Rosario is the largest city in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina. It is located 300 km (187 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires, on the western shore of the Paraná River and has 1,025,000 residents as of the .
It has been the second most important city in Argentina since the end of the 19th century because of the growing and important metropolitan area, a large urban department and for being the most important export centre in the country. It also retains the classical and ancient architecture in some residences, houses and public buildings. It is the third largest city in Argentina in terms of area and population.
Rosario is the head city of the Rosario Department and is located at the heart of the most important industrial corridor in Argentina. Its suburbs and several neighboring towns form the metropolitan area of Greater Rosario, with 1,350,000 inhabitants.
The city is a major railroad terminal and the shipping center for northeastern Argentina. Ships reach the city via the Paraná River, which allows the existence of a 34-feet deep port. The Port of Rosario is subject to silting and must be dredged periodically. Exports include wheat, flour, hay, linseed and other vegetable oils, corn, sugar, lumber, meats, hides, and wool. Manufactures include flour, sugar, meat products, and other foodstuffs. The Rosario-Victoria Bridge, opened in 2003, spans the Paraná River, connecting Rosario with the city of Victoria across the Paraná Delta.
Along with Paraná, Rosario is one of the few Argentine cities that cannot point to a particular individual as its founder. The city's patron is the Virgin of the Rosary whose feast day is on October 7). The asteroid 14812 Rosario was named in its honour.
The permanent settlement of the area today occupied by Rosario began in the 17th century. There was no clear foundation date. The first landowner was Captain Luis Romero de Pineda, and the first formal colonial settlement was initiated by Santiago de Montenegro, who was appointed Mayor in 1751.
Until the 1850s Rosario was a small village of 3,000 inhabitants, with its port banned from foreign trade by an 1841 decree of Juan Manuel de Rosas. On 5 August 1852 Rosario was declared a city after a request by Justo José de Urquiza, who also opened up international trade. By 1880, Rosario had become the first export outlet of Argentina and by 1887 it had about 50,000 inhabitants. It was even declared the federal capital on three occasions, but each time this was vetoed by the Executive Branch.
In the last 15 years of the nineteenth century, the city more than doubled its population, in part due to immigration.
In 1911 the French-owned railway company Ferrocarril Rosario y Puerto Belgrano opened a line between Rosario and Argentina's main naval base in Puerto Belgrano. By 1926, Rosario had 407,000 inhabitants, 47% of them foreign, many coming from Europe in the wake of World War I.
In 1946 Rosario massively supported Juan Perón's rise to power. The city received the benefits of the nationalization and subsidizing of many industries. Perón was deposed in 1955. In 1969 workers and students took the streets to protest against the dictatorship (Rosariazo). During the dictatorship started in 1976, hundreds of citizens were "disappeared" by the government.
In 1983 Argentina returned to democratic rule but Hyperinflation caused the economic collapse of the country in 1989. In Rosario there were riots with episodes of looting. Under the Menem administration the situation became worse as the industrial sector of the city was dismantled by foreign competition and agricultural exports stagnated. In 1995 unemployment in the area reached 21.1%, and a large part of Rosario's population fell below the poverty line. Since then, villas miseria (shantytowns) have grown up, usually augmented by internal migration from poorer areas of the country (particularly Chaco); the last survey (1996) indicated the presence of 91 "precarious urban settlements", with 115,000 inhabitants.
Since the recovery of the national economy that followed the 2001 collapse, Rosario's economic situation has improved. The boom in agricultural exports has caused a large increase in consumer spending and investment. Mayor Miguel Lifschitz's administration is taking advantage of the economic boom to invest heavily in public works, as well as in public health (which takes up about a quarter of the whole budget).
Rosario is ruled by an Executive Branch represented by a Mayor (seat: Palacio de los Leones), and a Legislative Branch, consisting of a Deliberative Council (seat: Palacio Vassallo). The Mayor is elected for a four-year term and the Council renews half of its 21 members every two years.
The city is divided into six large administrative districts (Center, North, Northwest, West, Southwest, and South), with Municipal District Centers that provide services to the citizens.
Local people and institutions have been pushing the provincial government to grant Rosario the status of Autonomous City. Some, with the sponsorship of the governors of Santa Fe, Entre Ríos and Córdoba as well as other important politicians, have put forward a legislative project to move the National Congress to Rosario, to decentralise the national government.
Since the return to democracy in 1983, the Mayors of Rosario were Horacio Usandizaga, Héctor Cavallero, Hermes Binner, and the current one, Miguel Lifschitz (of the Socialist Party, elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2007).
The city does not have a police force of its own (it is served by the provincial police), but in 2004 it lead to the creation of a special patrol force of unarmed officers called Guardia Urbana Municipal ("Municipal Urban Guard") which was imitated later by Buenos Aires in 2005.
Rosario is an important educational center at a national and international level. It is the home of the National University of Rosario (UNR) since 1968,which includes the faculty of National Technological University (UTN), the Law Faculty, the Medicine Faculty, the Humanities Faculty and an advanced study centre called Ciudad Universitaria (university city) that is home to more than 10 colleges, including the Faculty of Psychology, the Faculty of Political Sciences, the Faculty of Architecture, etc. All of these national colleges are free. It also has the private colleges, as the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina (UCA), the Austral University, the University of the Latin American Educational Center (UCEL), the Interamerican Open University (UAI), the Italian University of Rosario (IUNIR), the San Martin University and the University of Concepcion del Uruguay which are private institutions.
There are four AM radio stations: three private (licensed by the state) ones, LT3 Radio 2 (LT2), and LT8, and one public, Radio Nacional Rosario, property of the national state. Among the multitude (above 200) of FM stations some notable ones are FM Vida, Estación del Siglo, FM Del Rosario, Cristal FM, Radio Hollywood, Fisherton-CNN, Continental Rosario, Radio 10 Rosario, Radiofónica, Clásica Rosario, etc.
The city has three notable newspapers: La Capital (Argentina's oldest newspaper, founded in 1867, and still published today), Rosario/12 (founded in 1991), and El Ciudadano & la Región (founded in 1999).
Rosario is located at the center of Argentina's optical fiber ring. The main data transport companies offer all their services in the city, from public phones to mobile networks and broadband Internet access through DSL, cable modem and Wi-Fi, and including public Internet navigation centers (cybercafes).
About 96% of homes have a domestic telephone line, giving a total of 472,170 lines; cell phone usage has also become pervasive, as happened in Argentina as a whole since the beginning of the 21st century, reaching over 86% of the residents (866,000 mobile lines in July 2004). This demand, boosted by low prices and sale promotions, and coupled with restrictions on the installation of antennas and alleged lack of investment by the providers, sometimes degrades the quality of the service. Most notably, the mobile network collapsed almost completely in the celebrations of Christmas, New Year's Day and Friend's Day in 2004 and 2005.
The city has several museums including: the Juan B. Castagnino Fine Arts Museum, the Firma y Odilo Estévez Municipal Decorative Art Museum, the Dr. Julio Marc Provincial Historical Museum, the City Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rosario (MACRo). The Dr. Ángel Gallardo Provincial Natural Sciences Museum was rebuilt after a fire in 2003 and re-opened in a new location in 2006. There is a plan to move the National Oriental Art Museum, which currently shares a building with the National Decorative Art Museum in Buenos Aires, to Rosario.
Rosario has a number of public health centers: 5 municipal hospitals (including a children's hospital and an emergency hospital/trauma center) and a municipal outpatient-only center, plus 2 large provincial hospitals (Hospital Provincial and Hospital Centenario), and their associated primary care centers in the city proper and its metropolitan area.
The Rosario Board of Trade hosts the country's largest commodity market, dealing in cereals and oilseeds, and also the largest futures exchange (ROFEX). The banking sector includes the state-owned Municipal Bank of Rosario, with branches and offices throughout the city, and the central branch of the New Bank of Santa Fe.
The Fundación Italia is a cultural institution whose importance has been growing since its creation in 1985. Created by people who boast a "cultural bond with Italy" it has organized a Neapolitan music concert, the play of Madame Butterfly and numerous talks about the present and future of Argentina. Among the people invited to give these talks were economists Domingo Cavallo and Alfonso Prat Gay, renown scholars Beatriz Sarlo and Silvia Bleichmar, journalists Alejandro Rozitchner and Jorge Asís, filmmaker Fernando Solanas and the former presidents of Chile -Ricardo Lagos-, Argentina -Eduardo Duhalde-, and Uruguay -Luis Alberto Lacalle Herrera.
Rosario lies on the ravine of the right-hand shore of the Paraná, about 24 m above mean sea level, in a place with a natural slope to the low shore. The point of origin of the city is Plaza 25 de Mayo ("May 25 Square"), now surrounded by the Municipality (Palacio de los Leones), the Basilica Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Central Post Office, the Decorative Art Museum and a building called La Bola de Nieve ("The Snowball"). Between the Cathedral and the municipal building is Pasaje Juramento ("Oath Passage"), leading to the Flag Memorial. The streets mostly follow a regular checkerboard pattern.
Córdoba Street begins in the Flag Memorial Park, climbs toward the center, and becomes a pedestrian walk for seven blocks, between Plaza 25 de Mayo and Plaza Pringles. Along Córdoba to the west there is the Paseo del Siglo ("Walk of the Century"), with former houses of wealthy families. There is also Plaza San Martín, and elsewhere, Plaza Montenegro (on Peatonal San Martín, the pedestrian-only four blocks of San Martín Street) and Plaza Sarmiento.
Oroño Boulevard (going north–south) and Pellegrini Avenue (east–west) mark the boundaries of the town center together with the river. At their confluence starts the Parque de la Independencia, that houses the Juan B. Castagnino Fine Arts Museum, the Newell's Old Boys football club, and the sports clubs Provincial and Gimnasia y Esgrima, as well as the horse racetrack and the former Sociedad Rural (Rural Society).
Towards the south, beyond Pellegrini Avenue, there are two more boulevards, 27 de Febrero and Seguí, and avenues Uriburu, Arijón and Battle y Ordóñez.
To the west, after Oroño, there are the avenues Ovidio Lagos and Francia, Avellaneda Boulevard and Provincias Unidas Avenue. The main barrios in the south are La Tablada, Parque Casado, Las Heras, Las Delicias and Las Flores. The city ends in the Saladillo Stream.
Among the barrios in the west are Echesortu, Belgrano, Triángulo, Moderno, Godoy and Fisherton. To the north-east there lie Pichincha, Ludueña, Lisandro de la Torre (home of Rosario Central's stadium) and Empalme Graneros.
Next to the stadium there is the Parque Alem, and nearby the Sorrento thermal power plant. To the north lie the barrios of Alberdi, La Florida (with a popular beach resort of the same name), Parque Field (built under US President John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress development plans) and Rucci. The main streets are Alberdi Avenue and its continuation, Rondeau Boulevard (which leads to the Rosario-Victoria Bridge and the city of Granadero Baigorria). These are crossed by the avenues Las Tres Vías, Génova, Sorrento and Puccio.
An important part of Rosario's urban character is its river bank. The city recovered the river bank of the Paraná not long ago, thanks to a reorganization of terrains formerly owned by the port and the national railroad system. Going from the center immediately north of the port, the river bank is occupied by the parks Parque Nacional a la Bandera, Parque de España, Parque de las Colectividades and Parque Sunchales.
The municipality of Rosario comprises 178.69 km², of which 117 km² are urbanized, in 6,306 housing blocks. Of this area, 9.37 km² (5.3%) is devoted to green spaces (parks, boulevards, plazas), which gives over 10 m² of green space per inhabitant.
Electric power is supplied to the whole urban area and running water reaches 97% of the population (about 350,000 homes). Natural gas is provided to 227,152 homes.
Since the beginning of the recovery of the national economy, the city is experiencing a real estate boom (as of 2007). In the period 2003–2006, the construction sector has added 2 million m², investing about $900 million. Despite this increased supply, prices have increased by 10% compared to the values during the 1990s, and rents have soared by 165%. Experts believe that this growth is propelled by the increased purchasing power of farmers around Rosario, helped by competitive exports, and the overall preference for safer investment options ("in bricks").
Rosario's strategic location is destined to become a significant transportation hub and as the bi-oceanic corridor that links the State of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) on the Atlantic Ocean to Valparaíso (Chile), on the Pacific, an important component in global distribution and the core center of a key corridor in the Mercosur, the Common Market for the South.
The Rosario public transport system includes buses, trolleybuses and taxicab. The trolleybuses consists of only one main trunk line. Plaza Sarmiento is the hub of the city bus system, about 40 urban lines in the metropolitan area that provide service every 5 to 10 minutes. The bus fare is pre-paid by means of a disposable paper card with a magnetic stripe which can be bought from post offices, automatic vending machines, and private businesses. For occasional use, a larger fare can be paid using a coin machine in the bus unit. The interurban lines have differential fares and some allow payment in cash only.
The urban bus fleet was partially renewed during the recovery of the national economy, since 2003, and consists of about 730 units. In 2005 the average age of the buses was 5 years and 11 months. Improvements in the economy have led to increased use of public transport, and comparatively less use of bicycles. According to the Rosario Transportation Office, in 2005 there were about 11 million bus journeys per month, by 2007, usage has climbed to 420,000 people every day (12.6 million per month).
As a curiosity, Rosario has a large number of buses which run on natural gas, as it happens also in Argentina as a whole, and all gas stations provide it. Its price is quite low compared to the alternatives. The idea to transform all buses to this system did not prosper; most buses run on heavily subsidized diesel fuel. Rosario has a medium-sized taxi fleet, with units painted black and outlined in yellow. Some belong to radio-taxi companies and can be reserved by telephone; others only in the streets. As the economy of Argentina recovers, the capacity of the taxi fleet has been strained by higher usage. In September 2005, the Deliberative Council approved the compulsory installation of radio-call systems in all taxi units, but this requirement has not been fulfilled.
Rosario is also a major hub for long-distance overland transportation from the Mariano Moreno Bus Terminal, (Terminal de Omnibus), across from the Patio de la Madera Convention and Exposition Centre complex, about 15 blocks west of Plaza San Martin. The transportation facility serves 73 bus companies in short, medium and long-distance travel, carrying 1,100.000 passengers per month to 784 national and international destinations, which comprise most major domestic cities including Puerto Iguazú, Salta and Bariloche and international destinations such as Asunción, Paraguay, Curitiba and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Montevideo, Uruguay, destinations may be long but white-clad chauffeurs handle comfortable long-distance coaches with modern conveniences.
The passenger train system was severely damaged by the privatization of most railway companies in the early 1990s, but is slowly recovering. The lines of the Nuevo Central Argentino (NCA) railway company handle most of the cargo. Additionally, two private passenger railway companies provide limited services to several major cities. Trenes de Buenos Aires runs weekly trains south to Retiro Station in (Buenos Aires) and north to Santa Fe. The company Ferrocentral also operates weekly trains south to Buenos Aires and northwest to Córdoba and Tucumán.
There is a project to build a high-speed train between Buenos Aires-Rosario-Córdoba, scheduled to be started in 2008, with a inauguration in 2012, it will join Rosario and Buenos Aires in 85 minutes, and will reach Córdoba in another 90 minutes at speeds of up to 320 km/h (200 mph).
Rosario is characterized by an intense cultural activity in many art disciplines, with a national and international reach. The city has given Argentina important characters in the fields of music, painting, philosophical and political thought, poetry and prose, medicine, and law.
Rosario is one of the main urban centers of the Rioplatense Spanish dialect. The intra-dialectal differences with Buenos Aires and other cities in the same area are minimal, though rosarinos aspirate and suppress their final -s more than porteños, and there are also minor lexical variants.
See also: Public holidays in Argentina.
In addition to these official holidays, high school students in the 2000s created a humorous observance, self-styled "holiday", called Día de la Chupina ("Hooky Day"), which is celebrated on the last Friday of April by skipping class altogether and loitering at Rosario city centre.
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