Geography of Buenos Aires


Location

The City of Buenos Aires is the capital of the Argentine Republic and is located in the southern hemisphere, latitude 34º 36' and longitude 58º 26'. The city extends on a plain and has 202 square kilometers (78.3 sq miles). Approximately 3 million people live in this city. Including the metropolitan area, the total population of Buenos Aires is more than 12 million, making it one of the 10 most populated urban centers in the world.

The Río de la Plata and the Riachuelo are the natural borders of the city on the east and south, respectively. The rest of the metropolitan perimeter is surrounded by the General Paz Avenue from north to west. This avenue provides a fast connection between the city and the Greater Buenos Aires, a densely populated area with important business and industrial activity.

Climate

The climate of Buenos Aires is mild all year round. The mean annual temperature is 18º C (64.4º F), making extremely hot and cold days very infrequent. Thus, visitors can enjoy walking around the city in any season.

July is the coldest month. Although frosts are rare, a woollen coat, a jacket or an overcoat and a scarf will be required when going out. In winter, cold is moderate during the day, but temperature considerably drops at night.

In summer, the weather is hot and humid. Mornings are warm and during midday and the first hours of the afternoon, the temperature rises. At night, temperature goes down slightly, so people may wear light clothes; coats are not needed.

Rains are more frequent in autumn and spring (from March to June and from September to December, respectively). They are mild or last a short time, thus activities are not hampered and people usually go out with an umbrella or a raincoat.

In the sunny days of autumn and spring, mornings are slightly cold; the temperature rises at midday and drops again at night.

History

Buenos Aires was founded twice:
It was first founded in 1536. Don Pedro de Mendoza, a Spanish colonizer, established the first settlement. He named it Ciudad del Espíritu Santo y Puerto Santa María del Buen Ayre. The city was founded a second and last time in 1580. Juan de Garay called the site Ciudad de Trinidad.

In the 19th century, the port was the arrival point for the great migratory wave promoted by the Argentine State to populate the nation. Spanish, Italian, Syrian-Lebanese, Polish and Russian immigrants provided Buenos Aires with the cultural eclecticism that is a main characteristic of the city.

During the 20th century, successive immigrations - from the provinces, other Latin American countries and Eastern countries – completed the picture of Buenos Aires as a cosmopolitan city in which people with different cultures and religions live together.

Customs

Buenos Aires has always been an open-door city. Its inhabitants are called porteños, which makes reference to the fact that the city is a port. The inhabitant of the province of Buenos Aires is called bonaerense.

Porteños are warm and hospitable: they usually invite tourists for lunch or dinner at their homes and prepare typical food.

The characteristic infusion is called mate. It is prepared by pouring warm water into a gourd, also called mate that contains yerba mate. It is then drunk using a metal straw-like apparatus called a bombilla. Some people add sugar, but most prefer their mate "amargo" (bitter, or without sugar).

Religion

Argentina recognizes the freedom of worship. The official religion Roman Catholicism, illustrated by an impressive number of churches. There are also other places of public worship, such as the Jewish central synagogue, the only site providing training to rabbis from all around the world, and the Mosque of Palermo neighborhood, the largest Islamic temple in Latin America.

Language

The official language is Spanish. Something to note is the use of "vos" (you) instead of the Spanish "tú" for informal uses. Another characteristic of Argentine Spanish is the use of "che" to address a person.

Currently, Buenos Aires receives tourists from varied nationalities that come for different purposes. Some come to shop, others to enjoy the night life and some others to taste the porteños bohemian lifestyle. Also, there are those who engage in an educational tour and want to study the Spanish language.

Several entities, academies, institutions and universities (among them the Language Laboratory at the University of Buenos Aires) teach Spanish to foreign people, from beginner to advanced levels, or provide specialization on a specific field.

Porteños easily understand persons who speak Italian and Portuguese. Most people involved in tourist activities speak English.