Azul, Buenos Aires Province

Azul is the head city of the Azul Partido, located at the center of the Buenos Aires Province in Argentina, 300 km south of Buenos Aires. It has 63,000 inhabitants as per the 2001 census .

Its principal, goods-producing economic activities are agriculture and the raising of cattle for meat exports. Home to a dynamic services sector, over 2,000 commercial businesses are registered in the city.

The town was founded on December 16, 1832, following Governor Juan Manuel de Rosas' orders for the construction of a fort, San Serapio Mártir del Arroyo Azul, to guard against indigenous raids. Subsequent land grants led to the developemt of a stable community, and in 1895, Azul was formally declared a town by provincial authorities. The local cathedral, Nuestra Señora del Rosario, was consecrated in 1906.

The town's cemetery portal and main slaughterhouse were both designed by architect Francisco Salamone, and contain elements of Art Deco style. Built in the late 1930s, these buildings were some of the first examples of modern architecture in rural Argentina. The town was the scene of an attack on outlying Army barracks by the far-left ERP on January 19, 1974, the most violent siege of its type in the country up to that point.

Azul is home to the schools of Agronomy and Law of the National University of Central Buenos Aires. The Teatro Español, founded in the city in 1897, is among the most important of the central pampas area, and in 1992, hosted the Bolshoi Ballet.

The Miguel de Cervantes Festival is held there annually since 2007, and Casa Ronco, an antiquarian library and museum, maintains among the country's best collections relating to the noted Spanish writer. The Casa Ronco is named after the collector Batolomé Ronco. Azul was declared Argentina's "City of Cervantes" by UNESCO in 2007.

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