Only 10 minute walk from Plaza de Mayo, the oldest neighborhood in Buenos Aires still retains its suburban air. This is San Telmo: historic but vibrant, bohemian but distinguished. Part of the historic center of the city, this district with colonial streets and preserved buildings is not afraid to experiment and is one of the favorite for locals and visitors.
a walk through one of the oldest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires
Nothing better than a Sunday to embark on a journey through the worn cobblestones of Defensa Street, one of the main arteries of the neighborhood and an excellent starting point. About 20,000 visitors go every weekend to the Antiques Fair and “Cosas Viejas de San Pedro Telmo”, emblem of the area. As a sort of Grand Bazaar, siphons, older analog cameras, stamps, clothing, leather products, bijou, mates -recipients where you pour the traditional Argentine infusion- and crafts of all kinds can be found among the more than 250 stalls arranged along Defensa Street, turned into pedestrian path that day.
By number 1000 of the same road-and after a path where surely you will be tempted with local delicacies such as churros and empanadas (salty pies filled with meat, vegetables or cheese, etc.) offered by street vendors- you can start getting an idea of what San Telmo really has to offer. Plaza Dorrego (Dorrego Square) is the heart of a neighborhood that welcomes you with open arms and, every Sunday, become the scene of professionals and amateurs who realize the tango tradition. A place where all generations dance tango: milonga for everyone!
Around two blocks away, on the parallel Street Balcarce, you can find the Galería del Viejo Hotel, one of the most historic places in the neighborhood. It is a building which, as its name implies, worked as a hotel, but there are versions made so as tenement and hospital during the yellow fever epidemic in 1871. Today, this structure is a quaint gallery and the atelier of numerous artists, goldsmiths and sculptors of the neighborhood; like the Pasaje La Defensa, another traditional building area. The Parish of San Pedro Gonzalez Telmo, located in the same block, is also an emblem of the neighborhood.
San Telmo's magic lies in its uniqueness. For example, beyond 25 de Mayo Avenue is the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity. Mihail Preobrazensky project is of Byzantine style and its blue domes with golden stars are visible from Lezama Square. Another curious attraction may be the visit to the narrowest house in the city, located at number 380 of the Pasaje San Lorenzo, and it is said to be the home of a freed slave. Or the Zanjón de Granados, a building in which, during a restoration work, they discovered tunnels, cisterns, tanks and foundations of a tenement and the residence of a wealthy family from the colonial era.
The Galería del Asombro is another place that invites you to dive into a fantastic universe: aliens, zombies, monsters and villains of Hollywood coexist in Defensa 1295. The Argentine Puppet Museum or the National Museum of Costume are also good choices for a separate visit. On the other hand, if what is sought is a traditional exhibition, the newly opened Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires (MACBA) is a space that combines domestic and international parts and makes traveling exhibitions.
When the sun sets, you can dine at the famous Cafe San Juan, watch a live show at La Trastienda, go to a tango lesson at the Viejo Almacén, enjoy a drink at La Puerta Roja ... the options are endless. Are you ready?