Visiting the Obelisk, and July 9 Avenue, Buenos Aires, Argentina: monumental landmark dating from 1936

Flag of Argentina
Flag of Argentina | Source
Buenos Aires Obelisk and Republic Square, Argentina
Buenos Aires Obelisk and Republic Square, Argentina | Source
View of July 9 Avenue, City of Buenos Aires
View of July 9 Avenue, City of Buenos Aires | Source
Arial view of July 9 Avenue, Buenos Aires
Arial view of July 9 Avenue, Buenos Aires | Source
Underground parking provided by Buenos Aires municipality, July 9 Avenue, 1937
Underground parking provided by Buenos Aires municipality, July 9 Avenue, 1937 | Source
Map location of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Map location of Buenos Aires, Argentina | Source

Gracious and historic

The Obelisk of Buenos Aires (Spanish: Obelisco de Buenos Aires ), Argentina, dates from 1936 (1), and is located at the intersection of July 9 (Spanish: 9 de julio) and Corrientes Avenues.. Its architect was Arturo Prebisch (1899-1970)(2).

The Obelisk is 67.5 metres high and is thus among the most conspicuous of structures in the Argentinian capital. It is executed in 680 cubic metres of concrete and 1360 cubic metres of Olaen white stone, mined in Argentina.

Various patriotic inscriptions are given on the monument, with the history of the Flag of Argentina given prominence, first flown in the vicinity of what is now the monument in 1812.

Amazingly, in 1938, less than 2 years after the Obelisk's completion, the city council of Buenos Aires voted to demolish it! There followed a series of administrative proceedings and vivacious discussions to the effect that it was decided that the city council did not have the power to demolish the Obelisk after all. The structure has subsequently become established as one of of the Argentinian capital's major and most recognizable landmarks — and certainly one of the most monumental.

9 July Avenue (Spanish: Avenida 9 de julio ) is often stated to be the widest street in the world — there are seven lanes in each direction (so, pedestrians: be prepared to spend a few minutes trying to cross the Avenue safely at designated crossing points!). The Avenue's planning and building involved a very drastic program of clearance in the heart of Buenos Aires. In its day, it was undoubtedly a very modern street; and before World War Two it already had underground parking facilities. Work on the street was begun in 1935, and completed in stages in later decades.

The Avenue contains several stations of the Buenos Aires Metro (Spanish: Subterráneo de Buenos Aires ); the first part of this underground mass transit system was inaugurated in 1913. Among the noted buildings along the Avenue is the opera house known as Columbus Theatre (Spanish: Teatro Colón ), with its main entrance in Calle Libertad (Liberty Street).

The name of the Avenue is derived from Argentina's traditionally celebrated Independence Day, July 9, 1816.

September 4, 2012

Notes

(1) 1936 was the 400th anniversary of the founding of Buenos Aires.

(2) Other works by Architect Prebisch include the Teatro Grand Rex in Buenos Aires and the Central Market in his native Tucumán. He served as an academic architect at the University of Buenos Aires and also as interim Mayor of that city.

Also worth seeing

Visitor attractions Buenos Aires abound, but some of these include the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace and the Congress Palace, the calle Florida shopping precinct; and many others. Travellers to Buenos Aires may also find an excursion convenient to Montevideo (distance: 230.4 kilometres) in neighbouring Uruguay.

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How to get there : United Airlines flies from Washington-Dulles Airport to Ministro Pistarini International Airport (or: 'Ezeiza'; Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini ), Buenos Aires , where car rental is available. Please check with appropriate consular sources regarding any visa requirements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date travel information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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