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The oldest residential neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, San Telmo exudes a special historical vibe As one of the most important centres during the 19th century, San Telmo has preserved many of Buenos Aires’ architectural landmarks, museums, antique shops and old churches that nowadays serve as a backdrop for business, cultural events and day to day activities
San Telmo is a great place to wander around on a Sunday afternoon. Enjoy the artisan's market, do some sightseeing and have lunch or coffee at one of the stunning cafes notables. Without a doubt highly ranked on the Buenos Aires top ten, San Telmo is one of the best places in Buenos Aires to really get an insight into Argentine culture
Throughout the weekend, the central square fills with the stunning San Telmo crafts and antiques market. On Sunday afternoon, the plaza transforms into an open air milonga, where experts and amateurs couple up to dance tango on the cobbled square
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Where is the charm?
San Temo is the oldest area of the city, an area where which was above all home of dockworkers and brickmakers, it can easily be considered the first industrial area of the city. For years it was separated from the city by a ravine, it has been officially incorporated only in 1708.
It was described to me like the most characteristic part of the town, but I must admit I didn’t enjoy at all. I went in a normal day, not on week end so there were no musicians on the roads, no tango dancers, nor any market, it appeared pretty desolated.
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San Telmo is one of the most popular destinations in Buenos Aires for both tourists and locals alike. Even though it is quite a long walk from the nearest Subte station, you don’t notice the distance as you are surrounded by some of the oldest and most beautiful buildings the city has to offer, including the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity at Calle Brasil 315, a rather incongruous Muscovite building with beautiful blue domes.
This is one of the main bohemian and artistic areas of Buenos Aires. A visit to Plaza Dorrego in the heart of the neighborhood offers a perfect snapshot of the city as a whole. Surrounded by open-air cafes, antique shops, market stalls offering local produce or bizarre curiosities, and of course a plethora of tango dancers, Plaza Dorrego is a sinless delight.
Sunday is one of the best days to visit San Telmo as it offers a double pleasure. Walking down the cobblestone street of Calle Defensa on a Sunday you can take in the architectural glory of the tenement buildings and also browse casually through the vast street market, which seems to stretch on indefinitely into the horizon.
- Historical Travel
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A Tourist Trap to Remember!
San Telmo was everything I hoped it would be, colorful, vibrant, and literally teeming with Argentine culture. The cobblestone streets were lined with cafes and vendors selling colorful paintings and other knick knacks. Everywhere I looked there was something with Argentine flavor, tango dancing, paintings of Maradona, and of course the aroma of delicious food! Speaking of food there are numerous places to eat and be prepared to be invited to eat at every one of them. The cafe owners are very agressive about trying to get your business, but the food is great and of course each place has a small stage for tango performances!
I stayed in this bario whilst I was in Buenos Aires (on my January 2010 & 2011 trips). San Telmo has an antiguo and bohemian feel to it with its traditional architecture and this is where you can enjoy people watching at the many bars, cafes and restaurants in the area. You can watch the free tango and milonga at the Plaza Dorrego, San Telmo's main square. San Telmo is famous for the Feria de San Telmo, an antiques market, that is held on Sundays.
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Feria de San Telmo - Antiques Fair
Known for its bohemian charm, San Telmo is the neighbourhood of arts, antiques, tango and timelessness. It's a nice area to wander around on any day of the week but Sundays are the most exciting time to experience this unique and alluring ambience. People of all nationalities flock to Plaza Dorrego for the weekly antique fair Feria de San Telmo.
Artisans, musicians, street performers and antique vendors come from near and far to share their treasures and their talents with the public. Antiques market on Plaza Dorrego is filled with stalls. The assortment of antiques is available, from jewelry, dresses, coloured soda siphons, tango records to pricey antiques. Even if antiques aren't your thing, it's a great place to browse and people watch.
Defensa, San Telmo's main street, becomes pedestrian zone on Sundays. Musicians and artists set up all along the way, from tango orchestras to solitary singers and street performers. Arts and crafts from local artisans are for sale up and down the strip. Many artists set up on Calle Humberto, selling every manner of tango art: paintings, pictures and sculptures.
And if you get tired of strolling, take a rest in one of the many cafes where you can sip an espresso and nibble on a fresh pastry, or have a lunch in one of San Telmo's nice restaurants.
Feria is open Sun 10am-5pm.
more pics in the Travelogue
- Arts and Culture
Russian Orthodox Church
Next to the Parque Lezama (between La Boca and San Telmo) we found the Russian Orthodox church: Catedral de la Santisima Trinidad.
The building is quite different from the other (Argentinean) buildings around, with its five onion-domed ‘towers’, which do have an almost too turquoise colour. The church is (of course) based on a Muscovite style and has been inaugurated in 1901. One of the walls, next to the entrance, has a mosaic mural of the Sacred Trinity (2 x 3 m).
The church is located at Av Brazil 315 and is rather close to the centre of San Telmo. If you are visiting by taxi, be sure you do have the address, because our driver had never heard of this church. We were unlucky and couldn't visit the inside of the church because it was closed. As far as I know (thank you VT-member 'puppis') there are no opening hours for visiting the church; only masses are scheduled: Saturdays 13 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m.
More info (Spanish) and pics at: http://www.dgpatrimonio.buenosaires.gov.ar/buscar.php?tabla=edificio&categoria=edificio&f_tipoedificio=5&inicio=1485
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My first time here was on Sunday afternoon late in the market day. But with enough time to stroll through and enjoy the neighborhood and its weekend market. What a madhouse! I loved it.Great idea and thanks for the tour Pilar.
On this past visit we ventured into the markets. It was very crowded and full of activity. Tango dancers in the street, vendors, food....so much to see.
San Telmo Antiques Fair with Tango on Street
Feria de San Telmo
I arrived on a Sunday morning in Buenos Aires and that was perfect! There is Sunday shopping for antiques in San Telmo’s Plaza Dorrego, the heart of Tangoland.
I took a taxi close to the site and walked the rest of the way and was surprised to find a lot of people in the Plaza. There were tango dancers and some mimes and musicians, and this scenario was very far from how San Telmo used to be in the 1800’s when streetfightings were rampant due to the rebellious portenos fighting the invading British.
There were also lots of cafes and restaurants along the cobbled streets with colonial buildings, giving the place a European atmosphere with “spice” due to the Tango music.
San Telmo is the oldest district in Buenos Aires and is perhaps also the most atmospheric. Buenos Aires was founded by Pedro de Mendoza in the 16th century and his statue in Parque Lezama in San Telmo marks the spot where the city began. Nowadays this park marks the divide between Boca and is a good spot to visit on a summer's day.
There is wonderful nightlife in San Telmo, and with some of the city's best bars and restaurants, especially parrillas serving delicious Argentinian food, it´s a busy place every night of the week. The biggest crowds are here on Sundays for the famous markets on Plaza Dorrego and the surrounding streets. This is well worth visiting if you´re in the city as you´ll see free tango and many stalls with items well worth buying. Even if you´re not here on a Sunday San Telmo is a great district to visit. It's always lively and there's a much more down to earth feel than in neighbourhoods such as Recoleta or Palermo.
The Russian church and Lezama park
After visiting the market in San Telmo I walked down towards the Lezama park. It’s a quite park with a lot of trees and an amphitheatre and many children that play football… There is also a monument dedicated to Pedro de Mendoza(1487-1537), a Spanish conquistador, governor in Rio de la Plata area and founder of Buenos City.
On my return back I noticed at avenida Brazil 315, a church with some nice paintings. It was the Russian orthodox church. It was built in the early 20th century and it is an interesting building with a big painting at the exterior.
the old district
This is the old neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, with many colonial buildings to see and a lot of narrow small coblestone streets to walk!
I was really lucky visit the area during easter because it was car free (something very rare in BsAs) so I had a different view of the area. I noticed a lot of good cafes, restaurants, old churches, many antique shops and a dozen of street artists in every corner.
The best moment to visit the are is on Sunday because there is the Sunday antique street market at plaza Dorrego. The market spread over Defensa street so I was walking up and down calle Defensa with thousands other visitors, locals and tourists. The vibe was great with music coming from everywhere, people having fun, dancing and shopping of course!. I couldn’t believe how many people danced tango here…
San Telmo is one of the oldest city's neighbourhoods. You can see it from the faded elegance that this area was once one of the most wealthy parts of Buenos Aires. The yellow fever epidemic at the end of the 19th century caused many to die and many others to move to parts north of the city what is now Recoleta. This left San Telmo with empty mansions that soon became home to the struggling Italian and Spanish immigrants, transforming the district into mosaic of diversity and culture. Today San Telmo has been beautifully restored, fusing the old with the new, and making it a microcosm of true porteño culture.
The labyrinth of cobblestone streets, containing traditional local cafes, book shops, antique shops and art galleries all lead to Plaza Dorrego, the oldest square in Buenos Aires which becomes an outdoor antiques market on Sundays. Tango music and dance can be enjoyed in this square or at a venue such as El Viejo Almacen, devoted to this melancholy art form. There have been some efforts to regenerate this historic district and the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires houses experimental artwork in an old tobacco warehouse.
Due to an inexplicable sense of sensuality, colour and passion, San Telmo with Plaza Dorrego can be easily called the 'Paris of South America'.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Manzana de las Luces (Block of the Enlightened)
The original focal point of education and government constructed by the Jesuits in the 1730's, presently occupied by the Universidad de Buenos Aires. One of its rooms served as the original congress of the newly formed government and a few famous politicians were assassinated here.
Tours are given for a nominal cost Monday thru Friday at 3:00 pm only in Spanish but are the only way you can have access to the interior courtyards and tunnels.
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San Telmo Street Fair
The San Telmo street fair on Sunday is always fun. Hundreds of vendors line the streets with their wares: everything from jewelry to mate straws and gourds to purses and paintings. Crowds are massive and the whole street teems with energy. Duck into St Telmo Pizza for a quick, delicious bite or linger over a rowdy French Bistro experience at Brasserie Petanque.
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