I thought in today’s installment I would give you a short overview of Mendoza.
Mendoza is the capital of the province of the same name in western Argentina. It is situated at an elevation of 2,497 feet (761 meters) at the foot of the Andes Mountains. While it is the fourth largest metro area in Argentina, the city itself is small, around 200,000 people. It is dwarfed by its adjacent suburbs, bringing the metro area total to about 1.3 million.
The city was founded in 1561 by Spaniards coming over the mountains from Chile. It has grown into a major cultural and economic center for the region with its three universities, museums and theaters, and its olive oil and internationally famous wine industries.
In 1861 Mendoza was destroyed by an earthquake, with heavy loss of life. The city was rebuilt, incorporating innovative urban designs that would better tolerate such seismic activity. Mendoza was rebuilt with large squares and with wider streets and sidewalks than any other city in Argentina. Although the climate is dry, literally a desert, irrigation has permitted local cultivation of gardens, orchards, and vineyards.
You would never know it’s a desert town because of irrigation ditches that run beside every main road to water the more than 80,000 trees and provide the glorious fountains that adorn every main plaza, as well as provide water to the vineyards Mendoza is famous for. In fact, 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 of the world.
A bustling city of wide, leafy avenues, atmospheric plazas and cosmopolitan cafes, Mendoza has a beautiful ambiance, a change from much of the bare feel of many Argentine cities. The Siesta (afternoon nap) is still taken in Mendoza, mostly because of the summer heat. Most businesses close around 12:30 and then re-open at about 5:00pm and stay open until 8:30. Although temperatures go into the 90’s in the summer, in the winter it averages in the low 40’s with periodically minor snowfalls.
It is also a tourism gateway to the Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, as well as skiing and other winter sports. From the city to you can clearly see the towering foothills of the Andes, with glimpses of some of the snow-covered peaks beyond.
Mendoza is a strategically located city, being 644 miles from Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital and only 236 mi from Santiago, the capital of Chile. It has an international airport with flights to/from Buenos Aires taking less than 2 hours and less than 1 hour to/from Santiago.
Argentina is currently in a political and economic crisis. There is a 32% poverty rate and rampant crime and violence. The current government is making some progress to fix the economy and eliminate corruption, but it’s very slow. 35 years ago there was a great revival in Argentina with thousands coming to the Lord, but as with most revivals, it eventually ran out of steam, and now there are many desperate people who need Jesus. We believe there is no better time than this to be planting a church where people can come to know Jesus in a genuine and personal way.
Please pray that God will lead us to those people.