María Eva Duarte de Perón (Evita)
Argentina’s most celebrated female icon was actually born in Los Toldos, some 300km west of Buenos Aires, in the province of La Pampa, but she moved to Buenos Aires as a teenager in 1935, following a wave of migration from the provinces and hoping to find fame as an actress. Following her marriage to future president Juan Domingo Perón, she became revered for her pioneering social welfare programmes and her campaigning for women’s rights - everything from female suffrage to shared parental custody of children.
Start your tour at Retiro Train Station, where Evita first arrived in the city from her small hometown, aged just 15.
Head along Av. Leandro N. Alem to the recently-inaugurated Centro Cultural Kirchner (Sarmiento 151), the former headquarters of the national post office, a beautiful building lavishly restored and redesigned as a cultural centre and concert venue. Here you can walk through the reconstructed Sala Eva Perón, which in 1946 served as the donations office of the then First Lady.
Move south a few blocks on the same avenue until you hit the Plaza de Mayo and the famous Casa Rosada, from whose balconies Evita would give public addresses to crowds gathered in the square below. Just off the plaza, at the intersection between the streets Hipólito Yrigoyen, Avenida Presidente Julio Argentino Roca (Diagonal Sur) and Perú, you’ll find the Palacio de la Legislatura, the current City Legislature, which housed the Fundación Eva Perón.
Go north on Peru one block and turn left onto Avenida de Mayo. As you walk towards the Avenida 9 de Julio, you’ll hit no. 930, the current seat of the Union of Tourism, Hotel and Food Service Workers of Argentina (UTHGRA). Here you’ll discover the El Museo del Pueblo, which has a permanent collection of artefacts and images of Evita.
A few blocks away on Avenida 9 de Julio and Moreno, sits the current Ministry for Social Development, recognizable for the two immense murals of Evita on its southern and northern facades. From a balcony on the eastern side of the building, Evita gave her famous 1951 speech where she renounced the position of Vice-President of the nation.
From here, take a stroll through the neighbourhood of San Telmo and walk up to the corner of Av. Paseo Colón and Independencia, to the Facultad de Ingeniería (Engineering Faculty). This building was originally designed to be the new seat of the Fundación Eva Perón, but Evita died before it was inaugurated. Behind it is the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT), the national trade union federation, where Evita’s body was embalmed and kept on display from her death in 1952 until the military coup of 1955, which overthrew President Perón.
If you walk two blocks east towards Puerto Madero and take the Avenida Ingeniero Huergo north, you’ll arrive at famous music stadium Luna Park, where in 1944 Eva and Perón first met at a charity event for the victims of an earthquake in San Juan province. The following year they were married.
From Luna Park, continue your tour to the Recoleta Cemetery, where you’ll find the Duarte family mausoleum and the tomb of Evita, a place of pilgrimage for thousands of people every year. Close by, a stone’s throw from the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library), you’ll pass the Plaza Evita where you can reflect on the monument to Evita by Argentine sculptor Ricardo Gianetti.
End your tour at the Museo Evita (Lafinur 2988), a converted shelter for displaced women often frequented by Eva Perón herself. The museum displays artefacts from Evita’s life, including dresses, jewellery, posters and photos.