El Obelisco | The Obelisk
9 de Julio (@ Corrientes)
The center and central symbol of Buenos Aires dominates the 9 de Julio skyline. Photo by Greg Roden.
How does one digest that a smooth 223 ft. column stretching to the sky is the representation of a city and its people? The Obelisk of Buenos Aires has little historical significance and no real purpose of function in the city, unlike its national symbol counterparts worldwide including US’s Statue of Liberty, Italy’s Vatican, or England’s Big Ben.
Its lack of utility, however, does not stop it from being one of the main tourist attractions since its completion in 1936 and a fun conversation topic amongst mixed company. Porteños really do claim the phallic tower as representing their society. Many even freely own up to their own abundant promiscuity and claim the tango as just one more piece of evidence of this beautifully passionate and undeniably sexual culture. To accentuate its blatant sexuality, the Obelisco is covered by an enormous condom on International Aids Awareness Day.
Its smooth grey sides are surrounded by patches of grass and plazas in the middle of the wide Avenida 9 de Julio and can be seen from many high buildings around the city. These plazitas are not particularly peaceful to idle around, as this is a high traffic zone, but you can definitely get up close and personal with the Obelisco if your heart desires. Really, it’s hard to miss if you end up downtown, the center throbs and pulses all around it.
—El Obelisco | The Obelisk review by Gena Mavuli