Mar del Plata
|Mar del Plata|
Aerial view of the city and the beach
La Ciudad Feliz (The Happy City), Mardel, La Perla del Atlántico (The Pearl of the Atlantic)
|Founded||February 10, 1874|
|• Intendant||Gustavo Pulti|
|• Total||79.48 km2 (30.69 sq mi)|
|Elevation||38 m (125 ft)|
|Phone code||+54 223|
Mar del Plata is an Argentine city on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, 400 km (249 mi) south of Buenos Aires. Mar del Plata is the second largest city of Buenos Aires Province. The name "Mar del Plata" has the meaning of "sea of the Plate region" or "adjoining sea to the (River) Plate region". Mar del Plata is one of the major fishing ports and the biggest seaside beach resort in Argentina. With a population of 614,350 as per the 2010 census [INDEC], it is the 7th largest city in Argentina.
As part of the Argentine recreational coast, tourism is Mar del Plata's main economic activity with seven million tourists visiting the city in 2006. Mar del Plata has a sophisticated tourist infrastructure with numerous hotels, restaurants, casinos, theatres and other tourist attractions. Mar del Plata is also an important sports centre with a multi-purpose Olympic style stadium (first used for the 1978 World Cup and later upgraded for the 1995 Pan American Games), five golf courses and many other facilities.
The area is also host to other light industry, such as textile, food manufacturing and polymers. There is a well-developed packaging machines industry, its quality being recognized in international markets. One of these companies was one of the pioneers in the automatic packaging of tea bags, exporting its original machine-designs abroad. Another company also exports its products and sold royalties to other countries.
Located southwest of the city there are quartzite quarries. The stone is traditionally used in construction. There is a huge area of farms in the rural areas surrounding the city, specialized mostly in the cultivation of vegetables.
Although the area had suffered from a high rate of unemployment from 1995 to 2003, Mar del Plata has seen 46,000 new jobs created from the third quarter of 2003 to the third quarter of 2008, representing an increase of 22%.
The 2008 Davis Cup Final was held in Mar del Plata and, after being shut for a decade the Gran Hotel Provincial (one of the largest hotels in Argentina) was reopened by the Madrid-based NH Hotels, in 2009.
Mar del Plata is served by Astor Piazzolla International Airport (MDQ/SAZM) with daily flights to Buenos Aires served by Aerolíneas Argentinas and Sol Líneas Aéreas and weekly flights to Patagonia served by LADE.
Highway 2 connects Mar del Plata with Buenos Aires and Route 11 connects it through the coastline, ending at Miramar, 40 km (25 mi) south of Mar del Plata. Route 88 connects to Necochea and Route 226 to Balcarce, Tandil and Olavarría.
1577–1857: First European explorers. Sir Francis Drake made a reconnaissance of the coast and its sea lion colonies; Don Juan de Garay explored the area by land a few years later. In 1742, during the War of Jenkin's Ear, eight survivors of HMS Wager, part of Admiral Anson expedition, and led by Isaac Morris, lived through a ten-months ordeal before being decimated and captured by the Tehuelches, who eventually handed them to the Spaniards. After holding the Englishmen as prisoners, they returned Morris and his companions to London in 1746. First colonization attempt by Jesuit Order near Laguna de los Padres ended in disaster (1751).
1857–1874: The Portuguese entrepreneur José Coelho de Meirelles, taking advantage of the country's abundance of wild cattle, built a pier and a factory for salted meat, but the business only lasted a few years.
1874–1886: Patricio Peralta Ramos acquired the now abandoned factory along with the surrounding terrain, and founded the town on February 10, 1874. Basque rancher Pedro Luro bought a part of Peralta Ramos land for agricultural production. First docks also erected around this time.
1886–1911: The railway line from Buenos Aires, built by the Buenos Aires Great Southern reached Mar del Plata in 1886; the first hotels started their activity. The upper-class people from Buenos Aires became the first tourist of the new born village. They also established a local government that reflected their conservative ideals. Build-up of a French style resort.
1911–1930: The residents, mostly new arrived immigrants from Europe, demanded and obtained the control of the Municipality administration. The socialist were the mainstream political force in this period, carrying out social reforms and public investment. The main port was also built and inaugurated in 1916.
1930–1946: A military coup reinstated the Conservative hegemony in politics through electoral fraud and corruption, but in the local level they were quite progressive, their policies viewed in some way as a continuity of the socialist trend. The seaside Casino complex opened in 1939, was designed by architect Alejandro Bustillo, and Highway 2, the main road to Buenos Aires, also dates from this period.
1946–1955: Birth of the Peronist movement. A coalition between socialists and radicals defeated this new party by a narrow margin in Mar del Plata, but by 1948 the Peronism will dominate the local administration. The massive tourism, triggered by the welfare politics of Perón and the surge of the middle class marked a huge growth in the city's economy.
1955–1970: After the fall of Perón, the socialists regained the upper hand in local politics; the city reached the peak in activities like construction business and building industry. Massive immigration from other regions of Argentina.
1970–1989: Slight decline of tourism demand, counterbalanced by the increasing of other industries such as fishing and machinery. General infrastructure renewal under the military rule. The centrist Radical Civic Union becomes the main political force after the return of Democracy in 1983.
1989–present: Though the Peronism replaced the radicals in central government amid a national financial crisis, the latter party continued to rule in Mar del Plata. Some resurge of mass tourism in the early '90s was followed by a deep social crisis in town, with an increase of poverty, jobless rate and emigration. By contrast, the first decade of the 21st century shows an amazingly quick recovery in all sectors of the ailing economy.
In November 2005 the city hosted the 4th Summit of the Americas.
Mar del Plata is the most popular destination for conventions in Argentina after Buenos Aires. Mar del Plata has a wide range of services in this sector. The summer season hosts over fifty theatrical plays.
Shows and festivals
- The Mar del Plata International Film Festival, the only competitive accredited film festival in Latin America.
- The Fiesta Nacional del Mar ("National Sea Festival") with the election and coronation of the Sea Queen and her princesses, which takes place in December as the official inauguration of the summer season.
- The Premios Estrella de Mar ("Sea Star Awards") which honor the best stage plays and shows of the season.
- The Valencian Falles week, a local reenactment of the Valencian event conducted by the Valencian community.
- The Mar del Plata Fashion Show, along with a number of fashion parades that gathers the best haute couture designers.
- The Fiesta Nacional de los Pescadores (National Fishermen's Festival), a colourful display of seamen tradition and cuisine.
- Mar del Plata has also hosted the 1995 Pan American Games, the 2003 Parapan American Games, the 2005 FIBA Under-21 World Championship, and co-hosted the 1978 FIFA World Cup and the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship.
- Since 1987 Mar del Plata annually hosts the Mar del Plata Marathon, in early December.
- The 53rd International Mathematical Olympiad was held in Mar del Plata in 2012.
The local Government sponsors a Symphonic Orchestra, as well as a two Conservatoriums (Classical and popular music) and a School of Classical and Modern Dance.
Mar del Plata has a wide variety of clubs located by district: the area of Alem street and Irigoyen (known for its quantity of pubs and nightclubs) and the coast and Constitution Avenue.
- The Juan Carlos Castagnino Municipal Museum of Art.
- The Museum of the Port of Mar del Plata Cleto Ciocchini.
- The Museum of Contemporary Art MAR.
- The Museum of Natural Science Lorenzo Scaglia, specialized in Paleontology of the Quaternary species around the region.
- The Mar del Plata Museum of the Sea, which included one of the most complete collections of sea snails of the World. The museum has been closed to the public since September 2012.
- Villa Victoria, a vintage wooden house, the former residence of the late writer Victoria Ocampo, now a place for art expositions and classical music.
- The Submarine Force Museum, located in the proximities of the Mar del Plata Naval Base. 
- Gabriel Amato (born 22 October 1970), former international soccer player. Former forward of Boca Juniors, River Plate, Rangers FC and Grêmio.
- Inés Arrondo (born November 28, 1977), hockey player, winner along with the national team of an Olympic Silver medal in Sydney 2000 and a Bronze medal in Athens 2004.
- Héctor Babenco (born February 7, 1946), movie director of Hollywood films such as Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ironweed. Raised in Mar del Plata.
- Mario Benedetti (1945), electronics engineer, the main Argentine scientist involved in the Large Hadron Collider project. He is also the owner of Tío Curzio, one of the most fashionable restaurants in the city.
- Erica Bibbó (1985), the first female commander of a naval unit in the Argentine navy.
- Amado Boudou, born in Buenos Aires but raised in Mar del Plata, current vicepresident of Argentina
- Alberto Bruzzone (1907–1994), painter, was born in San Juan but chose Mar del Plata as his home city.
- Germán Burgos (born April 16, 1969), former goalkeeper who played two World Cups. Currently, he is oriented to music.
- Homero Cárpena (1910–2001), actor, playwright and filmmaker
- Juan Carlos Castagnino (1908-1972), painter
- Juan Curuchet (born February 4, 1965), former road bicycle racer and track cyclist, winner of the Men's Madison gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics at the age of 43 along with Walter Pérez.
- Martin Donovan (not to be confused with American actor Martin Donovan), Hollywood screenwriter and producer, co-author of the screenplay of movies like Death Becomes Her and Loving Couples.
- Laura Echarte, agricultural engineer, researcher in crop physiology studies, winner of a 2007 L'Oréal-Unesco international fellowship for Women.
- Juan Eduardo Esnáider (born 5 March 1973), international soccer player. Former forward of Espanyol de Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid, Juventus and River Plate.
- Nacha Guevara (born October 3, 1940), singer and actress
- Jorge Lanata, journalist and writer
- Maria Gabriela Palomo, marine biologist, also winner of the L'Oréal-Unesco junior award in 2003 for her works on port-areas environmental pollution.
- Ástor Piazzolla (1921-1992), composer and musician
- Ricardo Piglia (born November 24, 1941), writer born in Adrogué but raised in Mar del Plata.
- Alfonsina Storni (1892-1938), poet
- Auro Tiribelli (1908–2006), architect, the main representative of the Mar del Plata style.
- Guillermo Vilas (born 17 August 1952), top-ten international tennis player, creator of the Gran Willy shot.
The development of the city as a seasonal summer resort in the early 20th century led upper class tourists from Buenos Aires to build a European-inspired architecture, based mainly on the picturesque and later on the art deco styles. This gave Mar del Plata the nickname of the Argentine Biarritz. The building industry became the main non-seasonal activity of the town by 1920.
During the '30s,'40s, and beyond, local architects and builders, like Auro Tiribelli, Arturo Lemmi, Alberto Córsico-Picollini and Raúl Camusso recreated and transformed the picturesque values into a middle-class scale, marking the beginning of a vernacular architecture, called Mar del Plata Style, consisting in small samples of the luxury-laden summer residences of high society, built for the summer visitor as well as for the local resident.
These chalets were built with stone façades, gables roofs covered with Spanish or French tiles, prominent eaves and front porches. This gives the town some distinctive urban character compared with other Argentine cities, despite the fact that the growing mass of tourists in the '60s imposed the construction of large apartment buildings and skyscrapers as the predominant architectural style downtown.
Mar del Plata has an oceanic climate (Cfb, according to the Köppen climate classification), with humid and moderate summers and relatively cool winters, although polar air masses from Antarctica are frequent. The average temperatures for January reach 20 °C (68 °F) and 8 °C (46 °F) for July. The West-Southwest winds bring down the temperature below 0 °C (32 °F), while the Southeast ones (the so-called Sudestada) are stronger, producing coastal showers and rough seas, as well as strong squalls, but the cold is much less intense.
The city's summer maximum temperatures fluctuate broadly around the average of 27 °C (81 °F): while there are many days between 30 °C (86 °F) and 35 °C (95 °F), strong on-shore or southerly winds can also keep temperatures closer to 20 °C (68 °F), and nights can sometimes be very cool even in midsummer (falling below 10 °C (50 °F) sometimes). This means that tourists on a beach holiday generally always need to have a "plan B" in Mar del Plata. Traditionally, Easter is seen as the "last" weekend to go to the beach in the Argentine Atlantic coast, and average maximum temperatures are around 23 °C (73 °F) at that time. While some years can have the last few days of 25 °C (77 °F) to 30 °C (86 °F) around that time, it is also entirely possible to experience daily highs of 15 °C (59 °F). Winter temperatures average 12 °C (54 °F) during the day and 3 °C (37 °F) at night; they sometimes climb to 18 °C (64 °F) for a couple of days, but there are also days where highs stay around 6 °C (43 °F) and temperatures fall a few degrees below 0 °C (32 °F) at night.
Spring brings the most variable weather, with heat waves bringing highs of 35 °C (95 °F) followed by highs of 10 °C (50 °F) to 15 °C (59 °F) and perhaps a late-season frosty night all perfectly possible in October and November.
There are about 20 days of frost each year, and almost 60 in the west hills area (some 300 mts above the sea level). Snowfall is not uncommon, but snow accumulation on the ground is rare, a phenomenon that takes place every 6 years or so, according to the last 40 year's data.
Among the most best known such occurrences in the latest decades were the 1975 and 1991 snowstorms, but there were also snow accumulations in 1994 and 1997, in the highest hills area of Sierra de los Padres, in 1995 along the southern coast, and other two during the first hours of July 10, 2004 and July 15, 2010. There were flurries in September 1986, June 2007, July 2011 and August 2013. There is fog in the last days of fall, and springtime is often marred by sea winds and sudden temperature's changes. There are some ten days of 30 °C (86 °F) each summer, certainly milder values than the rest of the pampas region. Usually, the summer nights are cool and pleasant, with values between 13 °C (55 °F) to 17 °C (63 °F). The record high is 41 °C (106 °F) on January 1957. The wet season occurs during spring and summer, especially in January, with values between 70 millimetres (3 in) and 80 millimetres (3 in). The average annual rainfall is 780 millimetres (31 in).
|Climate data for Mar del Plata|
|Record high °C (°F)||39.3
|Average high °C (°F)||26.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||20.9
|Average low °C (°F)||15.0
|Record low °C (°F)||4.7
|Precipitation mm (inches)||110.6
|Avg. precipitation days||9||7||9||10||9||8||9||8||7||10||9||10||105|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||288.3||234.5||232.5||195.0||167.4||120.0||127.1||164.3||174.0||210.8||222.0||269.7||2,405.6|
|Percent possible sunshine||63||60||54||58||51||41||42||46||47||51||52||59||52|
|Source #1: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional, NOAA (extremes)|
|Source #2: UNLP (sun only)|
In 1919, Mar del Plata became the first town in South America to have a Socialist Mayor, a son of Italian Immigrants, Teodoro Bronzini. The Socialist Party would dominate the city political landscape for most of the 20th century.
Mar del Plata has had 108 Mayors and Commissioners from 1881 to the present.
There is an extensive but interesting work by the American sociologist Susan Stokes about the democratic process in Mar del Plata since 1983 in comparison to other regions of Argentina. One of the main thesis of her articles is that the social and economic development of Mar del Plata was quite atypical, with a strong prevalence of middle-class values that discouraged the policy of clientelism that is the common background in other urban environments of Argentina.
Mar del Plata hosted six matches in the 1978 FIFA World Cup.
Peñarol and Quilmes de Mar del Plata are the most popular basketball teams. Peñarol have won eight official tournaments (Súper 8, FIBA Americas League, five National Leagues, InterLigas, and Copa Argentina).
Twin towns – Sister cities
Mar del Plata is twinned with:
- Creemos, sin embargo, que por ser el primer contacto que los hombres del Río de la Plata tomaron con el mar se llamó a este punto precisamente mar "del Plata". Cova, Roberto Osvaldo:Síntesis histórica de Mar del Plata: notas para el conocimiento del origen, evolución y desarrollo de la ciudad y de la zona. 1969, p. 8 (Spanish)
- Astillero Naval Federico Contessi (Spanish)
- Bienvenidos a SPI (Spanish)
- Mai S.A
- Orengia y Conforti Ind. y Com. S.A
- Ninatec S.A.
- DelSat Group
- Hacemos Ingeniería de Primera Línea La Capital, 9 May 2011 (Spanish)
- QM Equipment (Spanish)
- INDEC (Spanish)
- Argentina Municipal: La ciudad de Mar del Plata lidera la oferta hotelera del país (Spanish)
- Historical Materials from Southern Patagonia
- Welcome Argentina: Museo Castagnino
- Cleto Ciocchini Harbor Man's Museum
- Museo Municipal de Ciencias Naturales Lorenzo Scaglia
- Museo del Mar (Spanish)
- Villa Victoria Ocampo Cultural Center
- Argentine Navy website, Submarine Force Museum page (accessed 2015-03-05) (Spanish)
- Aplicaciones biológicas de la investigación en física de altas energías (Spanish)
- Visita a la “máquina de Dios” Página 12 newspaper, 16 June 2009 (Spanish)
- CERN document server: "Three Presidents in one day"
- La Capital newspaper, 5 July 2009 (Spanish)
- Argentine scientist gets L'Oreal-UNESCO award
- Prize-Giving Ceremony for 2003 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO 'Women in science' Awards
- Unidos por el sur: Ricardo Piglia (Spanish)
- Murió el arquitecto Auro Tiribelli, creador del chalet marplatense (Spanish)
- Cacopardo, Chapter VII (by Javier Sáez)
- Roccatagliata, pp. 167–174
- Una ola de frío invade a todo el país La Nación, 15 July 2010 (Spanish)
- Retrieved from the following editions of La Capital newspaper:
- 17 July 1975
- 17 September 1986
- 2 August 1991
- 5 August 1995
- 27 June 1997
- 11 July 2004
- 26 June 2007
- "Datos Estadísticos (Período 1981-1990)" (in Spanish). National Meteorological Service of Argentina. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
- "Mar del Plata Aero Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- "Datos bioclimáticos de 173 localidades argentinas". Atlas Bioclimáticos (in Spanish). Universidad Nacional de La Plata. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
- Municipalidad de General Pueyrredón - Honorable Concejo Deliberante (Spanish)
- List of Mar del Plata mayors since 1881 (Spanish)
- Susan Stokes - Department of Political Science - Yale
- Helmke and Levitsky, Chapter 6
- Shapiro and Bedi, pp. 191–195
- "El Equipo de la Ciudad" by Gastón Julián Gil (English)
- Miguel Romano (2010-10-10). "Cartón lleno para el gran campeón". Cancha Llena (in Spanish). Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Federation of International Bandy
- "Tianjin Sister-City Council for the Promotion of Enterprises". Tianjin Sister-City Council for the Promotion of Enterprises. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- Cacopardo, Fernando A. & others: Mar del Plata, Ciudad e Historia. Alianza Editorial S.A./UNMDP, Madrid/Buenos Aires, 1997. ISBN 950-40-0155-6. (Spanish)
- Rocatagliata, Juan A. & others: Mar del Plata y su Región. Sociedad Argentina de Estudios Geográficos, Buenos Aires, 1984. (Spanish)
- Anniversary Editions of La Capital newspaper: 1955, 1980, 1985, 2005. (Spanish)
- Barili, Roberto T.: Mar del Plata, Reseña Histórica. Published by the Municipality of Gral. Pueyrredón, Mar del Plata, 1964. (Spanish)
- Zago, Manrique: Mar del Plata, Argentina. Manrique Zago Ed., 1997. (Bilingual Edition)
- Stokes, Susan C.:Do Informal Institutions Make Democracy Work? Accounting for Accountability in Argentina. University of Chicago. Prepared for presentation at the conference, "Informal Institutions in Latin America". University of Notre Dame, April 23–24, 2003.
- Shapiro, Ian and Bedi, Sonu : Political Contingency: Studying the Unexpected, the Accidental, and the Unforeseen. New York University Press, 2007. ISBN 0-8147-4044-8
- Helmke, Gretchen and Levitsky, Steven: Informal Institutions and Democracy:Lessons from Latin America. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-8018-8351-2
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