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"Pay homage to a hero" Metropolitan Cathedral - Catedral Metropolitana Tip by TheWanderingCamel

  Guarding the hero ....
by TheWanderingCamel
  • Guarding the hero .... - Buenos Aires
      Guarding the hero ....
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • A Greek temple? - Buenos Aires
      A Greek temple?
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • Grand interior - Buenos Aires
      Grand interior
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • ....but who are these guys guarding? - Buenos Aires
      ....but who are these guys guarding?
    by TheWanderingCamel

Spanish Colonial architecture at one end, French-Italian at the other - the building on Plaza de Mayo are nothing is not eclectic so the Cathedral Metropolitana looking for all the world like a Greek temple should come as no great surprise. The facade - all Corinthian columns and neoclassical pediment - far more restrained than most of the city's churches - is the result of major rebuilding in the 19th century. I'm sure when building commenced in the 16th century, it didn't look anything like it does today.

Whilst it is far more typically Spanish inside, with gilded columns and silver altars, the temple-like appearance is a fitting enough setting for the mausoleum that houses the tomb of the country's most revered hero, Jose de San Martin, who led the army of liberation where his black sarcophagus sits on a high plinth, swathed in an enormous national flag and guarded by ceremonially-garbed sentries and life-sized marble statues - it's all very grand. In actual fact, although it's accessed from inside the cathedral, the mausoleum lies outside the consecrated space of the building - San Martin's Freemason precluded him from burial within a Catholic church.

The mausoleum sentries are dressed in the uniforms of San Martin's army. Across the other side of the Plaza, the building on the south-west corner is also guarded by soldiers in period uniforms. These are different - they look more 18th than 19th century for a start. No-one we asked could tell us who they were or what building they were guarding - I wonder if someone on VT can tell me. We caught their Changing of the Guard. Between them, the sentries at San Martin's tomb and the sentries guarding the Casa Rosada, you've got a pretty good chance of catching one or other of the ceremonies when you visit the Plaza.

Address: Calle Rivadavia s/n, 1004 Buenos Aires
Directions: Open: Weekdays 0800-1900, weekends 0900-1930.
Free guided tours daily at 1130 and 1600 (weekdays) and 1600 (weekends)

Phone: +54 11 4343-6272

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 8, 2008
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