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The Greater Mendoza Area consists the City of Mendoza and the Departments of Godoy Cruz, Las Heras, Guaymallen, Maipu and Lujan de Cuyo. Here we find a great number of tourist attractions and a vast offer for tourists.

With more than 200,000 inhabitants living on a surface of 200 square kilometres, Godoy Cruz is one of the most important cities of the Mendoza Province. It has a close functional relation with the neighboring departments: the City of Mendoza, Guaymallen, Las Heras, Lujan de Cuyo and Maipu.

Godoy Cruz acquired city status on February 9, 1909 and its name was given as a homage to doctor Tomas Godoy Cruz, a Mendoza representative to the Tucuman Congress and a province governor.

The square and monument in honour of this famous legislator was inaugurated in 1924, and since that date it became the urban axis of the city. Surrounded by the streets of Rivadavia, Colon, Lavalle and Perito Moreno, here we find the best architectural exponents of the historical patrimony of the town.

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The most prominent buildings are the ones of the Honorable Concejo Deliberante (the oldest public building in Mendoza, built in 1889), the Town Hall, the movie theatre, and the San Vicente Ferrer Church.

The city carries out an interesting commercial activity. An example is the Bodega Arizu on Avenida San Martin, the Bodega Escorihuela on Avenida Alvar, and the Palmares Open Mall on the Panamerican Route.

The Iglesia San Vicente Ferrer Church
It is located in the so called Microcentro Historico Civico - Civic and Historical Small Centre Cultural downtown area. It has a neo-Gothic style and it was built between the years 1906 and 1912. Before the 1861 earthquake it was located in another place that was partially destroyed.

During the XVIIth century, the Dominican order owned an estate nearby. The process of converting the inhabitants of this area began there.

The first record of a cult of San Vicente is registered in the family oratory built in 1753 on the estate of don Tomas Coria, a descendant of the Spanish captain Juan Coria y Bohorquez.

On the west side of the church we find a grotto with an image of the Virgin of Lourdes and an outdoors Calvary. It is located on Lavalle Street N° 60.

The Calvary
The Calvario de la Carrodilla is a religious centre attended by many faithful believers. It was created by the Franciscan priest Francisco Aymont, who, after being driven out of Spain, made the promise of building three calvaries in memory of the Passion of Christ. He built the first one in Mendoza, then one in La Rioja and the third one in Catamarca. During Easter the traditional blessing of olive branches is carried out and the faithful follow the Via Crucis. The El Calvario was built in 1844 and was remodelled in 1996.

It is a large department that begins north of the City of Mendoza, and extends to the sector named the Alta Montaña or High Mountain area. It is centred around San Martin Avenue, and includes El Challao, the El Plumerillo camp and airport, and it reaches the borders of Villavicencio.

0f varying altitude between 1900 and 2500 m.a.s.l., located between the Cordillera del Tigre Mountain Range, the foothills of the Andes , the Bonilla Colorado range, and the Cordillera de los Andes Mountain Range itself, its different parts thrive due to the help of tributaries such as San Alberto and Uspallata, which allow for graceful boulevards and attractive forest areas.

Human activity in the valley dates back to pre-Columbian times, with settlements of primitive peoples reflected in Tunduqueral rock paintings and the Camino del Inca Highway. We can find remains of the stone walls of ancient Inca rest and supply stations, so called Tambos in Ranchillos, Fundicion, Tambillos and Yalguaraz.

During the Viceroyalty it was an important post on the Camino Real Royal Highway as well as a mining centre. During the wars of Independence it had an important role in General San Martin's campaign as a route used by General Las Heras because of the summit pass.

Among its historical monuments, the Bovedas de Uspallata stand out. They are colonial buildings which date back to the end of the XVIIIth century, and which were used as a smelting furnace for local metals. The foundry was part of the colonial mining complex of Paramillos. They were built with mud and stone walls, and vaulted ceilings made of mud and straw.

Nearby we can practice sport fishing, mountain climbing, adventure tourism, cultural tourism and vacation tourism.

El Challao
It is a picturesque recreational area the traveller may get to from the San Martin Park gates. You go along Del Libertador Avenue to the third roundabout past the university campus. Then the road divides in two, but you must go north, along Marcelino Champagnat Avenue, until the La Colina street. After crossing the bridge over the ditch, you will reach the Dalvian residential area, and then turning left you will find the entrance.

In the vicinity of El Challao, the traveller enjoys a first sight of the Cerro La Angostura Hill, with the "Cristo de los Cerros", a huge cross with the image of Christ blessing the city. Its esplanade is a magnificent lookout point covered with pines, eucalyptus and aguaribaye trees.

El Challao extends from San Martin Park to the Cordon de Las Lajas. It has all necessary comforts for camping, and a hotel with hot springs, as well as discos, coffee shops, a bicycle and motor bike circuit, and the resort known as Challaolandia that includes an amusement park, ski lifts, horse rentals and picnic areas.

The Nuestra Señora del Lourdes Sanctuary
This sanctuary comprises an old chapel, with its walls completely covered by pledges made by the faithful, as well as a modern one nave temple isle, which resembles a modern glazed amphitheatre with a capacity of three thousand people. It has been an important pilgrimage centre for 25 years. On the night of February 11th every year , hundreds of devout believers set off from the City of Mendoza and travel the long distance on foot.

The Hotel Termal
Immersed in a foothill landscape, at 900 m.a.s.l., surrounded by small hills everywhere, it is a comfortable and peaceful place, a good alternative to cure rheumatic illnesses close to the City of Mendoza.

The Zoological Garden
In a 50 hectares area, on the forested slopes of the Cerro de La Gloria Hill, we find one of the best zoos in South America. The traveller has the possibility of choosing a short or long tour, which include a winding course through humid and shady spots, accompanied by eucalyptus, elm and aguaribaye trees. There are over 700 animals in a total of 110 enclosures, each one faithfully reproducing their natural habitat.

El Plumerillo Historical Camp
Located 19 kilometres from the City of Mendoza, going north along the Avenida San Martin Avenue, and then along Ruta Provincial N° 52 Provincial Route. It was the camp where general don Jose de San Martin trained his troops before organizing the Ejercito de los Andes Army and began the liberation campaign of Chile and Peru. Its most outstanding buildings are the general's bedroom-cabinet, the officers pavilion and the barracks where the soldiers were lodged. It had walls made of adobe bricks, roofs made of reeds and straw, a sand floor and leather doors.

It is located 25 kilometres north of the City of Mendoza, passing the airport. It is a monument in honour of the Ejercito de los Andes Army. It consists of two large stone walls that mark the geographical spot where the columns commanded by the Argentinean leaders Las Heras and San Martin separated from the troops led by Chilean general O'Higgins during the 1817 campaign. There are several springs of water in the area.

At 45 kilometers from the City of Mendoza, on the road to Uspallata, we find the Villavicencio Nature Reserve. It covers 70000 hectares, and it was created to protect the biological, historical, cultural and archaeological diversity within. It was created on the year 2001 as a result of the signing of an agreement between the Mendoza local government and French NGO Agua Danone.
Among the native flora kept here we can find sweet carob, sarsaparrilla, broom, the so called marancel, myrtle and others. Its fauna includes guanacos, mountain cats, pumas, chinchillas, grey and red foxes, condors and the so called choique.

Here we find, at 1,800 meters over sea level, the Villavicencio hot springs, famous for its waters with mineral and healing properties. The interesting Hotel Termas de Villavicencio is built on the site, with a Norman-style design, which since the early XXth century has become the classic image of the Mendoza mountains.

The hotel is surrounded by fabulous parks and gardens that have become by themselves an unforgettable place for a walk at any time of the year.

Villavicencio's water is mythical, delicious and healing. It is born out of every drop of water that falls on the Aconcagua (6959 m.a.s.l.). It enters the heart of the mountain and comes out again to the surface, driven by b pressures and high temperatures, forming springs at 1,750

The Caracoles de Villavicencio or the Camino de las 365 Curvas Road
It is a curious road also known as the "one-year-route". It starts in Paso Caracoles and it reaches Cruz de Paramillos (3200 m.a.s.l.). In the old days it was the only road to Chile.

At the present time it is a cliffhanging road with interesting flora and fauna, besides an spectacular view of the mountains.

There are two lookout points nearby, the Alas Delta and the El Balcon, which offer impressive panoramic views of the area. From El Balcon we can contemplate a spectacular precipice 600 meters deep, caused by a giant land fracture. "La Cruz del Paramillo" is another spot on the road the traveller cannot fail to visit. From there we can enjoy a panoramic view of the Uspallata Valley.

The Wine Museum
It is located a few metres away from the Bodega Giol Winery. It was built in the year 1910 and it possesses diverse architectural styles. Guided tours are carried out all year. Its address is Ozamis street N° 914.

To the west of the City of Mendoza, just separated by a canal, we find the city of Guaymallen, a place that has kept its original name and possessing a flat surface for most of its territory.

With almost 125000 inhabitants, Guaymallen was born as an arrival and departure point in all directions, and remains so. It is the crossroads for the main international and inter provincial routes.

Although it was mainly an agricultural town, Guaymallen has succeeded in developing through the years a variety of industrial activities, especially in the transformation and canning of the produce from its vineyards, olives and fruit trees.

As a consequence, there has been a boom in the construction of residential neighbourhoods and shopping malls that have transformed it into one of the locations with the most commercial and industrial activity in the Mendoza Province.

Agricultural fields are located east of town. In that area we also find el Predio de la Virgen and Juan Domingo Peron Park, recreational spaces for Mendoza citizens and visitors who wish to enjoy nature or watch a show.

In the south there is also a 250000 square metres large park and important residential centres and areas.

In the department there is also the General Belgrano Train Station, which joins the province with the north of Argentina, and the Bus Terminal, called Terminal del Sol, on the border of the Capital City.

Molina Pico Museum
Since the XVIIIth century, Guaymallen was the place elected by Mendoza landowners to build their main family houses. This house was built in year 1785 and was destroyed by the 1861 earthquake. It belonged to the Molina Pico family and is made of adobe bricks with a mud and reeds roof. It has galleries, big-sized rooms, yards and gardens. General San Martin stayed there and it is now a museum. Guided tours are carried out Monday to Friday. It is on Paroissiens Street 747.

At 18 kilometres south of the City of Mendoza, Lujan de Cuyo is a town which for many years was an obligatory step on the way to the south or west of the province. At the present time it is a place with a privileged boom in agricultural, cattle raising, mining and industrial activities.

In its territory we find varying landscapes. From the high mountain to an extensive plain crossed by rough areas modified by the hand of man. Its location on the river valley, and its benign microclimate has allowed an extensive part of its land to become a place for weekend houses and summer residences.

It has one of the most attractive squares in Mendoza. Full of trees and colorful flowers, it still keeps a small town spirit. Surrounding it we find the civic, religious and commercial center of the city.

The town has many ore furnaces and hydroelectric works next to the river, as well as an important YPF oil refinery. The first oil exploitation in Latin America and the first oil duct was built in Lujan de Cuyo.

Among its tourist attractions, we can mention the Valle de Potrerillos, small valleys with ski tracks, Cacheuta with its hot springs, and the El Carrizal Dam (a water mirror shared with Rivadavia) which transforms into an ideal scenery to practice water sports and a place to camp.

One of its districts, Perdriel, has become very important in recent years because many celebrations and traditional festivals are carried out there. They have even built a fair grounds where hundreds of visitors gather to celebrate the Dia de la Tradicion Festivity , the Feriagro Lujan, an agricultural and cattle exposition, and the grape harvest and winemaking celebrations that last several weeks every year.

Mendoza has countless large houses, big Estancia cattle farms and smaller Fincas vineyards dedicated to the production of quality wine. In this area is where the Caminos del Vino become more important. The traveller can learn about the history, the culture and the idiosyncrasy of Mendoza citizens, and get in touch with the owners of the old houses in the area.

The world famous Bodega Chandon Winery stands out for its exquisite sparkling wine. It was the first branch outside France, because in the parent house it was considered that the soil and climate of this place were ideal to obtain grapes with great aromatic concentration, body and taste.

Lujan de Cuyo shares with the Las Heras Department the high valley of the Rio Mendoza River, which allows the traveller to enjoy snow and practice winter sports. The traveller may also participate in extraordinary walks and wonderful horse-riding trips, as well as practicing sport fishing and photographic safaris.

The Parroquia de la Virgen de la Carrodilla Church
In the year 1778 don Antonio Solanilla left his native Huesca, Spain, to establish himself in Mendoza, and among his personal belongings he brought an image of Virgin Mary on a farm cart used for work. The Virgin had the baby Jesus in one hand, and grapes in the other hand, and in the XXth century it became the Heavenly Patron of Vineyards.

Solanilla built her a chapel near his home. And in 1840 his daughter Agustina and the Pleitel family enlarged it. In 1955 it was handed out to the Misioneros Oblatos de la Inmaculada Gray for its restoration and decoration. It is a National Historical Monument. It is on the intersection of Carril Cervantes and Carrodilla streets.

The Pulperia El Rancho Pub
Across from the Iglesia de la Corrodilla Church, we find a picturesque pulperia named El Rancho. In that place the traveller can buy interesting handcraft and taste home made meat fried pastries, characteristically very juicy, with a delicious glass of red wine. In autumn and winter the warmth from a fireplace placed in the middle of the establishment invites us to stay there for a long time. Its olives and garlic pastas are bly recommended.

Chacras de Coria
It is a summer district we may reach a couple of kilometres south of Lujan de Cuyo. Its splendid country houses alternate with vineyards and olive groves. It is a residential neighbourhood with nightlife, as well as a picturesque square.

It was owned by Juan de Coria y Bohorquez in the XVIth century. He channelled the river and planted the first trees brought from the Iberian peninsula.

The square remains intact in the town centre, a splendid corner full of native vegetation, and where traditional open air concerts are carried out by night. Across the street we can see the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Church.

The Cipoletti Dam
This great water spillways is a fundamental part of the irrigation and development of Lujan del Cuyo, taking its name from engineer Cesar Cipoletti, who built it in the year 1880.

The utilization of Rio Mendoza river waters in artificial irrigation began in pre-Hispanic times with a sluice that was improved during Colonial days and was known as the Spaniards Spillway or Toma de los Españoles. Today it is a National Historical Monument.

It receives water in the main canal and from there two branches split off, one of them known as Cacique Guaymallen that goes to Mendoza forming the fertile oasis of the capital area.

The Casa Fader Museum
In the home of the painter Fernando Fader, who lived in Mendoza between 1904 and 1915, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Emiliano Guiñazu was inaugurated in 1951. It exhibits permanent collections of paintings, engravings, sculptures and photographs of Argentinean and foreign artists, next to paintings, drawings and sculptures of the renowned artist, born in France. It is on San Martin 3651.


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