Buenos Aires - Monserrat: Plaza de Mayo
The Plaza de Mayo (May Square), bound by Hipólito Yrigoyen, Balcarce, Rivadavia and Bolívar, is the historic core and political heart of Buenos Aires. It is surrounded by representations of nearly every era of the city's history from the 18th-century colonial seat of power, El Cabildo, and Catedral Metropolitana to the 19th century executive offices of Casa Rosada and Gobierno de la Ciudad. The landscaped plaza has been the site of some of Argentina's fiercest internal battles from the 1810 revolution to the 1955 naval attacks as well as its greatest triumphs including the celebrations following World Cup victories in 1978 and 1986. And it still serves a forum for demonstrations--most famously the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, the mothers of the desaparecidos, leftists who "disappeared" during the Dirty War of the military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983--who continue to demonstrate every Thursday afternoon as they have since 1977.
While the modern plaza took its form in 1884, its origins trace back to the early foundation of the city in 1580 when Juan de Garay planned a never built central plaza. In 1608, Jesuit clergymen secured a title to the property where Gar. In 1661 the local governor purchased the eastern half, which soon became the Plaza de Armas or Plaza del Fuerte. In 1804, the colonial government built Recova Vieja, a north-south Romanesque colonnade, which would soon become the plaza's market and created Plaza de la Victoria to the west. The area continued mostly unchanged until 1884, with only minor modifications including the addition of 1811 addition of La Pirámide de Mayo, when Mayor Torcuato de Alvear ordered the demolition of the colonnade, creating the current landscape.