An attractive tour inside the Municipal Palace and the House of Culture: two public buildings with plenty of things to offer visitors.
On the corner of 1, Bolívar Street, we came to the access to our guided tour around the Municipal Palace of Buenos Aires. We could find official rooms and large staircases. It was Sunday and there was almost nobody inside.
Flags, Coats of Arms and Much More
We started our tour at the room of national emblems. In the entrance foyer, a glass table contains an eight-meter-long Argentinian flag, which used to be hung from the flagpole situated on Mayo Square back in time on historical dates. Our guide explained to us the meaning of the coats of arms of the city of Buenos Aires (both the original and the one used at present).
A very old painting about an altarpiece unveiled the meaning of the original name of this city (Trinidad and Puerto de Santa María del Buen Aire). Then we went upstairs towards the White Room, a place for official ceremonies. On our way, we saw a portrait regarded as the sole and only true one of Jose de San Martín and a huge oil painting by Benito Quinquela Martín.
On the corner of 1, Bolívar Street
The old headquarters of the daily newspaper “La Prensa”
The building designed in a French style
Opened in 1898
Their façades, design of the Palais Garnier
Constructions and Passages
While leaving behind the newest section of this building, our guide said that this construction (built with the purpose it still serves) had two sections. We were headed to the oldest one through a corridor.
We went past the unions’ offices, other closed offices and eventually we reached an inner patio with a clear Spanish design, where every single door serves as an office during the week.
“The building was constructed with materials from the Zuberbuler’s house, demolished as a consequence of the enlargement of Mayo Avenue. Though widely criticized by the society of those days, that one was the first refurbishing process, according to our guide.
Materials from Here, There and Everywhere
Leaving the patio, we got into the only corridor leading to the House of Culture, the adjoining building, which currently houses the Ministry of Culture of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires.
The construction of this building (opened in 1898) was commissioned by José Clemente Paz with the mission to provide a place for the headquarters of a newspaper founded several decades before, which ranked third worldwide, known as “La Prensa”.
Commissioned to French architects, the structure and the materials were brought by ship from France. Their façades are the only ones in the country based on the design of the Palais Garnier.
The “P” words
The letter “P” is repeatedly seen in the decoration patterns, a synthesis of Mr. Paz’s enlightened spirit. It stands for peace, word, press (paz, palabra, prensa in Spanish).
Many international figures invited to give lectures, such as, Albert Einstein and Giacomo Puccini, visited this building and also stayed in some of its rooms.
A Glittering Room
One of the central rooms of this building is the so-called Salón Dorado (“Golden Room”). It is a replica of the rooms of the Palace of Versailles. Guest celebrities used to lecture in this space and the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges gave his first lecture inside this room. At present, it is available for the same purposes.
History determined that the newspaper which once achieved a remarkable reputation should finally close its doors. The building had to go through several ups and downs until it ended up in the hands of the government of the City of Buenos Aires.
However, while this building served as the newspaper headquarters there was a siren on its roof which used to be sounded to give a noteworthy announcement to the people. At its sound, passers-by could stop at the building’s shop window and read the latest national and international headlines.
Today, this building considered a heritage of citizens is worth a visit.
Marcos Rodríguez Gentileza Buenos Aires Gob.Ar
Contact of the excursion or tour
Palacio Jefatura del G.C.B.A. y Casa de la Cultura
Av.de Mayo 525-75 () Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Ciudad de Buenos Aires
Tel: +54 11-43239669
Buenos Aires City