SAN RAFAEL ARCÁNGEL CATHEDRAL
San Rafael Arcángel Cathedral started being built in 1935 and was opened in 1952, as an answer to the needs of a great part of the population. It’s a modern building of neo-romantic architecture located in front of San Martín Square. To the right of the cathedral is located the San Marco tower, donated by Viñuela family in 1952. Inside the cathedral, the highlight is “Cruz de San Andrés” painted by local artist, Raúl Landete. In the left-side nave, you can observe the resting place of the remains of Monsignor Jesús Roldan and Monsignor Laón Krauk, former priests of the cathedral. It is located in the center of San Rafael, in front of the Municipal Palace, where the Executive and Legislative Powers of San Rafael work, and San Martín Square.
GENERAL SAN MARTÍN SQUARE
It’s the main square of the city, built in 1925. It was the French pioneer Rodolfo Iselín who donated the land to build it, and Engineer Fornari who was in charge of sketching it. The main statue, an equestrian monument cast in bronze, shows General San Martín raising his right hand and pointing the road that “Ejercito de los Andes” traveled in order to free the South American people. The square has been recently restyled; it has water fountains, beautiful luminaire, benches, a carefully tended forestation and free WI-FI.
Among the beauties that our lovely square has, The SAND CLOCK stands out. The clock is a present from agricultural cooperative “La Vencedora” and “Cooperativa de Obras Servicios Públicos y Sociales de Hernando” in order to celebrate the city’s hundredth anniversary within the framework of “Año Internacional del cooperativismo” (International Year of Cooperativism). This clock was built by Dr. Héctor Gutiérrez Forsat, originally from San Rafael City, and it’s an “armilar” sphere artwork, which means ring, that represents an exact replica of the world globe. The artwork unveiled in the city is of equatorial type, that is to say that the gnomon which casts the shadow has the following spatial orientation: It is parallel to the earth’s rotation axis, it is contained in the meridian plane of the place (in this case Hernando), it forms an angle equal to the latitude of the place with the horizontal plane. Another interesting fact is that in the area of San Martin´s Monument, renowned personalities of the city and even neighbors left messages, books and wine bottles in a time capsule that will remain closed until 2053, when the next generation of people from San Rafael celebrate the department’s 150th anniversary.
Surrounding the square, the buildings of the most emblematic institutions of the city can be found, such as San Rafael Arcangel Cathedral and the Municipality.
PLAZOLETA DEL INMIGRANTE
It was built in 1983, to the side of the old Railway Station. As the main focus of the square is located the locomotive that pulled the first train to arrive in San Rafael in 1903. In the same piece of land we can find Museo Ferroviario (Railway Museum), where original objects from that activity are kept, and next to it there is a wagon turned into a picturesque fair of local craftsmen.
PLAZA FRANCIA (FRANCE SQUARE)
Located to the west of the city, this green area makes an attractive path for locals and tourists. The square is located on the streets Hipólito Yrigoyen and Sobremonte, 1300 meters away from Km 0. It bears the name of France as an acknowledgment to founders of the colony that was established in these lands and forged San Rafael´s future. Restyled a few years ago, it has an enormous water fountain with rhythmic movements, a sculpture designed by a local artist, the refurbished bust of Rodolfo Iselín and a considerable amount of lampposts with a unique design, there are abundant parking facilities, benches, drinking fountains and litter bins. The concrete and pave stone floors have special features that allow perceiving the colors reflection.
It also has a fair of craftsmen with local eye-catching uniforms, where the most varied offer of beautiful hand-crafted objects can be appreciated. The attraction of the place increases due to the setting up of a cafe, an ice cream shop and other commercial stores.
HIPÓLITO YRIGOYEN PARK
Hipólito Yrigoyen Park, placed under a design of forests and meadows, is a group of trees and open spaces ideal for recreation. It is a beautiful green environment to visit with family, that invites you to take a break under its lush vegetation and allows practicing outdoor activities. Within the park, are located Monumento al Gaucho Argentino, Estatua de la Vendimia and Plaza del Tango, that is filled with music and dancing during the summertime.
In the same piece of land operates Polideportivo Municipal, ideal for practicing sports, it has clay tennis courts, a “tejo” court, rugby pitch, volleyball court, handball court, running track, and swimming pool.
Anfiteatro Chacho Santa Cruz is one of the most important buildings of the park. It was built in the 70´s, it has a seating capacity of 7500 people and it’s shaped as a Greek theatre (a stage in the middle, with uneven in height stands). This is where the annual Fiesta Departamental de la Vendimia and many other artistic shows take place.
PARQUE DE LOS NIÑOS (CHILDREN’S PARK)
In the center of Hipólito Yrigoyen Park and surrounded by the beautiful Plaza Francia we can find Parque de los Niños.
It is one of the most beautiful public places for children in the country, according to what tourists that visit the south of the province point out. The majestic work reaches dimensions, colors, lights and a variety of games of an unbeatable level within the west of Argentina.
The towers of the gate emulate the entrance to a huge palace drawn from a fairytale. It has a mini-theatre where puppet shows can usually be seen, an off road circuit for children, and the implementation of the most modern and varied recreational techniques, that bring life to a guaranteed fun place for the children that visit the spot.
It possesses more than 60 games; from the more traditional swings, with rubber floors for safety, hammocks, handrails with animal forms such as elephants, crocodiles or snails, to a circuit for “adventure” games, such as climbers, rock-climbing boards, bridges and park cubes.
Seesaws, slides and even circuits for wheelchairs (designed for kids with different motor capabilities), mix up with gigantic educational games, such as tic-tac-toe panels. At the same time, the area called “La Aldea” allows children to play among little houses, castles and wooden towers, which makes it the favorite place for the youngest kids.
Tasty small goats and roasted ribs, the traditional carne a la masa (meat cooked in dough), raw ham, with its particular, distinguishing flavor, empanadas, the popular torta frita, gourmet or international cuisine dishes are some of the dishes that make up our cuisine. In our varied gastronomy, there are more than 80 establishments that include gourmet cuisine restaurants, country restaurants, restaurants in wineries, tea houses, bars, cafes, grills, pizza places and trattorias, both in the city center and in the most distinguished touristic areas nearby.
Every meal can be paired with our most exquisite wines and sparkling wines. San Rafael takes part of Rutas Gastronómicas de Mendoza with thirteen restaurants, as part of an advertising movement that distinguished these establishments for their menus, ambience, their service and the preservation of native product in their dishes.
SAN RAFAEL’S NIGHTLIFE Bars, restaurants, clubs, pubs, cinemas and theatres , wich are growing; everything that the visitor might look for in order to enjoy the night in this paradisiac place. For those people who prefer other kind of entertainment, San Rafael offers free outdoors shows, puppets shows and dancing classes at San Martín Square and Francia Square.
Wineries have adapted their facilities in order to welcome tourists, which allows them to walk around the vineyards and appreciate the vintner tradition, experience the winemaking process and taste exquisite and renowned wines of different varietals such as Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet and Bonarda, among others.
San Rafael is one of the only locations within Argentina that has the pride to have AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée), that provides a clear identity to high quality wines.
We have different types of wineries: with history, modern, boutique or artisanal, with international exposure or the ones that put together a tourist complex with restaurants and lodging. The Wine Road comprises a dozen wineries that offer guided tours.
HANDCRAFTED -REGIONAL PRODUCTS FAIRS
In the different regional products’ shops from San Rafael, souvenirs from the visit to this city, beautiful handcrafted products of different kinds, local delicatessen to delight your palate or those of the loved ones that stayed home await for you.
- FRANCA MUNICIPAL ITINERANTE FAIR
- PLAZA FRANCIA FAIR (Hipólito Yrigoyen Av. and Sobremonte St., 1300 mts away from Km 0)
- ISLA RIO DIAMANTE FAIR (Isla del Río Diamante)
- MUSEO FERROVIARIO FAIR (Rivadavia Av. and San Martin Av.)