The City of Mendoza
We were met at Mendoza’s Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport by our local guide Ricardo, who is not only knowledgeable and passionate about the history and culture of Mendoza, but also a student of wine-making and marketing, with hopes to one day work in the industry. Ricardo began our tour of the city at the site where it all began – the current site of the Plaza Pedro del Castillo, the old town square. 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 of stone ditches (essentially small canals) 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.