Resistencia, "The City of Sculptures," is just a baby in comparison to many other cities in Argentina. Founded in 1878, it is the capital of Provincia del Chaco and has a self-proclaimed "more modern" attitude than some of the surrounding, conservative cities. It is the commercial and cultural hub of the province, which is one of the poorest in Argentina. The RÃo Negro, a branch of the RÃo ParanÃ¡, flows along the north edge of town. Resistencia lies seven kilometers (4.2 mi) from the confluence of the two rivers, and 22 kilometers (13 mi) from Corrientes on the opposite shore of the RÃo ParanÃ¡.
Resistencia's origin dates back to the 18th Century. In 1750 the Jesuits founded San Fernando del RÃo Negro, a reducciÃ³n for the Abipone indigenous nation. After the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767, the Franciscans administered the settlement but had to abandon it by 1794 due to constant attacks by the natives. The Franciscans returned in 1857 to reestablish San Fernando, which became an important stop on the ironwood timbering route. Europeans immigrants, at first primarily from Italy, began arriving in 1875.
Three years later, Resistencia was officially founded. Some historians say the city owes its name to the resistance these colonists gave against the indigenous populations, in this land where the power of the federal government did not reach.Plaza 25 de Mayo is truly the center of Resistencia. Around this four-block-square park, said to be the largest in Argentina, is everything of importance in the city. On the western side of the square is the Cathedral and the Casa de Gobierno (provincial government offices). On the Calle GÃ¼emes face of the plaza is a tall monument topped with a she-wolf nursing Romulus and Remus, a gift of the city's Colectividad Italiana. Beneath an arbor on the south quadrant is an artisan market. From the Plaza 25 de Mayo radiate the major avenidas, broad boulevards with grassy center-lane parks dotted with statues.Sculptures are literally on every corner, street, park, plaza and walkway.
More than 500 can be found in all, incorporating a plethora of styles, eras and mediums that have helped establish Resistencia's reputation as an open-air museum.
The FundaciÃ³n Urunday, a private non-profit organization, maintains the statues and organizes the Bienial del Chaco sculpture competition (Avenida de los Inmigrantes 1001, Tel.: 41-5020, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, URL: www.bienialdelchaco.com). Even if you are not in town for the famous Biennial Sculpture Festival, you can check out this al fresco exhibit of sculpture and art from around the world.
The Foundation has a walking map of the centrally located monuments, which includes a bit of information on the sculptors and the pieces' significance. Along the route, stop into the interesting museums. These galleries cover the range of topics, from art and artesanÃato history and anthropology.Along the banks of the RÃo Negro, about 10 blocks from Plaza 25 de Mayo, is Paseo Costanero, a small river walk with several nightclubs, the municipal theater Domo del Centenario (Avenida Wilde 1300) and Parque 2 de Febrero. Other city green spaces, like Parques Urbanos Laguna ArgÃ¼ello (Avenida VÃ©lez Sarsfield and Ayacucho) and Laguna Ãvalos, protect the myriad oxbow lakes left behind by the RÃo Negro. North of Resistencia is Isla del Cerrito, a prime fishing spot on the ParanÃ¡ River.
Other places nearby Resistencia: JJ Castelli, MisiÃ³n Nueva Pompeya, Las Lomitas , Reserva Nacional Formosa, Parque Provincial Pampa Del Indio, Parque Nacional Chaco, Ingeniero JuÃ¡rez , Laguna Blanca, Roque SÃ¡enz PeÃ±a and Villa RÃo Bermejito .