Tours and Activities:
City tour in Río GallegosMónica PonsWelcomeargentina
A walk around the self-guided sights left us face to face with the beginnings of this city, its historical events, its architecture and Christian legacy received by the first Salesians.
With the possibility of having a guide to tour around the downtown area and discover the most attractive locations and events from the past, we set out on a nice stroll around Río Gallegos. Without haste, we reached the House of Government, at 231, Alcorta Street, while we breathed in the aroma of the wild flowers in the squares and private houses.
Back in 1888, the capital of the territory of Santa Cruz was moved to present Río Gallegos and its governor, Ramón Lista, ordered the construction of the governmental seat according to the traditions of the time. It was a two-story building made of wood and zinc. Years later, it became inappropriate for its function and governor Juan Manuel Gregores had it disassembled and destined the space to the Police Headquarters. The second and present seat of the House of Government was built in the adjoining plot.
A curious fact is that an area today known as Roca's balcony was preserved from the original building. This is a homage to President General Roca's visit to this city on his way to Punta Arena, where he met President Federico Errázuriz to sign a peace treaty between both nations.
Afterwards, we headed towards the Angel Sureda waterfront in order to see the pebble beach and the mouth of the ria into the Atlantic Ocean. At this point, the blue waters of the sea enter the land and the movement of the tides may be easily observed.
The ends of its 1,000 meters of length are Cabo Buen Tiempo (Cape Good Weather) to the north and Punta Loyola and Puerto Presidente Illia to the south. We enjoyed its terraced high plateaus and the soft slope towards the seashore and discovered the Monument in honor of the Heroic Argentinian Pilot, which pays tribute to the aviators fallen during the Malvinas War.
Another art work commemorates the 100 years of the arrival of Villarino transport, which brought along the elements to settle down the subprefectura force in Río Gallegos before the foundation of the city. Also, the Don Bosco Monument honors the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of evangelization in Patagonia.
Another emblematic point in the city is Plaza de la República (The Republic Square), where we appreciated its luminous fountain. Tribute is paid to Admiral Guillermo Brown and Commander Luis Piedrabuena at this location. The latter was a staunch defender of Argentinian Patagonia.
Swift Slaughterhouse and La Blanca Fat Factory have been milestones for the city, as in 1900 they were the basis of industrialization of lamb meat. This product was selected, chilled and sent to Swift in La Plata. Its venue used to stand on the corner of Roca Street and Malaspina Street. Later on, packaged sub-products would be sent to the docks on the ria through a railway line.
Thus, ships came in from England bringing coal and returned to Europe carrying lamb products. The company had 400 employees. Some of them came from the headquarters in La Plata. Many of them chose to be residents of Río Gallegos.
That was the time when cattle raisers earned good profits by selling their animals, thus contributing to the economic boom of the area. Afterwards, and due to European market demands, the production was reduced until Swift was finally auctioned.
We may have visited just some of the many attractions in Río Gallegos. The ones we have listed here have helped us understand the historical values of this sea population in Argentinian Patagonia.