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Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral is an architectural masterpiece and the main Catholic church in Argentina’s capital city. Visit the tombs of famous Argentine generals, admire elaborate artwork and watch free concerts.
In 1580, Buenos Aires founder Juan de Garay designated a plot of land for the city’s first major church. Today’s cathedral stands on the same plot. It was built by European architects using a fusion of 18th- and 19th-century architectural styles. The cathedral’s impressive façade includes 12 Hellenic columns, which represent the 12 apostles. Above the columns is a carved mural that portrays the reunion of Joseph with his brothers and his father, Jacob.
Step inside to admire tall arcaded aisles and discover tombs, frescoes and decorative furnishings. Check out the ornate marble mausoleum of General Jóse de San Martín. He is a national hero and led revolutions against Spanish rule in Argentina and other South American nations. The tomb also houses the remains of Juan Gregorio de las Heras and Tomás Guido, two notable generals from the Argentine War of Independence.
Art lovers will appreciate the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross) paintings by Italian artist Francesco Domenighini. A gilt wood altarpiece in the main chapel dates to 1785 and is the cathedral’s most significant colonial feature.
Take one of several guided tours of the choir and artist’s workshop, the mausoleum, the temple and the crypt. Come to the cathedral to enjoy regular free concerts, which offer a changing agenda of organ, vocal and orchestral music.
The cathedral also hosts Noche Buena, Argentina’s most important midnight mass, held on Christmas Eve. It has previously been presided over by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who became Pope Francis in 2013.
Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral stands on the north side of Plaza de Mayo, a short walk from major city attractions such as 9 de Julio Avenue and the Casa Rosada. It is easily accessed via public buses and the metro.
The cathedral is open daily. There is no admission fee. Tour times and a full schedule of events are available on the cathedral’s official website.
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