The capital (and largest city) in Argentina, Buenos Aires has a mystique that has drawn travelers for ages. The city is located on the Rio de la Plata, and is one of the 20 largest cities in the world. With over 16 million people, you can see why.Buenos Aires is also a cultural capital, known for its music, arts, food, dancing, theatre, and more. The rich cultural heritage of the Portenos (as the residents of Buenos Aires are known) includes Italy, Germany, and Spain.
In Buenos Aires, it’s all about the tango. The dance is everywhere – even on the streets! The tango originated here in the 1880s. The dance is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List! There are many styles to the tango, but most follow either the open embrace or the close embrace.
- Sort your classroom into small groups, and have each group pick one of these articles on the history of the tango. Each group can then create a short presentation on the tango, which will give the classroom an in-depth look at the tango!
- Watch this video of street tango to see how important it is to the culture of Buenos Aires. Can you imagine people just dancing in the streets, anywhere else in the world.
- One of the most famous landmarks in Buenos Aires is the Recoleta Cemetery. It is like a tiny city itself, filled with beautiful mausoleums. The graves of many important people are located here, including Evita Peron. You can take a free walking tour several days a week (in English). Just watch out for the many cats! Read this guide to the Recoleta Cemetery and look at these photos. Pick one mausoleum you’re interested in. Watch this video and see if you can find it! Note the extraordinary artwork on the mausoleums. How would you feel about being in a place filled with art – and such grand celebrations of death?
- Explore history at El Zanjón de Granados, a museum in a house with plenty of tunnels! It’s a restored house originally built in the 1830s, but the history underneath covers centuries. Buenos Aires was first settled in 1536, at the El Zanjón de Granados Ravines. Under this building, archaeologists found a section of old Zanjón, and the site has been named the most important archaeological project in Buenos Aires. Head to the official site for El Zanjón, and explore the buildings (Casa Minima, Los Patios, and El Puente) by clicking the bottom section on El Zanjón. How do you feel about the modernization of history here in this location? Is it ever a good idea to hold events in such important archaeological places? Can you imagine throwing a party in the Coliseum in Rome? What makes this venue different?