Casa Rosada or the Pink Palace in Buenos Aires
Casa Rosada is the Official Presidential Office in Buenos Aires and one of most famous buildings in the Capital Federal.It is a great architectural icon of the city. Foreigners like to refer to it as the “Pink Palace” and Argentineans find it hilarious.
why is casa rosada painted pink?
Casa Rosada is situated at the eastern end of Plaza de Mayo. You cannot miss the building because it really is pink! There are two stories to why the building is pink. The first one claims that it dates back to 1873 when it was built. There were two main political parties at the time, one white and the other red. They couldn’t decide what colour to paint the building so they have compromised and decided on pink. It became a symbol for unity.
The other reason, which is more likely, is that Casa Rosada’s was painted pink, as a result of the mixing of cow’s blood into white paint, which was meant to protect the building from the ravages of Buenos Aires’s humid climate.
The famous balcony
It is a major tourist attraction in Buenos Aires because it is from this balcony that the famous Evita Peron has made many appearances. Evita Peron made her final farewell speech from this balcony before she died. It is also from this balcony that Madonna was singing the famous song “Don’t cry for me Argentina” in the movie “Evita”. Madonna was one of a very limited number of people who were allowed to visit the balcony.
But a lot of Argentinians will remember this balcony from where the military dictator Leopoldo Galtieri’s declared war against the United Kingdom in 1982 over the Falkland Islands.
The building has been declared a National Historic Monument in Argentina. The building was built in an Italian style and is known by the locals as “Casa de Gobierno” or Government House. Interestingly, this site didn’t become the home to the Argentine government’s executive offices until 1860. Since then each president of Argentina has worked here.
The president of the country is not living in the building and has a separate presidential residence. One of the former presidents did make a wing of the palace his residence for a short period of time.
When Argentina is celebrating “25 de Mayo” (Independence from Spain) each year, they close the area in front of the Palace. There are always festivities in and around Plaza de Mayo and the President flies over the area in the Presidential helicopter and also speaks to the nation from the Palace.
Playa de Mayo and the area in front of the building is famous for political demonstrations and picketing.
You can also watch the changing of the guards every hour on the hour. Another great place to visit is the Presidential Museum. The Museum is situated to the side of the palace, close to the subte (metro) entrance. It has a lot of interesting information about the presidents over the centuries. Personal items from former presidents are also on display. The tour takes you underground to basements of some of the buildings.
There are periodic tours to the palace itself. You can wait early morning at the front gates and enter the building in groups, where you will receive a group number. Be prepared to have all your personal items X-rayed. Security is tight because they have to ensure the safety of the president.
The tour will take your through ornate chambers where there are many marble busts of past presidents and beautiful art. You will however not be able to visit the balcony!
Earlier this year I did manage to secure a visit to Casa Rosada and it comes highly recommended. I will write a separate post about my visit.
© Photographer: Nelieta Mishchenko | Agency: Dreamstime.com