La Casa Rosada
Spanish for the ‘Pink House’, La Casa Rosada sits on the eastern side of the Plaza de Mayo. Completed in 1885, the palace is officially the seat of government, although the President lives in a more secure compound in the northern Olivos. Built on the foundations of a post office, a customs house and a fortress, La Casa Rosada overlooks the Plaza de Mayo, which is named after the month in 1810 when the First Council of Buenos Aires was sworn in (25 May).
While the Cabildo is arguably the most important building in the square – this was the political nerve-centre from 1580 to 1821 – the Casa Rosada is the most famous. It has played host to the most joyful as well as the most distressing scenes in Argentina’s history: from the crowds of adoring Eva Peron supporters, or Diego Maradona showing off the Jules Rimet trophy after Argentina’s 1986 World Cup victory, to President Fernando de La Rua’s escape by helicopter from the palace’s roof as the 2001/2 economic crash climaxed, provoking thousands of hungry Argentines to march onto the streets banging on saucepans, a scene which turned into a riot. A look at the Museo de la Casa Rosada (Hipolito Yrigoyen 21, 4344 3802, www.museo.gov.ar) will fill you in.