While construction of its Neoclassical faÃ§ade wasn’t initiated until 1822, Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana) overlooks Plaza de Mayo and can trace its roots back to the early 16th century when the Spanish established one of the country’s first churches here. Despite its rather plain exterior, this catholic church boasts a lovely Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque interior along with numerous important artworks, including 18th-century altarpieces and statues, as well as a Walcker organ dating from 1871 that includes an impressive 3,500 pipes and is regarded as one of the finest of its kind.
Also of interest here is the tomb of one of Argentina’s most revered revolutionary heroes, General JosÃ© de San MartÃn. Another religious site worth seeing is the Block of Enlightenment (Manzana de las Luces), a city block traditionally regarded as the historical center of learning and high culture in Buenos Aires. It includes the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires and San Ignacio Church, the city’s oldest surviving church, famous for its tunnels and artwork.