Mendoza is the capital city of Mendoza Province, in Argentina. It is located in the northern-central part of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, on the eastern side of the Andes. As of the , Mendoza's population was 110,993. The metropolitan population was 848,660 in 2001, making Greater Mendoza the fourth largest census metropolitan area in the country.
Ruta Nacional 7, the major road running between Buenos Aires and Santiago, runs through Mendoza. The city is a frequent stopover for climbers on their way to Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere) and for adventure travelers interested in mountaineering, hiking, horseback riding, rafting, and other sports. In the winter, skiers come to the city for its easy access to the Andes.
Two of the main industries of Mendoza area are wine making and olive oil production.
On March 2, 1561, Pedro del Castillo founded the city and named it Ciudad de Mendoza del Nuevo Valle de La Rioja after the governor of Chile, Don Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza. Before the 1560s the area was populated by three tribes, the Huarpes, the Puelches, and the Incas. The Huarpes devised a system of irrigation that was later developed by the Spanish. This allowed for an increase in population that might not have otherwise occurred. The system is still evident today in the wide trenches that run along the city streets.
It is estimated that fewer than 80 Spanish settlers lived in the area before 1600, but later prosperity increased due to the use of indigenous and slave labor, and the Jesuit present in the region. When nearby rivers were tapped as a source of irrigation in 1788 agricultural production increased. The extra revenues generated from this, and the ensuing additional trade with Buenos Aires, no doubt led to the creation of the state of Cuyo in 1813 with Jose de San Martin as governor. It was from Mendoza that San Martin organized the army with which he won the independence of Chile and Peru.
Mendoza suffered a severe earthquake in 1861 that killed at least 5,000 people. The city was rebuilt, incorporating innovative urban designs that would better tolerate such seismic activity. Mendoza was rebuilt with large plazas and wider streets and sidewalks than any other city in Argentina. Avenida Bartolome Mitre and additional small plazas are examples of that design. Tourism, wine production, and more recently the exploitation of hard commodities such as oil and uranium ensure Mendoza's status as a key regional center.
The city's suburbs, the most important of which are Godoy Cruz, Las Heras, Lujan de Cuyo, and Maipu, have in recent decades far outpaced the city proper in population. Comprising half the metro area population of 212,000 in 1947, these suburbs grew to nearly 7/8 of the total metro area of 894,000 by 2009, making Mendoza the most dispersed metro area in Argentina.
Mendoza has several museums, including the Museo Cornelio Moyano, a natural history museum, and the Museo del Area Fundacional (Historical Regional Foundation Museum) on Pedro del Castillo Square. The Museo Nacional del Vino (National Wine Museum), focusing on the history of winemaking in the area, is 17 km southeast of Mendoza in Maipu. The Casa de Fader, a historic house museum, is an 1890 mansion once home to artist Fernando Fader in nearby Mayor Drummond, 14 km south of Mendoza. The mansion is home to many of the artist's paintings.
The Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (The National Grape Harvest Festival) occurs in early March each year. Part of the festivities include a beauty pageant, where 17 beauty queens from each department of Mendoza Province compete, and one winner is selected by a panel of about 50 judges. The queen of Mendoza city's department does not compete and acts as host for the other queens.
In 2008 National Geographic listed Mendoza as one of the top 10 historic destinations in the world. National Geographic - 2008 Ranking of Historic Places
The city is centered around Plaza Independencia (Independence Plaza) with Avenida Sarmiento running through its center east-west, with the east side pedestrianized (peatonal). Other major streets, running perpendicular to Sarmiento, include Bartolome Mitre, San Martin, and 9 de Julio (July 9th), those running parallel include Colon, and Las Heras. Four smaller plazas, San Martin, Chile, Italia, and Espana, are located 2 blocks off each corner of Independence Plaza. Unique to Mendoza are the exposed stone ditches, essentially small canals, which run alongside many of the roads supplying water to the thousands of trees that provide welcome shade.
The Parque General San Martin (General San Martin Park) was designed by Carlos Thays. Its grounds include a zoo, football stadiums, and the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo. A view of the city is available from the top of Cerro de la Gloria (Mt. Glory).
Mendoza is 1,037 kilometres from Buenos Aires (13 hours by bus) and 380 kilometres from Santiago, Chile (67 hours by bus). Mendoza also has an International Airport. It takes less than 2 hours to fly from Buenos Aires and less than 1 hour from Santiago.
The public transport system includes buses, trolleybuses and taxis. The trolleybuses are more comfortable than the city buses, but are slower, not as numerous nor is the system as extensive. In 2008, Translink of Vancouver, Canada sold their old trolleybus fleet to Mendoza.
A heritage railway, El Tren del Vino (The Wine Train) is being planned which will also provide local transportation, it will run through wine producing districts of Mendoza.
Mendoza's development was helped partly due to its position at the start of the Transandine Railway linking it to Santa Rosa de Los Andes in Chile. The only railway operable between Argentina and Chile, after many years of inactivity, is currently under restoration and testing for its revival as a freight line by Belgrano Cargas.
The Transandine Railway is a metre gauge line, with sections of Abt rack, whilst the railways it links with are both broad gauge. A journey from Buenos Aires to Chile involved two breaks-of-gauge, and therefore two changes of train, one at Mendoza, and the other at Santa Rosa de Los Andes.
The city has also begun the construction of a new tramway line, the Metrotranvia de Mendoza, which will have a route of 12.5 km and will link five areas of the Greater Mendoza conurbation. The opening of the system is scheduled for 2011.
Mendoza is referenced in the 1942 Disney movie Saludos Amigos.
Mendoza is referenced in the 2006 acclaimed film Children of Men in which it is reported that the parents of the youngest person on the planet hail from the city of Mendoza in a bleak 2027.
French director Jean-Jacques Annaud shot his 1997 film, Seven Years In Tibet, in Mendoza. Dozens of spectacular sets ranging from a long recreation of the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa (built in the foothills of the Andes), to a recreation of the legendary Hall of Good Deeds in the Potala, the ancient palace of the Dalai Lama (built in an abandoned garlic warehouse outside the city).
Mendoza's climate can be characterized as arid (Koppen climate classification BWh), with Mediterranean influences (Csa). Mendoza has wet summers and drier winters. Average temperatures for January (summer) are during daytime, and at night. July (winter) the average temperatures are and , day and night respectively. Despite the intensity of agriculture, made possible due to irrigation from major rivers, Mendoza's annual rainfall is only 223.2 mm.
File:Mendoza - Cerro de la Gloria - Monumento.jpg|Monument to the Army of the Andes, on the summit of Cerro de la Gloria
File:Mendoza - Plaza Sarmiento 1.jpg|La Fontaine de L'Observatoire
File:Plaza videla castillo area fundacional.jpg|Plaza Pedro del Castillo
File:Plaza San Martin, Mendoza 4520.jpg|Monument to Jose de San Martin
File:Poder Judicial de Mendoza.JPG|Provincial Judiciary
File:Parque de Mendoza.jpg|Entry to Parque San Martin
File:In the streets of Mendoza.jpg|Avenida San Martin
File:Casa de Gobierno de Mendoza.jpg|Provincial Executive Building
Twin towns Sister cities
Mendoza is twinned with:
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Ramat Gan, Israel
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
1861 Mendoza earthquake
1985 Mendoza earthquake
2006 Mendoza earthquake
V. Letelier, Apuntes sobre el terremoto de Mendoza (Santiago de Chile - 1907)
V. Blasco Ibanez, Argentina y sus Grandezas (Madrid - 1910)
Universidad Nacional de Cuyo
Photos of Mendoza and surroundings
(Spanish) Municipality of Mendoza Official website
(Spanish) Tourism office
(Spanish) Tourism Website of Mendoza
Weather information from FallingRain
(Spanish) Diario Los Andes
(Spanish) Diario Uno
(Spanish) Ciudadano Diario
(Spanish) El Sol
(Spanish) Cuyo Noticias
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Mendoza, Argentina