Rosario is the largest city in the province of Santa Fe, in central Argentina. It is located 300 km (186 mi) northwest of Buenos Aires, on the western shore of the Paraná River. Rosario is the third most populous city in the country and is also the most populous non-capital city in Argentina, with a growing and important metropolitan area; Greater Rosario has an estimated population of 1,276,000 as of 2012. One of its main attractions includes the neoclassical architecture that has been retained over the centuries in hundreds of residences, houses, and public buildings.
Rosario is the head city of the Rosario Department and is located at the heart of the major industrial corridor in Argentina. The city is a major railroad terminal and the shipping center for northeastern Argentina. Ships reach the city via the Paraná River, which allows the existence of a 34 feet (10 m) deep port. The Port of Rosario is subject to silting and must be dredged periodically. Exports include wheat, flour, hay, linseed and other vegetable oils, corn, sugar, lumber, meat, hides, and wool. Manufactured goods include flour, sugar, meat products, and other foodstuffs. The Rosario-Victoria Bridge, opened in 2004, spans the Paraná River, connecting Rosario with the city of Victoria, across the Paraná Delta. Because it plays a critical role in agricultural commerce, the city finds itself at the center of a continuing debate over taxes levied on big-ticket agricultural goods such as soy.
Along with Paraná, Rosario is one of the few Argentine cities that cannot point to a particular individual as its founder. The city’s patron is the Virgin of the Rosary, whose feast day is October 7. The asteroid 14812 Rosario was named in its honor. Notable people from Rosario include revolutionary Che Guevara, football player Lionel Messi, cartoonist/writer Roberto Fontanarrosa, singer/songwriter Fito Paez and model Valeria Mazza. Rosario has many cultural activities in many artistic disciplines with national and international reach.
The city has produced important personalities in the fields of music, painting, philosophy, politics, poetry, literature, medicine, and law. Among the city’s important theaters are El Círculo, Sala Lavardén, Broadway, Astengo Auditorium, and La Comedia. A cultural complex known as Puerto de la Música, designed by the modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer (of Brasilia fame), is to be built along the banks of the Paraná River. If completed it will be one of the largest centers for musical performance in Latin America. In 2012, after years without progress, it was put on indefinite hold due to financial constraints. January 1995 saw the launch of the Rosario District Fishing Championship, held in the Parana River. 3 years later in 1998, a 10-year-old Lionel Messi was crowned Junior Champion.
The city has several museums, including: Juan B. Castagnino Fine Arts Museum, Firma y Odilo Estévez Municipal Decorative Art Museum, Dr. Julio Marc Provincial Historical Museum, City Museum, and Museum of Contemporary Art of Rosario (MACRo). The Dr. Ángel Gallardo Provincial Natural Sciences Museum was rebuilt after a fire in 2003 and re-opened at a new location in 2006. Rosario also has a public astronomy complex, located in Urquiza Park, which consists of an observatory (inaugurated in 1970) and a planetarium (1984).
The Fundación Italia is a cultural institution created in 1985, as a “cultural bond with Italy”. It has organized a Neapolitan music concert, performances of Madame Butterfly and numerous talks about the present and future of Argentina. Among the people invited to give these talks were economists Domingo Cavallo and Alfonso Prat Gay, renowned scholars Beatriz Sarlo and Silvia Bleichmar, journalists Alejandro Rozitchner and Jorge Asís, filmmaker Fernando Solanas and former presidents of Chile (Ricardo Lagos), Argentina (Eduardo Duhalde), and Uruguay (Luis Alberto Lacalle Herrera).