Buenos Aires: The birthplace of Tango

Posted on: 18 February 2010 by Mark O'haire

Buenos Aires is a vibrant, historically rich South American city. Here are some ideas for soaking up the literary landscape and the one of a kind tango dancing nightlife.

The capital city of Argentina is a gorgeous travel destination, alive with artistic history, and moving forward into the twenty-first century with a revival of the tango, the country's native dance.

A good preparation for a trip to Buenos Aires would be to read some of the classic literature from the region. Ficciones and The Aleph, by Borges and Bestiario by Cortázar are a fine place to start.

The City of Letters

Buenos Aires is so proud of its literary history that the city offers four literary tours—one focusing on Jorge Luis Borges, one on Julio Cortázar, one on Roberto Arit, and one called ‘the path of letters,’ which guides visitors to a variety of sights from poems and stories written about the city.

Tours begin every half hour most days, and sightseers can hop on and off the bus to explore each sight independently. Visit the official tourism site of Buenos Aires for details.

Birthplace of Tango

The tango, like the literature of Borges, is inextricably linked to the Argentine national identity. In the past few years, Argentina has hosted a revival of their tradition tango dancing - old-fashioned tango halls have cropped up all over Buenos Aires, and locals and visitors alike have experienced the drama and style of tango.

No trip to Argentina’s capital would be complete without a taste of tango. Have a lesson, attend a performance, or step into a tango hall to observe the red-blooded spectacle. Go to Tango Porteño, Rojo Tango, La Ventana, or one of the many other tango halls around the city.

Buenos Aires Botanical Gardens

Located in the Palermo district, the botanical gardens offer a beautiful selection of Roman, French, and Oriental gardens. Stroll through the grounds at any pace, but watch out for cats! The botanical gardens have become a temporary home and rehabilitation centre for abandoned neighbourhood cats that roam freely throughout the property.

Benito Quinquela Martín Fine Arts Museum

The fine arts museum in the La Boca neighbourhood was originally built by one of Argentina’s most famous and beloved painters, Benito Quinquela Martín. Since its construction was completed in 1938, the museum has evolved into a fully-bloomed cultural centre, designed to enrich appreciation for Argentine arts and education, which Quinquela Martín cared dearly for and invested immense time and energy into. Visit the museum website for details on hours and exhibits.

Villa Ocampo

Travel 30 kilometres north for a look around the very special Villa Ocampo. Victoria Ocampo was one of the most influential twentieth-century figures of the literary scene in Argentina. During Ocampo’s lifetime, her gorgeous estate was visited by artists and writers from Borges to Virginia Woolfe. It is now open to the public for tours and special events, and buses are available from Buenos Aires. Visit the Villa Ocampo website for further information or for a schedule of upcoming events.

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