Lonely Planet review
French landscape architect Carlos Thays designed the leafy Plaza San Martín, which is surrounded by some of Buenos Aires' most impressive public buildings. The park's most prominent monument is the obligatory equestrian statue of José de San Martín ; important visiting dignitaries often come to honor the country’s liberator by leaving wreaths at its base. On the downhill side of the park you’ll see the Monumento a los Caídos de Malvinas , a memorial to the young men who died in the Falklands War.
Retiro was the site of a monastery during the 17th century, and later became the country retiro (retreat) of Agustín de Robles, a Spanish governor. Since then, Plaza San Martín – which sits on a bluff – has played host to a slave market, a military fort and even a bullring. Things are much quieter and more exclusive these days.
At the south end of the plaza is Estación Retiro (Retiro train station), which was built in 1915 when the British controlled the country’s railroads.