The city's main Catholic church, finished in 1827, is a significant religious and architectural landmark, where Jorge Bergoglio (now known as Pope Francis) served as Archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 to 2013. Carved above its triangular facade and neoclassical columns are bas-reliefs of Jacob and Joseph. The spacious interior is equally impressive, with baroque details and an elegant rococo altar. There’s a small museum dedicated to the cathedral’s history. For Pope Francis souvenirs, visit the small gift shop near the entrance.
The cathedral is also a national historical site that contains the mausoleum of General José de San Martín, Argentina’s most revered hero, who led the country to independence in 1816. In the chaos that followed, San Martín chose exile in France, never again returning to Argentina; his remains were brought to Buenos Aires in 1880, 30 years after his death. Outside the cathedral you’ll see a flame keeping his spirit alive.