La Casa Rosada

Buenos Aires, Argentina | C.1580

Photo Credit: Diana Saavedra

La Casa Rosada, or “The Pink House”, was once a palace housing the president of Argentina. The nation’s highest ranking official now has a reserved residence in the town of Olivos north of Buenos Aires, but the building still houses government offices.

Casa Rosada’s unique pink hue establishes it as one of the most recognizable buildings in Buenos Aires. The color likely came from mixing white paint with cow’s blood, a common method to create peel-resistant paint in the 19th century.

The structure itself, however, dates back to the late 16th century. It was originally a Spanish fortress used by colonial viceroys. Once Argentina secured its independence, it became a customs house overseeing the country’s imports and exports. Then, in 1862, the building was chosen by President Bartolome Mitre to be his executive headquarters.

Mitre’s successor, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, would expanded the building further. It is said that he had the palace painted pink to reflect the diffusion of tensions between two prominent political parties who identified themselves with red and white respectively, though there is little historical evidence to suggest this.

Despite its reputation as a presidential palace, the only president to live in the Casa Rosada was Roque Saenz Pena, between 1910 and 1914. The structure has since achieved a status as a National Historic Monument, and now houses a museum dedicated to the history of Argentina’s presidents.

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