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Head to Buenos Aires on Your South American Gap Year

By Sean Mahon

Posted: 21st October 2014 16:54

The Argentine Republic city of Buenos Aires has a rich cultural history with plenty to see and do. Friendly and open, it has a very diverse national heritage, with German, Italian and Spanish being most prominent in the city whose residents are called porteños(people from the port). This refers to the fact that it is not only a port city but also that its population is largely made up of immigrants or those of mixed heritages; many arriving in the early twentieth century. It is very cosmopolitan and with no fixed focal point, the city is like a mosaic. There is a real urban adventure to be had here, and the nightlife and shopping is amongst the best in the world.

Culture

Buenos Aires is known as the ‘Paris of the South’ and is famous for its passion for football, skydiving, its delectable food and wine, and most importantly, the Argentine national dance – the tango. You can even see locals practising on the streets and in the parks. And, staying within the realms of music, one of world's most elegant opera houses, the Teatro Colon, is situated in the city. It was often praised for its top class acoustics by Luciano Pavarotti.

This city mixes the old world with the contemporary like no other place in South America. There is a true entrepreneurial spirit too; anyone can make it big here, so they say. Not to mention it has some of the best beaches and most beautiful women in the world strutting around town! Argentines also have a great affinity to steaks. The Argentine steak with some fiery red wine is definitely not something to be ignored whilst you’re in the city.

History

In 1580 a European settlement was established on the banks of the Río de la Plata(Platte River), which would become Buenos Aires. It experienced a boom period during the eighteenth century when cattle ranching produced lucrative leather hides, which were sold in Europe for big money. In 1816 the city also gained formal independence from Spain and successfully fought off attempted invasions by other European powers. The independent capital of the Argentine Republic, Buenos Aires has experienced its fair share of political and economic booms, busts and upheavals but today is a calm and peaceful place. It is a centre for the arts and education, and very much open to visitors. 

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