Buenos Aires Botanical Garden invites you to the oasis of peace and serenity, to the thriving nature and an open air art gallery created by Carlos Thays in the heart of Capital Federal of Argentina.
Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see the gallery of pictures.
Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays
Plaza Italia (Barrio Palermo) is one of the busiest areas of Buenos Aires.
With dozen of bus lines and subway (Subte) converging in this bustling area, thousands of honking cars moving up and down the Avenidas Las Heras and Santa Fe and large crowds of people invading nearby streets it may be surprising to find just next to it an oasis of peace.
Yet, here it is – the Botanical Garden – a perfect place to relax and for a change breathe in scents of fresh earth, herbs and flowers – all that in the heart of Buenos Aires.
More than 150 years ago all this land (estancia) belonged to Mr. Juan de Rosas – local “caudillo” and the governor of Buenos Aires. After his fall “out of grace” the land was partitioned and partially acquired by the city.
During the second half of 19th century the area underwent rapid development but fortunately for today’s city dwellers, big chunk of it was designed as “green acres”. Today the so-called “Bosques de Palermo” (Palermo Woods) including among others: Parque Tres Febrero, Zoo Park, Japanese Garden, famous Rose Garden and Garden of Poets, Botanical Garden and next to it Las Heras Park is the most open green area of Buenos Aires.
Plan of the Gardens (click on the picture to download its full size version).
In early 1890’s, a French-born architect and landscape designer Carlos Thays convinced the city’s administration to convert part of the vast Parque Tres Febrero into the Botanical Garden. It took six years to complete the design with “grand opening” celebrated on September 7, 1898.
The park did not change much from its original form – today it occupies an area of about 87,000 square meters. Despite more than century since its inauguration it preserved the original layout, keeping distinct gardening zones called Roman and French Gardens as well as most of initial pathways.
The Roman Garden holds such species of trees like cypresses, poplars, laurels… mimicking gardens from ancient Rome. The French Garden gained its name due to its “symmetrical” design – typical for 17th and 18th century French style.
At its opening the garden included about 4000 plants (around 1800 different species). Throughout the century of ups and downs the Botanical Garden acquired species from all around the world. Its major part is dedicated to Argentinean species of flora but you will also find here representation of plants, shrubs and ferns from America (giant sequoias…) Oceania (acacias, Eucalyptus, Casuarinas …), Europe (oaks, hazelnut trees,…), Africa (brackens and palms) and Asia (Ginkgo Biloba) – to name only few.
Meandering along the pathways you may stop marveling at huge “Jurassic-era” Araucaria Bidwilli called also False Monkey Puzzle tree, stay speechless looking at fascinating twisted trunk of the Ficus Luschnathiana, amazed by a graciously blooming “Monstrous Cactus” or strange Ceiba Speciosa (Palo Borracho) called also Floss Silk Tree.
This nice looking plant has trunk dotted with sharp thorns and believe or not – it belongs to the same family as famous baobab. Needless to say that you will find here Argentina’s national flower – Cockspur Coral Tree (Erythrina Crista-Galli).
Wandering along the park you will see hundreds and hundreds of plant species labeled with Spanish and Latin names. Personally I enjoyed a “little plantation” of Yerba Mate giving a chance to “see and smell” this legendary for us foreigners tree!
Tree of Yerba Mate!
Historical building in the center of the Garden dates from 1881. It was designed by the Polish-born military engineer Jordan Wysocki and completed in a record time of nine months. Initially belonging to the Department of Agriculture (1882-1892) it was later occupied by Carlos Thays and his family during his tenure as a Director of Municipal Parks. Today, after recent renovation it holds administration of the Botanical Garden, conference room and a little museum.
Another structure of great historical value is the central Greenhouse. It is a beautiful example of the French Nouveau Art from the late 19th century. This 35m (115ft) long and 8m (26ft) wide cast-iron structure with ornaments and a dome with overlapped glasses is the only winter-house in that style still in use in the world. Originally it used to have steam-boilers for winter heating. Thanks to its unique temperature and humidity it holds tropical and subtropical plants.
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Crossing the gates of the Gardens you enter the completely different world - a place of peace and serenity....
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From the left:
Ficus Luschnathiana with its beautifully "designed" trunk (artist: Mother Nature).
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Isn't is this Garden a perfect place to relax, breathe in scents of fresh earth, herbs and flowers? Not far from this oasis of Nature, just behind the "invisible" walls there are bustling streets of Palermo with noise and exhaust gases.....
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First from the left: Monstrous Cactus (Cereus Peruvianus var monstruosa cacto) known also as a Curiosity Plant....
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From the left - the Central Building from 1881, then photos of the Winter House (itself a piece of art) - the only one in this style still in use in the whole world ....
Well, I hope that after this relaxing walk along meandering pathways of the Botanical Garden you recovered from the noise of the city's streets, your senses opened and are ready for the next step - an open air gallery of art.
Indeed the next page will not only offer you the comforting peace and calmness of the Gardens but also a kind of "fiesta" for those "sensitive to art" souls.
You may stop in front of each of the following sculptures, marvel at the "frozen" beauties, admire the talent and gifts of their creators.... These more "curious souls" may try to read something about artists and ideas they wanted to project on us.....
I know you most of you will make this tour walking back and forth and you have my full understanding. I have been there :-)
I guess this "Primavera" (also known as “Odina de Plata” - a river-waters nymph from the legend of the Rio de la Plata will open doors of your imagination .... The "Natural Beauty" in the scenery of the Mother Nature in the background.....
To see an open air art gallery in the Buenos Aires Botanical Garden please click on the left picture of follow the link:
Botanical Garden Carlos Thays -2 (next)
If you enjoyed this visit, then please share your experience with friends :-)
Not sure yet where to go and what to see in Argentina? You may find help selecting: Tourist Destinations in Argentina
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