Buenos Aires – Centro – Plaza Lavalle
Plaza Lavalle is the heart of the theatre district in the centre of BsAs.
This was the last walking tour that I did. More details here. See my separate post Centro – Places to Eat.
For me the highlight of this walk was viewing the beautiful interior of the Teatro Colón at Tucuman 1171. It’s a popular tourist sight so there are tours in English every hour, on the hour. You can buy tickets ($180 in 2014) from the ticket office inside by going in one of the side entrances on Tucuman or Viamonte.
Opened in 1908, the theatre has been ranked as the third best opera house in the world by National Geographic. Highlights for me were the statues and the marble work of the grand staircase in the main hall and the stained glass windows and electric chandeliers upstairs in the Salón Dorado.
In the auditorium itself the guide pointed out the hidden gallery reserved for widows in mourning who shouldn’t be seen and the musician’s gallery high up in the ceiling. The acoustics are fantastic and we were invited to sing if we wanted to, although thankfully no one did!
The theatre was renovated fairly recently (finished in 2010) and was shut for many years due to the work was being done and because all the money for it mysteriously disappeared. The tour was very informative but the guide judiciously ignored my thorny questions about the corruption and the love triangle that led to the death of the first architect!
Next door to the theatre at 581 Libertad is the Escuela Presidente Roca, a school that many people confuse with the Teatro Colón because of its Greek revival architecture.
On the other side of Teatro Colón at 621 Libertad is the Byzantine-style synagogue Templo Libertad, built in 1897.
Next to that in the northeast corner (where Libertad meets Cordoba) is the Teatro Nacional Cervantes, built in the Spanish colonial style.
In the opposite southwest corner of the square is the monolithic Palacio de la Justica (Supreme Court). Also known as Tribunales, the building is defended by police barriers due to the many protests that take place in front of it.
There are several other nice buildings around the square.
And a few others I stumbled across in the streets around it.
Leading off the square is the pedestrianised Avenida Presidente Roque Sáenz Peña which gives excellent views of the Obelisk, the iconic symbol of the city. I’d like to have seen it in 2005 when it was covered with a giant pink condom to commemorate World AIDS day!