Buenos Aires, the federal capital of Argentina, lies on the west bank of the River Plate (Río de la Plata) and has a population of approximately 13 million inhabitants. The river forms a natural border between Argentina and Uruguay. Pedro de Mendoza founded Buenos Aires in 1536 and christened it Nuestra Señora Santa Maria del Buene Aire after the gentle winds that are said to have guided his ship safely to port.
Modern Buenos Aires features European architecture and several streets that are reminiscent of Paris. Its many museums, exhibition and conference centres, art galleries, cinemas and theatres, with their world-class national and international performances, all bear witness to the city's flourishing cultural life. The Colón Theatre, one of the world's foremost opera houses, is a lively venue that showcases all kinds of music, naturally including Argentina's famous tango.
The financial and economic heart of the country, Buenos Aires is Argentina's main port city. Its intense commercial activity is reflected in its many international shops, department stores and shopping centres. The city's nightlife offers plenty of variety and stretches into the wee hours of the morning. Dance clubs, restaurants, cafés and other attractions are spread all across the city, offering tourists a wide array of possibilities.