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 and Southern Hemispheres) and for adventure travelers interested in mountaineering, hiking, horse riding, rafting, and other sports. In the winter, skiers come to the city for easy access to the Andes.
Two of the main industries of the Mendoza area are olive oil production and Argentine wine. The region around Greater Mendoza is the largest wine producing area in Latin America. As such, Mendoza is one of the nine Great Wine Capitals, and the city is an emerging enotourism destination and base for exploring the region's hundreds of wineries located along the Argentina Wine Route.
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 García Hurtado de Mendoza. Before the 1560s the area was populated by tribes known as the Huarpes and Puelches. 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 (acequias), which run along all city streets, watering the approximately 100,000 trees that line every street in Mendoza.
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 presence 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 José de San Martín as governor. It was from Mendoza that San Martin, other Argentinian patriots and Chilean patriots organized the army with which they 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 squares and wider streets and sidewalks than any other city in Argentina. Avenue Bartolomé Mitre and additional small squares 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.
Important suburbs such as Godoy Cruz, Guaymallén, Las Heras, Luján de Cuyo and Maipú have in recent decades far outpaced the city proper in population. Comprising half the metro population of 212,000 in 1947, these suburbs grew to nearly ⅞ of the total metro area of over 1,000,000 by 2015, 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 Área 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 kilometres (11 miles) southeast of Mendoza in Maipú. The Casa de Fader, a historic house museum, is an 1890 mansion once home to artist Fernando Fader in nearby Mayor Drummond, 14 kilometres (9 miles) 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.
Mendoza has a number of universities, including the major Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, as well as University of Mendoza, a branch of Universidad Congreso, Aconcagua University, UTN (Universidad Tecnologica Nacional) and Champagnat University.
Mendoza is a popular place to learn Spanish, and there are a number of Spanish language schools, including Intercultural, Green Fields and SIMA.
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 Bartolomé Mitre, San Martín, and 9 de Julio (July 9th), those running parallel include Colón, and Las Heras. Four smaller plazas, San Martín, Chile, Italia, and España, 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. These deep ditches also represent a fall hazard to unsuspecting visitors, particularly in the dark.
The Parque General San Martín (General San Martín Park) was designed by Carlos Thays. Its grounds include the Mendoza Zoological Park and a football stadium, and it is also the home of the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo. A view of the city is available from the top of Cerro de la Gloria (Mt. Glory).
Elections for mayor and councilors took place on 22 February 2015.
Mendoza is 1,037 km (644 mi) from Buenos Aires (13 hours by bus) and 380 km (236 mi) from Santiago, Chile (6–7 hours by bus). Gov. Francisco Gabrielli International Airport serves Mendoza, with flights to/from Buenos Aires taking less than 2 hours and less than 1 hour to/from Santiago.
The public transport system includes buses, the Mendoza trolleybus system, and taxis. The trolleybuses are more comfortable than the diesel buses, but are slower, not as numerous nor is the system as extensive. In 2008, TransLink of Vancouver, Canada, sold most of its 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.
A new 12.6-kilometre (7.8 mi) light rail line, the Metrotranvía Mendoza, opened for regular service in October 2012. and serves five areas of the Greater Mendoza conurbation. The line runs from Estación Central (at the site of the former intercity passenger train station, near the city centre) south to Maipú.
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 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge line, with sections of Abt rack, whilst the railways it links with are both 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) 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.
Argentina’s highly rated Malbec wines originate from Mendoza’s high-altitude wine regions of Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. These Districts are located in the foothills of the Andes mountains between 2,800 and 5,000 feet elevation.
Vintner Nicolas Catena Zapata is considered the pioneer of high-altitude growing and was the first, in 1994, to plant a malbec vineyard at 5,000 feet above sea level in the Mendoza region. His family is also credited with making world-class wines and giving status to the wines of Argentina.
Seven Years in Tibet, directed by French director Jean-Jacques Annaud, was shot in and around Mendoza. Several dozens of sets were built, ranging from a 220-yard (200 m) long recreation of the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa (built in the foothills of the Andes), to a 9,000-square-foot (840 m2) recreation of the 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 is characterized as an arid (Köppen climate classification BWh or BWk depending on the isotherm used); with continental characteristics. Most precipitation in Mendoza falls in the summer months (November–March). Summers are hot and humid where mean temperatures can exceed 25 °C (77 °F). Average temperatures for January (summer) are 32 °C (90 °F) during daytime, and 18.4 °C (65.1 °F) at night. Winters are cold and dry with mean temperatures below 8 °C (46.4 °F). Night time temperatures can occasionally fall below freezing during the winter. Because winters are dry with little precipitation, snowfall is uncommon, occurring once per year. July (winter) the average temperatures are 14.7 °C (58.5 °F) and 2.4 °C (36 °F), day and night respectively. Mendoza's annual rainfall is only 223.2 mm (8.8 in), so extensive farming is made possible by irrigation from major rivers. The highest temperature recorded was 44.4 °C (111.9 °F) on January 30, 2003 while the lowest temperature recorded was −7.8 °C (18.0 °F) on July 10, 1976.
See Category:Sport in Mendoza, Argentina
The city boasts at least two significant football clubs—Independiente Rivadavia and Gimnasia y Esgrima de Mendoza, although neither currently plays in the Primera División. A club from the nearby city of Godoy Cruz, Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba, is currently in the Primera.
See Category:People from Mendoza, Argentina
Mendoza is twinned with: São Paulo, Brazil
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