Argentina // Buenos Aires //

Plaza de Mayo

Packed with some of Buenos Aires’ best known historical landmarks, not least the presidential palace, the Plaza de Mayo is a microcosm of the city’s past: it’s been bombed by the military and crowded with Evita’s descamisados (literally “the shirtless ones”, or manual workers), while for many years it was the scene of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo’s weekly demonstration. Although it still often attracts small, noisy protests, including an eternal group of Malvinas/Falklands veterans demanding greater compensation, more often than not it’s sedately filled with gossiping old men batting away flocks of squawking pigeons while hawkers sell candied peanuts and Argentine flags. At its centre stands the Pirámide de Mayo, a snow-white obelisk erected in 1811 to mark the first anniversary of the May 25 Revolution, when a junta overthrew the Spanish viceroy, declared Buenos Aires’ independence from Spain and set about establishing the city’s jurisdiction over the rest of the territory. The headscarves painted on the ground around the pyramid echo those worn by the Madres. The plaza’s towering palm trees lend it all a wonderfully tropical feel.

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