San Martin Park is a huge green space in the west of Mendoza, and it’s one of the must-see when you visit the city. You can go with an excursion, by public transport or even walking.
You will easily notice the entrance of the park due to the gigantic iron gates. They are there since year 1907, when they were transported from Glasgow, Scotland. Once in Mendoza, the shields of the province and the condor were added to this work of art.
Inside the park you will see Marly’s Horses, a replica of the work of art that was requested by Louis XV to decorate the gardens of the Palais of Marly and now is on display at the Louvre in Paris. The replica was made in Carrara marble commissioned by the provincial government in 1911.
Another iconic monument in the park is the Fountain of the Continents, which was brought from France and in which 4 children (2 boys and 2 girls) hold the third pool standing on a square base. Each side of the base is inscribed with the name of a continent: America, Asia, Europe and Africa. This is something that draws our attention today because we all know that the continents are 5, not 4. But in 1910 when the fountain was built, Oceania was not considered a continent.
In addition to the monuments, in the park there are other things to see, such as the city’s zoo, an equestrian club, the lake located behind the Fountain of the Continents, the Malvinas Argentinas football stadium where World Cup matches were played in 1978, and of course the Frank Romero Day Greek Theater, scene of the Fiesta de la Vendimia, the most important celebration in Mendoza.
But the most important symbol of the park is once again an art of work. Located since 1912 on the Cerro de la Gloria (formerly, Cerro del Pilar), the Monument to the Andes Army is a truly colossal art of work. It is accessed by climbing a staircase that leads to the top of the hill.
Commemorative plaques decorate the route while one ascends. Some are awesome.
Finally, when you finish climbing the stairs, you can see the esplanade and the imposing monument in the distance, the work of the Uruguayan sculptor Juan Manuel Ferrari.
On the front of the monument you can see the statue of General San Martin, known in Argentina as “The father of the country” for having led the war of independence in Argentina, Chile and Peru. You can alse see there the coat of arms of the Argentina Republic. San Martin is flanked by his Granaderos (name with which he baptized his army), and above all of them the Winged Liberty stands out with the broken chains in his hand.
On the east side of the monument you can see the shield of Peru. The preparation of the Andes Army for the battle is represented there. The shield of Chile is on the west side, and you can see the departure of the troops there, in January 1816. On the south side the sacrifice of the ladies of Mendoza is immortalized. They gave their jewels in collaboration with the financing of the military campaing.
The Cerro de la Gloria and it’s monument remembering the greatest historical deed of the country are a symbol of the Mendoza City that you should visit. No doubt about that!