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Buenos Aires, March, Friday the Thirteen

This post was written by jd on March 16, 2009
Posted Under: Travel

The smaller building on the right is the Metropolitan Cathedral accross the street from The Plaza de Mayo

The smaller building on the right is the Metropolitan Cathedral accross the street from The Plaza de Mayo

 I decided to go to the Museo de la Polica Federal on Friday the 13th .  My trustee handbook of Buenos Aires (three years old) said that the museum was open Tuesday through Friday. Therefore, of course, it was closed. Do not carry a three year old guide book with you, spend the money and buy an up to date tour book when you travel. I already found a couple of night clubs that were permanently closed that were mentioned in the book as a good place to go.Anyhow, the museum focuses on uniforms, badges and weapons over the ages. According to the guide book, it also has a truly gruesome room dedicated to forensic medicine, which includes dismembered bodies and other unpleasant sights. Not mentioned in the museum is the sadistic role the Federal Police had in the Dirty Wars of the 1970’s. Maybe it’s just as well that the museum was closed. The museum is located at San Martin 353 if you are in Buenos Aires and care to visit it.San Martin Street is near the Plaza de Mayo.

The Plaza is the exact location that the Mothers of the Plaza De Mayo marched for many years, during and after the dirty wars of the 1970’s. The mothers were women who had had their children kidnapped by the military to be tortured, murdered and never heard from again. The women marched to bring public awareness of what atrocities the military government was committing during the 1970’s Dirty War. This was a period when the military overthrew the government and took control of Argentina. They were responsible for up to 30,000 people disappearing. The mothers’ bravery finally put enough pressure on the military government to restore the country back to an elected civilian government.So leaving the closed Mueso de lan Polica, I walked over to the nearby Plaza de Mayo. Across one of the streets of the Plaza de Mayo is the Metropolitan Cathedral. The present building’s construction started in 1752 and built under the direction of Antonio Masella. The design is that of a Latin cross basilica. It was finished in 1822 (And you say your contractor is slow?) In 1827 a portico was built in a French neoclassical style. This is a wonderful building which is really a piece of art,  I highly recommend a visit to the Cathedral if you are in Buenos Aires. 

Inside the Cathedral. Notice the huge columns.

Inside the Cathedral. Notice the huge columns.

 Leaving the Cathedral I walked over to the nearby National Historical Museum. The location that houses this museum was originally built in a location chosen by Juan de Garay when founding the city in 1580. It was remodeled in 1621, however in 1632 it was abandoned due to the threat of collapse.In 1731 the building was totally reconstructed and remains now almost as it was originally designed. The museum is a curious mixture of different things, as are many of the Buenos Aires museums are that I’ve gone to. There is an exhibit of lighting throughout the ages, such as candles, candle molds all the way to the present day florescent energy saver lights. Then there are portraits of famous Argentineans, pictures of jail scenes, a reconstruction of an old jail cell (The original structure had a small jail) and stocks.  What I mean by stocks are those wooden blocks of wood with hinges and holes in them so you could stick a person’s head or legs through them as punishment. (I’m sure some of the people who had their money stolen by  Bernard Madoff would like to see stocks make a comeback)

National Historical Museum

National Historical Museum

 

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