Argentine Aborigines

(Photo by canosadaniel1)

Argentine cultural identity is a mix of many influences stemming from the encounter of local aborigines with Europeans since the Colonization of America, and after the many migratory currents that the country underwent.

In Buenos Aires, the presence of European influences is more than evident: French architecture, Italian and Spanish food, language and gesticulation, and so on. The indigenous influence in the capital however is less apparent, although in many other provinces local tribes are still a significant part of society.

The Argentine aboriginal map is divided into three main regions: the Andean Northwest, which at a time was an outpost of the Inca Empire and the indigenous culture still thrives today; the Northeast, where some tribes, like the Wichis still exist today, related to the Tupí and Guaraní peoples, and finally the Pampa and Patagonia regions, populated by mainly nomadic tribes that are mostly extinct.

Within each of these regions and large generalized groups of indigenes there are many tribes, each with their own cultural characteristics, many which make up a part of the local identity today. Mate drinking for example, is a ritual that comes from the Guaraní who planted the mate herb over the burial ground of their loved ones and then shared the beverage made from the leaves to keep the spirit of their people alive.

Buenos Aires: Places to Shop

Buenos Aires is one of South Americas fashion and design capitals. Whether you’re looking for independent design, a one of a kind antique, an original gift or a new leather jacket, you’re sure to find something to suit your style, the question is where to go for what. We’ve put together a small guide with some suggestions so that you can take it from there.

Shopping Centers

The main shopping malls in Buenos Aires are Alto Palermo Shopping in Palermo, Galerias Pacifico on Florida Street, Patio Bullrich close to the Retiro Train Station, Paseo Alcorta close to the MALBA, and Abasto in the Abasto neighborhood amongst others.

Of the mentioned shoppings we recommend you go to Galerias Pacifico as it is a unique building with beautiful murals and architecture  where you can take an audio tour on Mondays through Fridays from 11.30am-4.30pm.. Here you will also find a store called Casa Lopez, which offers top quality leather products, and Lopez Taibo an amazing shoe store that also sells great purses.

Avenues

There are three main shopping Avenues in Buenos Aires: Av. Santa Fe, Av. Cordoba and Av. Cabildo.

Av. Santa Fe is where the Alto Palermo Shopping is located and is one of the main shopping areas in Buenos Aires offering mostly local clothing and shoe brands, Av. Cabildo is the Belgrano version. On the other hand on Av. Cordoba in Palermo you can find all the outlet stores, so if you’re looking for bargains and clothes from other seasons, that is where you will find them.  More outlet information here.

Independent Design

The best place to go for independent design is undoubtedly Palermo Soho. The area around Plaza Serrano, on Honduras street, Armenia, Borges and Gurruchaga to name a few are lined with amazing boutiques and shops of all sorts be it for clothes, books, or furniture. Additionally, if you go to the plaza on a weekend you will run into the independent design fair which showcases some of the new comers designs at very cheap prices. Some of the places we recommend are: Lucila Iotti for shoes, Pesqueira for feminine playful clothes with lovely prints, AY not dead for trendy urban design, and Pehache 1418 for interior design, amongst so many others.

Find more information on where to go in the Palermo area here and maps of Palermo places to eat and shop here.

Antiques

Antiques are one of the city trademarks. The main place to go is San Telmo, where you can find lovely stores amidst quaint cafes, and visit on s Sunday to experience the antique fair. Other options include The Dorrego Flea Market in Palermo, which has a variety of antiques and knickknacks and is a bit cheaper, or way of the beaten path on weekends is the Feria Delanticuario in the Barracas station of the Tren de la Costa in the suburbs close to the river.

Artisan Fairs and Aboriginal products.


Finally, if you’re looking for crafts, accessories and a rooted to the land feel, the city hosts various artisan fairs such as the Plaza Francia artisan fair in Recoleta (close by is also the Buenos Aires Design center in which you will also find some interesting interior design stores). Smaller artisan fairs, and also cheaper, can be found in Belgrano on Juramento and Obligado street, and in the suburbs, a little farther away but beautifully located in a park shaded by lush trees and next to a cathedral, is the San Isidro fair.

Last but not least are two stores that sell aboriginal products such as ponchos, alpaca scarfs, pottery, purses and accessories that are made by the indigenas of the north, mainly the Wichis and commercialized by an asociation in Buenos Aires which aims at helping to sustain aboriginal communities.  Not a bad option for great souvenirs.

These stores “Arte de Pueblos” can be found in:

Barrio Norte:  Paraguay and Marcelo T de Alvear at the Galeria Victoria.

Belgrano: Vuelta de Obligado 1933 between Echeverria and Sucre.