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 2010 census [INDEC], Mendoza's population was 115 041. The metropolitan population was 1 055 679 in 2010, 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 and Southern Hemispheres) and for adventure travelersinterested 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 olive oil production and wine making. The region around Greater Mendoza is the largest wine producing area in Latin America. As such, Mendoza is one of nine cities worldwide in the network of Great Capitals of Wine, and the city is an emerging enotourism (Wine tourism) destination and base for exploring the region's hundreds of wineries located along theArgentina 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 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 (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.
The city's suburbs, the most important of which are 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 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.
In September 2013 a request was presented to the municipality to rename the city to its original native name Huentota, as opposed to the current name Mendoza, a reference to García Hurtado de Mendoza who had been accused of abuses against indigenous people.
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 abeauty 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, andChampagnat University.
Mendoza is a popular place to learn Spanish, and there are a number of Spanish language schools, including Intercultural, Green Fields and SIMA.
Monument to the Army of the Andes, on the summit of Cerro de la Gloria