Obelisk of Buenos Aires
The Obelisk of Buenos Aires is a modern monument placed at the heart of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Portenos refer to it simply as El Obelisco.
The obelisk was built in May 1936 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first founding of the city. It is located in the center of the Plaza de la Republica (Republic Square), the spot where the Argentine flag was flown for the first time in Buenos Aires, at the intersection of Nueve de Julio and Corrientes avenues. Its total height is 67 meters (220 feet) and its base area is 49 square meters (530 square feet). It was designed by architect Alberto Prebisch, and its construction took barely four weeks.
The obelisk is one of the main icons of the city, and a venue for various cultural activities (usually sponsored by the city government) and other events. It is the traditional gathering spot for sports fans to celebrate when their favourite team wins, especially from the national football team, often resulting in colorful events that attract media coverage. It was also used by several acrobatic troupes to perform high-wire acts.
Throughout its history, the obelisk has suffered vandalism, especially politically-oriented graffiti. In the 1980s, an activist group broke in and spilled paint from the top windows, causing the city government to erect a fence around its base. This move stirred controversy, but eventually proved effective in reducing the number of defacing incidents.
For some time during the 1970s, during the Peronist government of Isabel Martinez de Peron, a ring-shaped sign was hung around the obelisk, with the motto El silencio es salud (Silence is health). Although it was allegedly geared against motorists creating excessive noise, it was widely interpreted as a statement calling Argentines to refrain from expressing their political views.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the La Noche de los Lapices, the monument was converted into a giant pencil. [*].
On 1 November, 2005 it was announced [*] that a comprehensive restoration, financed by the Argentine painting and restoration industry association (Ceprara), was finished. The monument was painted wih 90-micrometre acrylic paint to a "Paris stone" hue, deemed more pleasant than the previously used white.
Lines Line B, Line C, and Line D of the Buenos Aires Metro have stations near the obelisk, and are connected by a number of underground passages with commercial galleries.
Article on restoration (Spanish)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Obelisk of Buenos Aires