Buenos Aires is the hub of Argentina in almost all senses. It fulfills an extremely important role as Argentina's major port city. It is the center of the country's cultural, economic, industrial, and political life. The population of the city proper is almost 2.8 million while the area known as Greater Buenos Aires is estimated to have a population of over 12 million.
Tango is one of the cultural treasures born in Buenos Aires. This evocative dance form began around the end of the 19th century and by 1902 the Teatro Opera had begun organizing tango balls. By the 1920s this dance form became popular in Parisian high society and spread throughout the world from there. One of the singers who helped to popularize and refine tango music was Carlos Gardel. Today, Gardel is still highly regarded, even idolized, and thousands visit his tomb every year. Many will put a lit cigarette in the hand of the life-sized statue that stands over the tomb.