At the turn of the 18th century, the warehouses (in Spanish, “barracas”) which later on gave a name to the district began to be built on the banks of the Riachuelo. They were used to store the merchandise which was to be loaded at the port, such as salted meats. Until the end of the 19th century, Barracas had been an area of country houses and mansions owned to the city’s elite, who then moved northwards due to a yellow fever epidemic. During the 20th century, it became an industrial district, populated by immigrants, mostly of Italian origin.
What to visit?
Santa Lucía Parish Church
Montes de Oca 550, Barracas
In 1783, an oratory consecrated to Saint Lucy of Syracuse -eyesight protector, according to Catholic tradition, and patron saint of this district– was erected here. A hundred years later, the Argentine Church bought the land and built the present-day temple, which was inaugurated in 1887. The feast of this patron saint, which gathers a large congregation,is celebrated on December 13th. That date is also Barracas’ day, as decided by the City Government in 1989.
Santa Felicitas Church
Isabel la Católica 520, Barracas
Felicitas Guerrero was a young wealthy widow, considered one of the most beautiful women in Buenos Aires. In 1872 she was murdered by a rejected suitor, a dandy called Enrique Ocampo, uncle of writers Victoria and Silvina. Felicitas’ parents built this church in 1875 in memory of their daughter. It was designed by architect Ernesto Bunge, and its eclectic style bears a Gothic imprint. It is the only temple in Buenos Aires featuring secular statues: the Carrara marble figures represent Felicitas together with her children and her husband, Martín de Álzaga, whose grandfather owned these lands in colonial times.
In the 1990s, artist Marino Santa María painted a mural on his atelier’s façade, located at 33 Lanín Street. Since his neighbors supported the initiative, the artist promoted an agreement between different companies and institutions to finance a project aimed at painting thirty five houses along the three-block street. The works were carried out along a two-year period, and employed more than twenty people, including bricklayers and painters.
-Safety Tip: Keep your distance from both neighborhoods Boca and Constitución at night.
-Shopping tip: there are many major brands that opened their “outlet shops” in the area, with low prices as well as colorful fronts of shops to attract attention.
Lacoste (Iriarte and Herrera), Equus (Herrera 1871), Cardon (Herrera 1855), Wilson (Montes de Oca 1551), Cook and Wanama (California 1900), Kevingston (Montes de Oca 1186), Sweet Victorian (Patricios 698), Levi’s (California 1902), Legacy (Herrera 1825), Stone (Patricios 730), Grimoldi (Herrera 1863) Wilson (Montes de Oca 1551) are some of the brands that assemble the geography of this multi-level southern Buenos Aires.