Known as both the Torre Monumental and the Torre de los Ingleses, Buenos Aires’ ‘Big Ben’ was donated by the city’s British residents in 1910 to mark the hundred-year anniversary of the May Revolutions. It is thought, however, that this gift was the British way of easing relations with the Argentines, who thought the British were exploiting them by exporting their beef and grain mountains (having built an advanced railway system from Retiro).
rnThe tower rises up in the middle of Plaza Fuerza Aerea (‘Air Force Plaza’) opposite the Retiro railway station. The clock at the top of the tower is made in the form of an Elizabethan frigate and visitors can take a lift to the top of the tower to look over Plaza San Martin and the Monumento a Los Caidos Malvinas, which was purposely built – in an act of defiance from the Argentines – in front of the tower following the 1982 Falklands War. The tower was renamed the Torre Monumental by the Argentines (all British monuments were renamed after the war), although it is still called la Torre de los Ingleses by porteños.