One of the days here in Buenos Aires was quite rainy so I decided to research things to do indoors here apart from eating steak, visiting an art gallery or involving a nightclub. Two things that caught my eye that were totally out of the ordinary were not in the guide books about Buenos Aires. If you know me well then these two ‘attractions’ which were a shopping mall and a library would not interest me in the slightest but after seeing the photos and the story behind them, I just had to see for myself.
Galerias Pacifico is a shopping mall like no other else that I’ve seen in. Located on the main shopping drag of Florida Street intersecting with Cordoba Avenue, it’s had its share of history having been used as the location for numerous government ‘interrogations’ by the previous military dictatorship. Afterwards, it was abandoned for many years until it was reopened in 1991 as a high end mall.
What makes this building unique is that during 1945, it was remodelled and 12 artists were commissioned to create artworks to be displayed throughout the mall. On the third level is also the Centro Cultural Borges where art exhibitions are regularly on display as well as live music and dance performances. If you feel like splashing out on some high end local and overseas designer threads then this is the place to go to. If you’re a stingy backpacker like I am, you can still hang out by the fountain, have a coffee and people watch all afternoon.
We’re well and truly in the digital age and I don’t know any industries outside of the music and book publishing industry that has suffered the most. When was the last time that you can recall walking into your local bookstore and purchasing something? Or when could you say you walked into a store to see how stunning it looked it? I bet you haven’t? Well that’s because you haven’t seen or been to El Ateneo in the north side of Buenos Aires.
El Ateneo started life as a theatre in 1918 and then converted into a cinema in the late twenties. In 2000, it was finally converted into a bookstore with many of the original features remaining intact. You can even sit in the old theatre boxes and examine a book prior to purchase. Where the seated area once was is now filled with rows of books and the old stage, now a reading area.
If you’re not a huge bookworm or a theatre head, you’ll still be impressed.
So my friends, are there any places that stand out in your mind from previous travels or even at home that aren’t in the guide books?