At our Spanish school in Buenos Aires we go to discover a different neighbourhood of Buenos Aires each week. This time I want to tell you about our visit to Mataderos. And I want to thank Jasper who sent me the photos that you can see in this post!
One of the best-kept secrets in Buenos Aires is the Feria de Mataderos, you may already know about the ferias in San Telmo or Recoleta, but if you want a real South American experience, come to Mataderos to see the gauchos (Argentine cowboys) who come from the countryside with their displays of horsemanship, handicrafts, live music, folk dancing, and delicious foods.
Mataderos is a neighbourhood located in the west of the city. Every Sunday from 11 am (or Saturday evening during the summerÂ´s months) this feria has place.
The fair is located opposite the National Cattle Market between Lisandro de la Torre Av. and Los Corrales Av. The fair has a truly jovial atmosphere, although it takes place in one of the poorest sectors of the capital. Mataderos were where cattle were traditionally brought in from around the country, slaughtered, and then shipped out as meat to other parts of the capital (the name Mataderos literally means slaughterhouses – and the area is also often called Nueva Chicago, because of the cattle-killing heritage it shares with the â€˜Windy Cityâ€™).
The Mataderos Fair displays Argentinian handcrafts and stimulates the country’s popular traditions. The fair has three main areas devoted to traditional handicrafts, artistic performances and gaucho showcases, the fair features competitions, traditional games, exhibitions, traditional celebrations, popular dances and regional food.
The ” Feria de Mataderos” offers a wide range of typical Argentine handicrafts, and of indigenous origin. There is a huge selection of artifacts made in silver, wood, fabric and ceramic and prices are much better than in fancy boutiques in Buenos Aires selling the same pieces.
Traditional celebration in mataderos
There we ate all kinds of traditional food (there are even options for vegetarians, such as â€œhumitasâ€). We also eat the traditional argentinian toffee apple covered in Popcorn!
And while you eat, you can also enjoy performances of Argentinian music. With the live band playing folk music on accordions, traditional bombo legÃ¼ero drums, folk guitars, and vocals, itâ€™s a true fiesta, a street party, and people might grab you by the shoulder and laughingly try to pull you into their dancing circle. Feel free to join in!
Shop selling traditional food.
The gaucho spirit lives on at this Sunday-afternoon fair. For example, in our last visit at around 3.30 pm the sortija takesplace and this was really worth seeing. Dressed in Gaucho regalia horsemen race down the street on their horses tanding up in the saddle with their eyed fixed on a small ring dangling from a string which they attempt to spear with a small stick. Believe it or not is actually can be done as we saw it happen a few time. Man there guys ride like the wind and it really is great to watch.
“La sortija” game: catch a little ring with a small stick in a horse race.
This fair is the ideal place to soak up some rodeo-style horse antics, chow down on choripan (grilled sausage on a bun; the Argentinean version of a hot dog), and wander the endless craft booths in search of a perfect mate gourd (the traditional vessel for drinking a highly caffeinated local herb tea) or that horse-hoof ashtray you’ve always dreamed of.
In addition, free workshops provide insights into loom weaving, guitar playing, wood engraving, folklore and tango dance.
How to get there: by bus: 36, 55, 92, 63, 80, 92, 97, 103, 117, 126, 141, 155, 180, 185.
Website:Feria de Mataderos Website