Monumento a la Bandera
It’s tempting to call Rosario’s most overwhelming monument, which pays tribute to the Argentine flag and its designer Manuel Belgrano, a colossal failure or even a shrine to kitsch—the outline of architect Angel Guido’s design represents a ship whose symbolic mast is a 78-meter tower on its bow.
Alfredo Bigatti and José Fioravanti sculpted the patriotic statues that adorn it, while Eduardo Barnes carved bas-reliefs depicting the country’s diverse geography.
Fioravanti expected that the remains of General Manuel Belgrano, who designed the flag and first hoisted it here, would lie in a crypt at the tower’s base, but Belgrano remains at Buenos Aires’s Iglesia de Santo Domingo. In any event, the monument’s pseudo-grandeur overwhelms Belgrano’s own unpretentious achievement. Catalina de Vidal actually sewed the original flag, now preserved in the museum.
Every June, Rosario observes La Semana de la Bandera (Flag Week), which culminates with ceremonies on June 20, the anniversary of Belgrano’s death.
For panoramic views of the Paraná waterfront, it’s possible to take the elevator (US$0.50) to the top of the Monumento Nacional a la Bandera (Santa Fe 581, tel. 0341/480-2238, www.monumentoalabandera.gov.ar, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Tues.–Sun., 2–7 p.m. Mon.), which is bounded by Santa Fe, Rosas, Córdoba, and Avenida Belgrano. A military color guard raises the flag at 8:15 a.m. daily and lowers it at 7 p.m.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition