The area has always been important in the history of Buenos Aires. It dates to the city's founding, and it's been the site of many significant buildings, like the old fort.
Casa Rosada was originally constructed in the 19th century as a beautiful Italianate post office. But it was later modified and converted into Argentina's presidential palace, as it's still known today.
An exterior view of the Pink House — Photo courtesy of Nicolas Maia
One of the palace's most distinctive features is that its exterior is painted pink. While there are many theories as to why this is, one story credits Domingo Sarmiento, who was president of Argentina in the late 19th century, with ordering the pink color as a political compromise between the two strongest political parties, whose colors were red and white.
Today, tradition dictates that the Argentine president works at the Casa Rosada but lives in the Quinta de Olivos. While it's not possible to go inside the presidential residence, you can and should visit Casa Rosada.
Free, regular group tours in English, Spanish and other languages are offered when Casa Rosada's not being used for regular government business, which means on the weekends.
A tour of Casa Rosada is an engaging look into Argentina's past and present, including exhibits on the not-too-benevolent treatment of native peoples, Juan and Evita Peron, and the accomplishments of Argentines in different fields.
Some of the interesting places you can visit in the palace include the White Room, which is a stunning formal hall where the most important state events are held; the President's Office; the Hall of Busts, containing statues of former presidents; and the Hall of Bicentennial Thinkers and Writers, where the president gives many speeches, as well as the pleasant Palm Tree Patio.
At regular intervals throughout the day, you can witness the Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers' changing of the guard. Originally a regiment that fought with General San Martin in the Argentine War of Independence, today the Grenadiers are a ceremonial unit who pay homage to Argentina's national hero by dressing in 19th-century-inspired uniforms and silently standing guard at the front of Casa Rosada.
Members of the Grenadiers also stand guard at General San Martin's mausoleum, located in the nearby Metropolitan Cathedral.