In 1884, The Plaza de Mayo formed as a city square that demarks the foundation site of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The public square expresses the elementary Argentine political history of disaster, rebellion and hope and the centre rests as the Financial, administrative centre and a political hub to present-day. There are some historical and prime building on the piazza – The Cabildo, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Casa Rosada ( Seat of the President of Argentina), the headquarters of Bank of the Argentine, the Buenos Aires City Hall along with Plazoleta de San Francisco, a sculpture garden consisting of four sculptures indicating crucial parts Argentine academics – Industry, Navigation, Geography and Astronomy.

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Aerial view of Plaza de Mayo Image source:- ©

1. Origin of the Plaza | Plaza de Mayo

In 1884, The demolition of the Recva building merged Plaza Mayor (known as Plaza de la Victoria) and Plaza de Armes (known as Plaza 25 de Mayo) into forming The Plaza de Mayo, the biggest public square in Argentina.

2. Naming of the Plaza

On May 25, 1810, a great revolution began in Plaza de la Victoria which lasted six years concluding in Argentina winning independence from Spain. Thus, Emergence in the current name the May Square or the Plaza de Mayo.

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Aerial view of the Plaza de Mayo. Image source:-  ©

3. La Catedral Metropolitana | Plaza de Mayo

The building built in Neo-classical style opened for public reception in 1836. Burial of General Jose de San Martin, one of the greatest South American liberators exists while the altar designed and built-in Rococo style of architecture. Furthermore, Pope Francis held mass at the cathedral as people formed large congregations for nearly 20 years. 

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The Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral. Image source:-  ©

4. Protest for Peron in the Plaza

On October 17, 1945, thousands gathered in the square to demand Juan Domingo Perón be released, who got imprisoned due to his growing popularity viewed as a threat by his party. The protest resulted in him being a symbol as a working-class which obtained him a release by the government, ending the dramatic demonstration and winning the election to be the President next year. Thus, the date evolved to be known as Loyalty day. President Peron and Evita ( wife of Peron, Maria Eva Duarte) delivered their speeches from the Casa Rosada balcony to the supporters gathered in the square known as descamisados (Shirtless ones). Following the election, families gather on May 1 ( workers day) and May 25 (May revolution day) as tradition.

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The speech given by Evita and Peron  at Casa Rosada balcony. Image source:-   ©

5. Bombing Sequel of 1953 and 1955 | Plaza de Mayo

On April 15, 1953, during a political gathering, two members of Roque Carranza, the opposition party planted two bombs where five people lost their lives and 95 people severely injured. On June 16, 1955, the Argentine Air force bombed the square to overthrow Peron’s government, where 32 planned shit 9.5 tons of shell resulting in 321 deaths, 700 and more injured. This day is remembered as La Masacre de La Plaza de Mayo ( May Square Massacre). 

6. The Madres de la Plaza

A march held by a group of women known as the mothers of May, whose children randomly disappeared under the military dictatorship between 1976-1983, demanded the information about the missing kids by wearing handkerchiefs that held each name embroidered onto them. To this day, the march represents a demonstration every Thursday afternoon around the May Pyramid in the Plaza de Mayo.

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Mothers of May protesting. Image source:- ©

7. 2001 Clases & Cacerolazos en la Plaza

During the 2001 economic crisis, thousands of citizens banged pots and pans ( Known as Cacerolazo) in the Plaza de Mayo as a protest against the government urging them to withdraw clamps and devaluation of their savings that got converted into the much weaker Argentine currency. Five people killed by the cops in Plaza de Mayo as the protest took a violent turn between the police and protestors. Isabel, Peron’s second spouse, had done similar in 1976; thus the sitting President, Fernando De la Rua escaped from the Casa Rosada by helicopter after resigning. These kinds of protests take place time and again with Cacerolazos of 2012, Reaction to Federal Prosecutor, Alberto Nisman’s sudden death and Argentina’s Long and strick lockdown which resulted in thousands of people gathering in the Plaza and voicing their opinions and demanding for their rights.

<span style="font-weight: 400;">Protestors at the Plaza. </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image source:- </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">©</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span>
Protestors at the Plaza. Image source:- ©

8. First National Monument | Plaza de Mayo

The Piramide de Mayo (May Pyramid) inaugurated in the square’s hub marking the first anniversary of the May Revolution in 1811, marking this as the first National monument in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

<span style="font-weight: 400;">The Piramide de Mayo. </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image source:-</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">  </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">©</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;"><a href=""></a></span>
The Piramide de Mayo. Image source:-  ©

9. El Cabildo

The Cabildo, first government building in Buenos Aires, Argentina, built in the year 1610 Baroque style of architecture. In 1880 architect Pedro Benoit added 10 meters to the tower, a dome covered with glazed tiles instead of traditional colonial red tiles which got demolished in 1889 to create space for Avenia de Mayo. In 1940, architect Mario Buschiazzo reconstructed the colonial features like iron bars on windows, wooden doors and windows, red tiles and the tower of the El Cabildo. Today there exists a market in the back courtyard on every Thursday and Friday while many artifact from early Argentine history are displayed in the museum that inhabits the building.

<span style="font-weight: 400;">Calbildo, Buenos Aires, Argentina. </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image source:- </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">©</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span>
Calbildo, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Image source:- ©

10. Zero-Kilometre point | Plaza de Mayo

The Casa Rosada faces the broad Avenida de Mayo in the west that leads directly to Plaza del Congreso. Here, a monolith placed marks the zero-kilometre point that marks all distance of the highway in the country from this point in Buenos Aires. The sculpture contains the relief map of Argentina on the South face, An image of Our lady of Lujan in North face, plaques in honour of Jose de San Martin on West face and names of the relevant authorities on the East face; designed and built by two brothers – Maximo and Jose Fioravanti in 1935.

<span style="font-weight: 400;">Zero Kilometre Monolith, Buenos Aires, Argentina. </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image source:- </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">©</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span>
Zero Kilometre Monolith, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Image source:- ©



Subhay Baberwal, a practising architect at Taller-S and a visiting faculty at SJB School of architecture and planning, Bangalore. He is an art and culture enthusiast as well as a certified wildlife Eco-volunteer by the Karnataka Forest Department for activities regarding conservation, census, preservation. Furthermore, he is a poet and currently exploring his voice in architecture writing along with being a ghostwriter for mobile application, fashion collections and bloggers.