Plaza Independencia Mendoza is located in the center of the city. While this is the classic location for a city’s central square throughout the cities in Latin American colonized by Spain, this is not a colonial square. In fact, most of the architecture in the city is more modern because Mendoza was virtually destroyed in a massive 7.2 earthquake in 1861. The city was completely rebuilt around Plaza Independencia, and the provincial government seat was moved here in 1863. Around this square are many of the best Mendoza hotels (including the five-star Park Hyatt Hotel) as well as a number of smaller boutique hotels and hostels.
Here also, you will find great shopping, good restaurants, and a number of attractions. Here is the Julio Quintanilla and the Independecia Theater, the provincial government buildings, the National School, and the Modern Art Museum. The Modern Art Museum is located in the underground level beneath the plaza, and exhibits sculptures, paintings, pottery, and drawing by regional artists. There is also a fascinating Engraving Gallery. Plaza Independencia Mendoza is a lively place most of the year, as people come to enjoy the green spaces, fountains, markets, and numerous special events.
No Plaza Independencia Mendoza event is more important that the Vendemia Wine Harvest Festival that lasts from the end of February through the first week of March. Mendoza is the wine capital of the country, and many of the best vineyards and wineries in Argentina (more than 900 of them) are located in the surrounding region. Wine has been produced here since the mid-16th century, and the Vendemia Wine Festival is the most important in the country. Regional harvest queens are selected and paraded through the plaza in beautifully decorated floats. There are fireworks, concerts, food extravaganzas, light shows, dancing, and much more. Even the colorful Argentina gauchos get into the act on the day the “Carrusel” is held, parading on their horses in traditional dress in the company of a procession of traditional horse carts.
Image: audvloid (flickr)