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article imageReview: Buenos Aires Botanical Garden — Beauty and greenery in the city Special

By Igor I. Solar     May 6, 2014 in Travel
Buenos Aires - The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires, located in the Palermo district of the capital of Argentina, has species of plants from five continents, five greenhouses, 27 sculptures, a butterfly garden, and dozens of cats.
The garden covers an area of about seven hectares. It was designed by French architect Charles Thays, who traveled from Paris in 1889 to advise the city of Córdoba for the construction of a public park, and stayed in Argentina forever. Thays was hired as director of the Department of Parks and Gardens of Buenos Aires where he worked for 22 years. He died in B. Aires in 1934 at the age of 84.
A tireless worker, Charles Thays created, designed and built hundreds of public and private green spaces in the city of Buenos Aires and other Argentine cities including large and small gardens, parks, plazas, woodlands and boulevards. The extraordinary talent of this landscape architect for research, development and the propagation of plant species made him the most admired artist gardener in the country.
Entrance to the Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. The exposed-brick English-style mansion in the bac...
Entrance to the Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. The exposed-brick English-style mansion in the backgroung houses the garden's administration offices, a museum, a botanical library, and a herbarium.
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. A section of the French garden with part of the main conservat...
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. A section of the French garden with part of the main conservatory in the background.
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. A bird drinks water from a tank holding aquatic plants.
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. A bird drinks water from a tank holding aquatic plants.
Among his pet projects, Thays designed the Buenos Aires Botanic Garden which now bears his name. It’s seven acres of greenery in the city, with plant species distributed in three style gardens (one French, one Roman and one oriental), five areas with plants of five continents and a garden for trees and plants native to Argentina. There are five greenhouses, a “Garden of the senses” (with herbs and aromatic plants), and a “Butterfly garden.” It also has a large English-style mansion that was the residence of Carlos Thays during his time working at the Botanical Gardens. Today, this building houses a herbarium and a children's library.
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. The Main Conservatory. Built in Paris in Art Nouveau style thi...
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. The Main Conservatory. Built in Paris in Art Nouveau style this winter-house received recognition in the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1889. It contains 2500 tropical plants and is considered to be the only winter-house in that style still conserved in the world.
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires.  La Primavera  (The Spring). Marble sculpture of Argentine art...
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. "La Primavera" (The Spring). Marble sculpture of Argentine artist Lucio Correa. This work is also known as "La Ondina del Plata".
The French journalist Jules Huret, contemporary of Charles Thais, working at the time for “Le Figaro” in Paris and the newspaper "La Nación" of Buenos Aires, said:
"The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires is undoubtedly the most dazzling and the most comprehensive of the botanical gardens in the world. Although it lacks the sumptuous beauty of the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden, from the scientific point of view it contains a unique collection of South American trees. Thays, not happy with showing us just the local flora, has provided trees from all latitudes, definitely looking forward to prove that plants like men, are easily adapted to the Argentine climate."
 The First Colds . Marble sculpture made ​​by Catalan artist Miguel Blay.  It shows a sitting ol...
"The First Colds". Marble sculpture made ​​by Catalan artist Miguel Blay. It shows a sitting old man whose clasped hands express the arrival of the harsh winter. Next to him a girl lying on his chest raises her gaze to the old man as asking for protection. This is a replica; the original sculpture is in the National Art Museum of Catalonia, Barcelona.
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. Sculptural group in white Carrara marble by Italian sculptor J...
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. Sculptural group in white Carrara marble by Italian sculptor Juan De Pari. The sculpture of remarkable beauty shows the the awakening of two girls, one standing and one kneeling.
 Saturnalia . Sculptural group by Italian artist Ernesto Biondi (1854-1917). This is a bronze replic...
"Saturnalia". Sculptural group by Italian artist Ernesto Biondi (1854-1917). This is a bronze replica of the original on display at the Gallery of Modern Art, Rome. It was donated to the National Museum of Fine Arts in 1963, censored by the military dictators for many years. It was placed at the Botanical Garden in 1984. The sculpture depicts a scene of a pagan religious celebration carried out by the ancient Romans, held in honor of the god Saturn.
Apart from the large collection of plants from all temperate regions of the world, the garden has numerous walking trails with quiet spots for relaxation and contemplation; several water fountains; a meteorological tower; and a collection of 27 sculptures. Among the most notable sculptures are "Los Primeros Fríos” (The First Colds), "El Despertar de la Naturaleza” (The Awakening of Nature), "Saturnalia," "Sagunto," "La Primavera” (The Spring), and a sculpture set representing movements 2, 4 and 5 of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 6th Symphony (“Pastoral”).
 Sagunto . Sculpture made ​​of Carrara marble by Catalan sculptor Agustín Querol (1860-1909). I...
"Sagunto". Sculpture made ​​of Carrara marble by Catalan sculptor Agustín Querol (1860-1909). It symbolizes a historic episode occurred in Sagunto, capital of the province of Valencia, Spain, in which its inhabitants preferred the sacrifice of their lives rather than surrender to the army of Hannibal, the Carthaginian leader who attacked the city in 218 AC. Their heroic resistance is expressed by a mother who, after killing her son, commits suicide with a rapier.
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. Cactus conservatory.
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. Cactus conservatory.
 Prayer of the Tehuelche indian  by sculptor Nicholas I. Bardas  made ​​from patinated cement im...
"Prayer of the Tehuelche indian" by sculptor Nicholas I. Bardas, made ​​from patinated cement imitating bronze. It shows an indigenous woman in prayer. It is the most recent sculpture located in the Botanical Gardens. It was placed next to the main house in 2010.
For its cultural and natural value, the Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires was declared a National Monument in 1996. Because of its distinct urban location, it represents a green area of enormous importance for public outreach, teachers training, applied research, environmental management, and biodiversity conservation.
In addition to the wide variety of plants and flowers, the garden has a lot of cats. These have been surreptitiously abandoned in the garden by their owners. Groups of animal lovers maintain a program to control their population, feed them, administer veterinary treatment and, of course also to provide human companionship and petting.
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. One of the many cats living in the garden uses a pedestal as a...
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. One of the many cats living in the garden uses a pedestal as a high-viewing spot.
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. Many cats abandoned by their owners make the garden their home...
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. Many cats abandoned by their owners make the garden their home. Cat-loving people bring them food and provide vet care.
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. A section of the Educational Garden.
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. A section of the Educational Garden.
The Botanical Garden is in the Palermo neighbourhood, where Santa Fe Avenue joins Las Heras Ave. Open daily between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Subway Line D, Plaza Italia Station. Admission is free.
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. Cast iron sculpture in one of the water fountains of the garde...
The Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. Cast iron sculpture in one of the water fountains of the garden.
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