These are two separate buildings, but tours will take you to parts of both. On a street lined with impressive structures meant to give the Champs-Elysées a run for its money, these two buildings are standouts that should not be missed. The Palacio de Gobierno, on the corner of Rivadavia and San Martín, is the new City Hall. The working office of the mayor of Buenos Aires, it is a white neoclassical building directly fronting the Plaza de Mayo on the block opposite the Cabildo, the old city hall. The original construction was between 1891 and 1902, and it was expanded 10 years later.
The adjoining Casa de Cultura, a sumptuous gray granite building with bronze ornamentation and a series of sinuous lanterns protruding along its facade facing the Avenida de Mayo, is the former home of the newspaper La Prensa, which was at one time the most important and prestigious paper in Argentina. The paper was started by the Paz family, the former owners of the palace on San Martín now occupied by the Círculo Militar. The Casa de Cultura is topped by a statue representing freedom of the press (which was commonly suppressed in Argentina under many regimes). Most of the clientele of the paper were among the wealthy oligarchs, and the beauty of this building reflects this. The dark lobby even has extremely ornate payment-window stands. Etched glass, dark carved woods, and heavy plaster ornamentation make up the bulk of what is seen here. The most impressive room is the Salón Dorado, a French neoclassical masterpiece of gilded columns, painted ceilings, an ornate parquet floor, and a performance stage. Tours take visitors through this room and others throughout the building, but you should also ask for schedules of the various functions hosted here in the evenings, which are usually free. The building is now the headquarters of the city's Office of Culture, and there's no finer home for it in the city.
- © Frommer's 2013
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Ask Buenos Aires Locals about Casa de Cultura & Palacio de Gobierno
- Highly Recommended 2010
- tel: 11/4323-9669
- Av. de Mayo 575
- At San Martín, near Plaza de Mayo
- Buenos Aires
- Free guided tours Sat 4 and 5pm; Sun every hour 11am-4pm
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