaz de Solís and Sebastian Cabot visited the territory that is now Argentina in 1516 and 1526, respectively. In 1536 Pedro de Mendoza founded the small settlement of Buenos Aires, which was abandoned in 1541. Further colonization efforts came from Paraguay, Peru and Chile, and as such it became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru until the creation of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776 with Buenos Aires as its capital.
On 9 July 1816, the Congress of Tucumán formalized the Declaration of Independence. One year later General Martín Miguel de Güemes stopped royalists on the north, and General José de San Martín took an army across the Andes and secured the independence of Chile.
Date Visited: 10/17/2007
Designation: National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site #303, Natural World Wonder
Location: Ruta 101 Km 142, N3370 Puerto Iguazú, Misiónes, Argentina
Coordinates: -25.684410, -54.454217
Description: Iguazú Falls or Iguaçu Falls; Guarani are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. Together, they make up the largest waterfall system in the world. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The Iguazu River rises near the heart of the city of Curitiba. For most of its course, the river flows through Brazil; however, most of the falls are on the Argentine side. Below its confluence with the San Antonio River, the Iguazu River forms the boundary between Argentina and Brazil. The name “Iguazú” comes from the Guarani or Tupi words “y,” meaning “water”, and “ûasú,” meaning “big.” Legend has it that a deity planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In a rage, the deity sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall. The first European to record the existence of the falls was the Spanish Conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541. The Iguazu Falls are located where the Iguazu River tumbles over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, 23 kilometres (14 mi) upriver from the Iguazu’s confluence with the Paraná River. Numerous islands along the 1.7 miles edge divide the falls into many separate waterfalls and cataracts, varying between 60 and 82 m (197 and 269 ft) high. The number of these smaller waterfalls fluctuates from 150 to 300, depending on the water level. About half of the river’s flow falls into a long and narrow chasm called the Devil’s Throat or Garganta del Diablo.
Description: La Recoleta Cemetery is a cemetery located in the Recoleta neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It contains the graves of notable people, including Eva Perón, presidents of Argentina, Nobel Prize winners, the founder of the Argentine Navy, and a granddaughter of Napoleon. In 2011, the BBC hailed it as one of the world’s best cemeteries, and in 2013, CNN listed it among the 10 most beautiful cemeteries in the world. Set in 14 acres, the site contains 4691 vaults, all above ground, of which 94 have been declared National Historical Monuments by the Argentine government and are protected by the state. The entrance to the cemetery is through neo-classical gates with tall Doric columns. The cemetery contains many elaborate marble mausoleums, decorated with statues, in a wide variety of architectural styles such as Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Baroque, and Neo-Gothic, and most materials used between 1880 and 1930 in the construction of tombs were imported from Paris and Milan. The entire cemetery is laid out in sections like city blocks, with wide tree-lined main walkways branching into sidewalks filled with mausoleums. These mausoleums are still being used by rich families in Argentina that have their own vault and keep their deceased there. While many of the mausoleums are in fine shape and well-maintained, others have fallen into disrepair. The tomb of Liliana Crociati de Szaszak, due to its unusual design, is of special interest.
BASILICA NUESTRA SENORA DE PILAR
Description: The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Recoleta, Buenos Aires was built as part of the Franciscan monastery, completed in 1732 and dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar. It is the second-oldest church in Buenos Aires, and has served as a parish church following the expulsion of the Franciscans in 1821.
Date Visited: 10/14/2007
Designation: Point of Interest
Location: Av. Don Pedro de Mendoza 1929, C1169 CABA, Argentina
Coordinates: -34.639366, -58.362568
Description: Caminito (“little walkway” or “little path” in Spanish) is a street museum and a traditional alley, located in La Boca, a neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The place acquired cultural significance because it inspired the music for the famous tango “Caminito” (1926), composed by Juan de Dios Filiberto. In 1954, the railroad closed, and the area where Caminito was became a landfill and the neighborhood’s eyesore. Over the following three years, Argentine artist Benito Quinquela Martín who lived nearby, painstakingly prepared the walls facing the abandoned street, applying pastel colors, and by 1960 had a stage put up at the southern end; the wooden-plank stage was replaced with a nearby theatre house in 1972. The artist was a personal friend of Argentine tango composer Juan de Dios Filiberto, who created a well-known 1926 tune by the same name.
Description: The building was designed by architects Peró and Torres Armengol for impresario Max Glücksmann (1875-1946), and opened as a theatre called Teatro Gran Splendid in May 1919. The ecleticist building features ceiling frescoes painted by the Italian artist Nazareno Orlandi and caryatids sculpted by Troiano Troiani, whose work also graces the cornice along the Palacio de la Legislatura de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires. The theatre had a seating capacity of 1,050, and staged a variety of performances, including appearances by the tango artists Carlos Gardel, Francisco Canaro, Roberto Firpo and Ignacio Corsini. Glücksmann started his own radio station in 1924 (Radio Splendid), which broadcast from the building where his recording company, Nacional Odeón, made some of the early recordings of the great tango singers of the day. In the late twenties the theatre was converted into a cinema, and in 1929 showed the first sound films presented in Argentina. The ornate former theatre was leased by Grupo Ilhsa in February 2000. Ilhsa, through Tematika, owns El Ateneo and Yenny booksellers, as well as the El Ateneo publishing house. The building was subsequently renovated and converted into a book and music shop under the direction of architect Fernando Manzone; the cinema seating was removed and in its place book shelves were installed. Following refurbishment works, El Ateneo Grand Splendid became the group’s flagship store, and in 2007 sold over 700,000 books; over a million people walk through its doors annually. Chairs are provided throughout the building, including the still-intact theatre boxes, where customers can dip into books before purchase, and there is now a café on the back of what was once the stage. The ceiling, the ornate carvings, the crimson stage curtains, the auditorium lighting and many architectural details remain. Despite the changes, the building still retains the feeling of the grand theatre it once was. The Guardian, a prominent British periodical, named El Ateneo Grand Splendid second in its 2008 list of the world’s ten best bookshops. In 2019, it was named the “world’s most beautiful bookstore” by the National Geographic.
EL MONUMENTO A LA BANDERA ARGENTINA
Description: The National Flag Memorial (Monumento Nacional a la Bandera) in Rosario, Argentina, is a monumental complex. It was inaugurated on June 20, 1957, the anniversary of the death of Manuel Belgrano, creator of the Argentine flag, who raised it for the first time on an island on the opposite shore of the river on February 27, 1812. The complex was built mostly using stone from the Andes, under the direction of architects Ángel Guido and Alejandro Bustillo, and the sculptors José Fioravanti, Alfredo Bigatti and Eduardo Barnes. The Monumento has three parts: the Tower (Torre) or mast, 70 metres high, which commemorates the Revolution of May 1810 and houses Manuel Belgrano’s crypt in its base; the Civic Courtyard (Patio Cívico), which symbolizes the effort of the organization of the state (the Courtyard is used for massive open-air shows), and the Triumphal Propylaeum (Propileo Triunfal), representing the Nation as organized after the 1853 Constitution. Under the Propylaeum there is the Honour Room for the Flags of America (where the flags of all American nations are displayed).
SANTUARIO BASILICA CATEDRAL NUESTRA SENORA DEL ROSARIO
Description: The Cathedral Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary is a minor basilica and cathedral dedicated to the local Virgin of the Rosary, in the city of Rosario, province of Santa Fe, Argentina. It is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Rosario. The basilica is located on the oldest part of the city, at the corner of Buenos Aires St. and Córdoba St., besides the Palacio de los Leones (that is, the municipal building), across the pedestrian path called Pasaje Juramento (“Oath Passage”) that leads into the National Flag Memorial. The basilica faces Plaza 25 de Mayo (May 25th Square), also bordered by the Central Post Office. The first parish was built in this site in 1731, at a time when Rosario was no more than a small scattered village on the shore of the Paraná River. The image of the Virgin of the Rosary was brought from Cádiz, Spain, in 1773. The basilica dates from the last part of the 19th century; it was first projected in 1882 and its construction started in 1887. Its altar is of Italian origin, and it was made of Carrara marble. The mother church was officially named a cathedral at the canonical erection of the Diocese of Rosario, on 20 April 1934, and it became a basilica on 7 October 1966.