Beyond Tango, Here Are 12 Amazing Facts You Didn’t Know About Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina – Atlantic Ocean 6
Port of Buenos Aires, Argentina
The main maritime port of Argentina and operated by the Administracion General de Puertos (General Port Administration), Port of Buenos Aires is the leading transhipment point for foreign trade in the country. It is located at barrio (or district) Retiro in Buenos Aires known as Puerto Nuevo and handles about 11 million metric tons of cargo every year. It also handles ferry service to the Uruguayan cities of Colomia del Sacramento and Montevideo, then to the famous weekend resort Tigre, here in Argentina.
Port of Buenos Aires rests on a delta of Rio de la Plata and is about 240 km. from the river’s mouth to the Atlantic Ocean. The commercial and industrial choke point of Argentina, this port is connected to Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay by a system of navigable rivers, thus considered as the distribution hub of the South American continent. A multi-purpose port, Port of Buenos Aires handles cargo, Ro-Ro vessels, containers, dry bulk, liquefied bulk, liquefied gas, breakbulk and fishing vessels.
Brief History Of Buenos Aires:
Officially known as the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, it is the largest city as well as the capital of Argentina. Located on the western shore of Rio de la Plata river on the southeastern coast of South America, its name literary means “fair winds”. But the original use of the Buenos Aires name has been attributed to the Madonna of Bonacia in Sardinia, Italy known as Real de Nuestro Seniora del Buen Ayre, the patron of sailors.
It was first founded in 1536 by Spanish sailors led by Pedro de Mendoza, named the place Nuestra Seniora Santa Maria del Buen Aire (Our Lady of St. Mary of the Good Wind) and was made the first governor-general of the Rio de la Plata region. Alas, not long after they were forced out by the Indian tribes and retreated to nearby Asuncion (now a part of Paraguay). Fifty years later, another Spaniard, Juan de Garay arrived and settled at the estuary of Riachuelo River and called the area Ciudad de Trinidad in 1580. The area grew at a modest pace and was a good trading port but it suffered from the stiff organization of the Spanish empire in South America and became just a part of the Viceroyalty of Lima, Peru.
Buenos Aires grew rapidly in its economy during the 17th-18th centuries due to its port. The British tried to conquer it at the start of the 19th century but failed and in 1810, it tried to free from Spanish yoke but after 6 years, it was granted its freedom. Mass immigration to this city happened towards the end of the 1800s through its port where workers mostly from Europe were brought in to work at the railways and vineyards. The most famous event in the city’s history was the reign of President Juan Peron from 1946 who was then very popular among the working class together with his legendary wife, Eva Duarte Peron or simply Evita. After his 2nd coup in 1976, Buenos Aires suffered from a brutal military dictatorship until 1983, and an economic failure in 2001 but these days it is now a stable and calmer city.
From 1996-1998 then in 2000 (Knock Dun, Knock Muir and Knock Stocks ships), I was lucky to have set foot on Buenos Aires in Argentina via the Strait of Magellan to the U.S.A. Better known as the “Paris of Latin America”, this city that never sleeps is a pulsating and passionate one. A melting pot of cultures, there is an eclectic mix of influences as seen in the city’s architecture, food, and its people. There are indeed dozens of reasons to explore this city and beyond tango, here are 12 amazing facts you didn’t know about Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1. It has been discovered two times.
While cities and countries around the world were established only once, this city has been discovered twice, an amazing fact you didn’t know about Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina.
First in 1536 by Pedro Mendoza with his fellow sailors from Spain who called the place “Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires”, then in 1580 by Juan de Garay, also a Spanish who retained the name of the area given by Mendoza and added Ciudad de la Santisima Trinidad y Puerto de Santa Maria Buenos Aires.
In the 17th century, the residents shortened it to just Buenos Aires which is still in use even at modern times.
2. The local residents are called “portenios” or people of the port.
Since most of its residents were immigrants from Europe who arrived by boat at the port, they are called “portenios” (people of the port), an amazing fact you didn’t know about Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina.
They tend to consider themselves more as Europeans in character , rather than Latin American. And portenios, being people of the port from Europe see themselves as having identity that is quite different from other Latin Americans as a whole.
3. Tango was originally a “prostitute dance”.
The elegant tango originated in the brothels and working class districts of Buenos Aires like La Boca and San Telmo. It was considered then as an “offensive dance” until music pioneers like Argentinian Carlos Gabriel introduced the dance in Paris. It became an instant hit which the world embraced and an amazing fact you didn’t know about Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The tango was meant to dramatize the relationship between the prostitute and the brothel-keeper (pimp).
4. It has the widest avenue in the world, the “Avenida 9 de Julio”.
Named after the day when Argentina won its freedom from Spain, July 9 (or 9 de Julio), this avenue is the widest in the world, an amazing fact you didn’t know about Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina. It consist of 16 lanes and 460 ft. wide and illogical for pedestrians to cross it at one time. A sight to watch when the whole avenue is on a bumper-to-bumper mode during the rush hours.
Most of the streets in Buenos Aires were named after women as well.
5. The University of Buenos Aires has produced 4 Nobel Prize winners, numerous presidents and the revolutionary cum T-shirt icon, Che Guevara.
The largest university in Argentina and ranked 2nd in Latin America, University of Buenos Aires was the Alma Mater of 4 Nobel Prize winners and several presidents of Argentina, an amazing fact you didn’t know about Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina.
And although he was famous in Cuba, Che Guevara studied medicine first in the University of Buenos Aires before he became a revered revolutionary then a T-Shirt icon.
6. Its most famous son, Jorge Mario Borgoglio a.k.a. Pope Francis was once a bouncer at a nightclub.
Yes, you heard it right. Before he entered the seminary, our good Pope Francis was once a bouncer at a nightclub, an amazing fact you didn’t know about Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Born and raised in this city, you can visit his childhood home and the schools he attended in the neighborhood of Flores in Buenos Aires.
7. Recoleta Cemetery is actually the most explored site in this city because of Evita.
Although she said: “don’t cry for me Argentina”, Eva Duarte Peron even in death is still very much adored by the city where she was the champion for workers’ rights. A film actress and a former First Lady, hated by some but loved by so much more became the symbol of strength and resistance in Argentina before her death in 1952.
Buried at Recoleta Cemetery, this is the most visited attraction as people come to pay tribute to her final resting place, an amazing fact you didn’t know about Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina.
8. It is a city of steak lovers – asado.
Eat, stay, love. And every time people come to Buenos Aires, its celebrated asado (steak) is a culinary must-have. No other words can describe this city more than its ubiquitous parilla (steak house) and its grilled meat of course.
Here is a city of steak-lovers’ rite of passage where you will indulge into a juicy cut of bife de chorizo (sirloin), lomo (tenderloin) or ojo de bife (rib-eye), an amazing fact you didn’t know about Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina.
9. Subte, its subway station is the oldest and one of the most aesthetic subway systems in the world.
Buenos Aires was the 13th city in the world (1913) to have built a subway system and the oldest subway trucks still in service that ran on its historic Line A until it decided to replace them in 2013.
In addition to that, Subte is a gallery of urban art with 450 artistic interpositions from 200 artists at stations across the network, an amazing fact you didn’t know about Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina.
10. Home of the national sport called “pato”.
Football is the passion in Buenos Aires, no doubt about it. But there is an unfamiliar sport called “pato” which is actually the national sport in Argentina. It is a game played on horseback and has elements of both polo and basketball and uses a live duck (pato in Spanish) inside of a basket instead of a ball, an amazing fact you didn’t know about Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The first team to reach its goal will be declared the winner. It has been banned at some point as it is a form of “cruelty to animals” but it is still played today in Buenos Aires with a less violent version and the use of ducks is now prohibited. President Peron declared it as a national sport in 1953.
11. The first city in the world to use finger prints in forensic evidence.
In 1892, the district of Necochea in Buenos Aires was shook up by the gruesome murder of 2 children and since there were no witnesses to the crime, the local police were unable to pin down the suspect. But using a bloody fingerprint on a door handle, a local detective found out that the murderer was the kids’ mother and eventually confessed to the crime.
This is the first city in the world to use finger printing for scene-of-the-crime evidence, an amazing fact you didn’t know about Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina. And the great history of finger printing analysis started with this.
12. It has a pink palace called “Casa Rosada”.
It used to be the presidential headquarters where Juan and Eva Peron used to speak to the crowds. Casa Rosada represents the combination of 2 political parties in the late 19th century: one represents the color red and the other, white, thus called “pink palace”.
Although there is a more gruesome version as to why it is colored pink. Casa Rosada is actually painted with real cow’s blood which was a common practice at that time. It’s to protect buildings from the damaging effects of heat and humidity, an amazing fact you didn’t know about Evita’s Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Elegant yet always a bustling city, Buenos Aires summarizes the essence of Argentina. Known for its historic places, the offbeat and football, this city is truly legendary. One day, Buenos Aires will wait for you with its amazing asados, red wine and numerous sites to occupy you for days on end. A city boasting a mix of South American and European flavors, don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Mantengase seguro y buena suerte.