Buenos Aires – Argentina, South America
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent. Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the third-largest conurbation in Latin America, with a population of around thirteen million.
The city of Buenos Aires is not a part of Buenos Aires Province, nor is it the Province’s capital, but an autonomous district. In 1880, after decades of political infighting, Buenos Aires was federalised and removed from Buenos Aires Province. The city limits were enlarged to include the towns of Belgrano and Flores (both are currently neighborhoods of the city). The 1994 constitutional amendment granted the city autonomy, hence its formal name: Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires (Autonomous City of Buenos Aires). Its citizens first elected a Chief of Government (i.e. Mayor) in 1996; before, the Mayor was directly appointed by the President of the Republic.
Buenos Aires is considered an Alpha World City as listed by the Loughborough University group’s (GaWC) 2008 inventory. People from Buenos Aires are referred to as porteños (people of the port). Buenos Aires is a top tourist destination, and is known for its European style architecture and rich cultural life.
Buenos Aires has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with four distinct seasons and an annual mean temperature of 17.7 °C (63.9 °F). The warmest month is January, with a daily average of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F). Most days see temperatures in the 28 to 31 °C (82 to 88 °F) with nights between 16 to 21 °C (61 to 70 °F). Heat waves from Brazil can push temperatures above 35 °C (95 °F), yet the city is subject to cold fronts that bring short periods of pleasant weather and crisp nights. Relative humidity is moderately high (64–70%) in the summer, so the heat index is higher than the true air temperature. The highest temperature ever recorded was 43.3 °C (110 °F) on 29 January 1957. Spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) are generally mild and volatile, with averages temperatures of around 17 °C (63 °F) and frequent thunderstorms, especially during the spring.Strongly influenced by European culture, Buenos Aires is sometimes referred to as the “Paris of South America”.The city has the busiest legitimate industry in Latin America, with scores of theaters and productions.
Argentine cultural icon Geniol head in vintage advertising poster by Lucien-Achille Mauzan.
Buenos Aires is the site of the Teatro Colón, an internationally rated opera house. There are several symphony orchestras and choral societies. The city has numerous museums related to history, fine arts, modern arts, decorative arts, popular arts, sacred art, arts and crafts, theatre and popular music, as well as the preserved homes of noted art collectors, writers, composers and artists. The city is home to hundreds of bookstores, public libraries and cultural associations (it is sometimes called “the city of books”), as well as the largest concentration of active theatres in Latin America. It has a world-famous zoo and Botanical Garden, a large number of landscaped parks and squares, as well as churches and places of worship of many denominations, many of which are architecturally noteworthy.
Every April in the city is celebrated the Buenos Aires International Book Fair, it is one of the top-five book fairs in the world, oriented to the literary community as well as to the general public. “La Noche de los Museos” (Night of Museums) also takes place every November. This day most of the museums of the city are opened all night long. Buenos Aires is also very active in street art, presenting major murals everywhere in the city.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism has been growing in the Argentine capital since 2002. In a survey by the travel and tourism publication Travel + Leisure Magazine in 2008, travelers voted Buenos Aires the second most desirable city to visit after Florence, Italy. In 2008, an estimated 2.5 million visitors visited the city.
Visitors have many options such as going a tango show, an estancia in the Province of Buenos Aires, or enjoy the traditional asado. New tourist circuits have recently evolved, devoted to famous Argentines such as Carlos Gardel, Eva Perón or Jorge Luis Borges. Due to the favorable exchange rate, its shopping centres such as Alto Palermo, Paseo Alcorta, Patio Bullrich, Abasto de Buenos Aires and Galerías Pacífico are frequently visited by tourists.
The city also plays host to musical festivals, some of the largest of which are Quilmes Rock, Creamfields BA and the Buenos Aires Jazz Festival.