Posts Tagged ‘monuments’

Buenos Aires — By Pablo Juan Augustinowicz on April 17, 2010 at 12:01 am
Filed under: Historic Landmarks, monuments

El Obelisco, The Single Most Recognizable Sight in Buenos Aires

Located at the Plaza de la República, right at the famous intersection of Avenida Corrientesand 9 de Julio, in the very heart of Buenos Aires, the Obelisco is probably the single most recognizable sight in the city.

Rising to a height of 67 meters, it is tied for the second highest in the world with the Bunker Hill monument in Boston (tiny in comparison with the tallest obelisk in the world, the Washington Monument which stands at 169 meters).

Surrounded by a fence protecting it from graffiti artists, the monument was designed by architect Alberto Prebisch and was built by the company Siemens Bauunion in 31 days by 167 workers, most of them Europeans. It was inaugurated in 1936 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the unsuccessful founding of the city by Pedro de Mendoza (the city was re-founded in 1580 by Juan de Garay) and it represented the progressive spirit of a time.

Its four faces are inscribed with the commemorations of the first and second foundation of Buenos Aires, the creation of the Capital Federal in 1880 and the San Nicolas de Bari church, which used to occupy this site and where the first Argentine flag was flown.

Since it is so visible and such an obvious landmark, the area around the Obelisco becomes a popular place for political demonstrations, musical performances and victory celebrations for the national fútbol teams.

The obelisco is actually hollow inside and evidently there is an upright staircase without a handrail, which I’m guessing makes for a pretty hairy climb to the top for anyone who has the job of changing the lights.

A popular legend says there is an iron box at the very top that has photographs of the construction foreman and his wife along with a note addressed to anyone who might tear down the Obelisco… well who knows…

photo credit:  PlanetEye flickr pool


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