San Telmo, Buenos Aires
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Buenos Aires C1069AAM
Historic Interest
Market / Fair
Points of Interest Nearby

San Telmo, Buenos Aires


Photo by Robert Wright, courtesy of Recoleta Cemetery Blog

San Telmo is the heart and soul of old Buenos Aires; it's the city's oldest barrio and its most bohemian quarter. Funky boutiques, outdoor cafes, antique shops, tango salons, and colonial buildings line the cobblestone lanes of this offbeat neighborhood. Yet what makes San Telmo unlike elsewhere is the antique market, Feria de San Telmo, held here each Sunday. The largest antiques fair in Buenos Aires is a great place to shop for things unique and take in the scene.
Conventillos, a Spanish word meaning small convents, were enormous one and two story buildings. Like a convent, they were divided into scores of one-room cell-like flats. But rather than housing religious sisters as their name suggests, conventillos were home to the poor. Each small flat, no more than 15 meters square, slept a family or group of men numbering 8 to 10. Conventillos had neither electricity nor running water and most didn't have windows either. Residents shared a common toilet. They cooked and washed in a central courtyard. The front door was the flat's one source of light and air. Conventillos were frigid in winter and sweltering in summer. These tenement houses were built in Buenos Aires in the late 1800s. They housed the city's immigrants, Italians, Spaniards, Arabs and Jews.
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