Streets and avenues: Montevideo, Uruguay, Córdoba, Mario Bravo, Coronel Diaz, General Las Heras, Tagle, via del Ferrocarril General Bartolomé Mitre, Jerónimo Salguero, traza de la autopista costera hasta la prolongación virtual de Montevideo.
A Little bit of history on the neighborhood
It takes the name from the convent of Recoletos Fathers and from the church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, inaugurated on 12th October 1972. The convent became the Buenos Aires Hospital and later on in 1958 into a beggar’s asylum, nowadays on its site you will find the Centro Cultural Recoleta, which if you are in the mood for culture is ideal, you can enjoy art displays, concerts, theatrical performances, workshops and festivals, such as BAFICI, dedicated to independent cinema. Recoleta is also home to the magnificent Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, displaying work by Goya and Rembrandt and offering free entrance from Tuesday to Sunday, and the funky-looking Biblioteca Nacional.
Today, Recoleta is characterized by its elegantly dressed residents seen meandering along exclusive avenues and dining in chic cafés. Moreover, with its architectural and cultural history, the neighbourhood forms an important part of the city’s tourism trail. This area of the city has been widely developed when the yellow fever devastated San Telmo and the wealthy families moved here. Palaces for these families have been built by French architectures with materials brought from Europe, this was by 1880s, years of the Argentinean belle époque.
Things to see, do or both
The standout highlight is the Recoleta Cemetery. Covering just under 55,000sqm, the cemetery is a mini-village of tombs, some lavish and others crumbling, which serve as the resting places of Argentina’s most important families, the fathers of the country, there are some other names such as Eva Peron’s. The legendary First Lady and writer Jose Hernandez, author of the famous “Martin Fierro”. Attached to the cemetery is the brilliant-white church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, which symbolizes the heart of the barrio. Though, the neighbourhood is much larger and it´s a reference to high income families, there are many small properties rented by students who came to Buenos Aires from the rest of the country to study, and they choose Recoleta to be near the Universities and within a safe neighbourhood.
If you simply want to relax, Recoleta boasts its fair share of green spaces. Plaza Francia is a popular weekend spot for bohemian types and every Saturday and Sunday hosts the artisan market Feria de Artesanos de Plaza Francia, commonly known as the ‘Hippy Fair’. Crossing Avenida de Libertador – one of the city’s principal avenues – you can kick back in the well-kept gardens of Parque Thays or Plaza Justo Jose de Urquiza, the latter of which houses a rotating sculpture display and stretches to the border of Palermo.
A visit to Recoleta would not be complete without seeing its shopping areas. You can check out the latest in local decoration style and design at Buenos Aires Design or splurge in the up market stores scattered along the opulent Avenida Alvear. And within Recoleta, though it´s almost in Retiro neighbourhood not forget to visit Patio Bullrich, nowadays a design shopping mall, if you are on a budget trip avoid, particularity of Patio Bullrich is it was once market for live cattle and architecture and style has been kept for the building as it was.
Deutsch Hospital, on Pueyrredon 1640, is considered one of the largest outside Germany, its construction goes back to 1878 by architects Moog, Bunge and Schreiner.
La Cueva (bar-teatro)
On Pueyrredón1723, La Cueva was placed on a basement. Originally it was “Jamaica Cabaret”, named later on “El Caimán” and afterwards “Cueva de Pasarotus”. During the period it worked under this last name, it was a meeting point for porteños jazz musicians, stage of frequent concerts and jam sessions. In 1964 it has been refurbished under the name of “La Cueva” in English the Cave in case you didn´t figure it out already and turned into a place where it was played jazz, beat and rock, frequented by consecrated musicians and by future celebrities of the movement it was going to be known as “Rock Nacional” (National Rock). From 1966, in the peak of dictatorship of the Argentinian Revolution, the police kept a strong persecution against the place, the owners, its artists and public. Procedures and evictions by Morality and Toxicology were frequent until in 1967 after many criminal procedures and contraventions a judge closed it down definitely.
Importance of the “La Cueva”
“La Cueva” was one of the epicentres around which the Spanish sang Argentinian rock was born.
Many of its nowadays famous musicians were often visitors and there they sang their compositions. Within the most frequent personalities we can mention Sandro and Billy Bond (owner and accountable for the club), Lito Nebbia, Miguel Abuelo, Oscar Moro, Moris, Javier Martínez, Alejandro Medina, Pajarito Zaguri, Carlos Mellino, Tanguito,Horacio Martínez, Ciro Fogliata, Charly Camino and the poets and journalists Pipo Lernoud and Miguel Grinberg. Many music bands have been formed here: Nebbia, Fogliatta and Moro formed Los Gatos; Javier Martínez, Manal; Miguel Abuelo, Los Abuelos de la Nada; Alejandro Medina and Mellino, Los Seasons. It was a habit the assistants to these meetings at La Cueva would end the day having breakfast at La Perla del Once, other mythical bar placed just in front of Plaza Miserere, where Nebbia and Tanguito composed the first hymn of the Argentinean rock: La Balsa.
La Cueva was so much referred to Tanguito (José Alberto Iglesias, author of La Balsa and one of the first figures of Rock Nacional. With episodes of his life Marcelo Pineyro shoot “Tango Feroz” in 1993, movie that has been starred by Fernán Mirás.
In the intersection of Avenida Las Heras and Avenida Pueyrredón you will find the monument to Guillermo Rawson, important during the welsh colonization in the Province of Chubut and First President of the Red Cross.
On 1968 it was opened the restaurant El Lagar del Virrey on Ayacucho 1669, where subterranean tunnels of the City have been discovered. The place was later closed down and all traces of them have been lost.
In front of, at Ayacucho 1690 there is nowadays a Public School “Juan José Castelli” known for pioneering double schooling.
In 1995, a fair that was functioning in the neighborhoud has been demolished. On 1996, it was opened the Manuel Mujica Lainez (1910-1984) Square on its site which includes a pyramid (Vicente López and Junín). The Building housing the Uruguayan Embassy has been built by the architects Mario Paysé Reyes and Perla Estable. It has bas-reliefs by Edwin Studer, murals by Julio Uruguay Alpu and sculptures by José Luis Zorrilla San Martín among others. It has been built in 1983. And its on 1907 Las Heras Avenue.
On 2214 Las Heras Avenue you will see a building looking like a non-concluded cathedral. It´s in neo-gothic style, it may have had a central tower of 120 metres height and two lateral towers of sixty meters each. The works were stopped in 1914 cause of the economic situation and the First World War. They re-started in 1918, the works continued until 1938. Initially it was house to the Law and Social Sciences University. Nowadays it houses the Engineering University of Buenos Aires.
The San Agustin Church was built on 1910, it´s neo-gothic style and is placed on 2560 Las Heras Avenue.
Near the Rivadavia Hospital you will find Paseo Bollini, which is 2 blocks long from Pacheco de Melo to French and keep some kind of vintage city.
Plaza Vicente López
It was once one of the dodgy areas of the city. It has been called “Hueco de las Cabecitas” as sheep and rams were killed there. There was a lake and a brickyard’s oven.
From before 1896 its name was Vicente Lopez, The statue of the creator of the National Anthem may have placed there by 1890.
Santa Fe y Callao
All the way on Santa Fe Avenue from Montevideo street to Coronel Díaz Avenue belongs to Recoleta and was called before la Ruta del Norte San Gregorio or “narrow street” and in 1822 Bernardino Rivadavia called it Santa Fe. Famous for the Spring Day Celebration on 21st September every year. It was years before the limit of the city as it was called “Camino de la Circunvalación”. It was one of the first avenues after Avenida de Mayo where buildings of domes and pizarra ceilings have been constructed.
Petit Café was on Santa Fé and Callao and closed on February 1973, it was part of the city history. On 1979 an attempt of reopening it, did not succeed. Petit Café was a commercial joint venture of previous waiters at Confiteria El Aguila, which disappeared as well. Their frequent customers were young distinguished people. The well-know term “el petitero” was born here to define the Petit Café habitués.
On 1860 Santa Fe you will find the Ateneo Book Store, even if not interested in buying any visit it, it was since 1919 the Grand Splendid Theatre, house of previously called Teatro Nacional Norte. The ceiling is decorated by painters Nazareno Orlandi and Decoroso Bonifanti.
The building housing the “Colegio de Escribanos” on 1521 Callao Avenue goes back to 1866. On its theatre is kept the curtain that has been painted by artist Raul Soldi for a version of the play “Las mujeres sabias” (Wisdom women) by Moliere, played in 1964 at Teatro General San Martin on Corrientes 1530.
Santa Fe y Pueyrredón
The parish of Nuestra Señora del Carmelo is a very characteristic temple of the barrio. Here it is venerated as well Our Lady of Comoroto, protector of Venezuela. This was due to the strong presence of Colombian, and Venezuelan students living here around the 50s. For many different reasons, they were arriving to Buenos Aires for studying and they were accommodated nearby. Venezuelans brought their protector. The parish is on 2465 Marcelo T. De Alvear.
Avenida Santa Fe y Anchorena
The oldest foreign school opened in Buenos Aires was the Colegio Germania, founded by initiative of a group of Deutsch gentlemen who on 1842 requested from the Evangelic Association of Bremen the delivery of a Deutsch language professor. School was opened on 1843. The school was firstly housed on 1162 Ecuador.
Arenales and Santa Fe Avenue
Arenales street from Cerrito to Callao Avenue is an important shopping area. On populated Santa Fe Avenue you can visit many commercial galleries.
On 1440 Santa Fe Avenue where they sell wool articles the Movie-Theatre Versalles remain intact in its inside.
Galeria Santa Fe on 1660 of the same name Avenue is one of the most notorious and you would be able to see the murals of the Argentinean painter Raúl Soldi.