For years, a 300-ton granite boulder balanced atop a hill overlooking the town of Tandil in eastern Argentina. La Piedra Movediza (“the shifting stone”) was a popular tourist attraction in the early 20th century. Decades after the beloved boulder fell from its hilltop, a replica was installed in its place.
The stone was a fount of municipal pride, and served as the official city symbol of Tandil. People pantomimed holding up its prodigious weight while having their pictures taken. Bottles were placed under the boulder and broken as it teetered slowly on its fulcrum. In 1900, some traveling circus performers did acrobatics on its crest. But in 1912, the rock shifted for the last time and tumbled off the hill. No witnesses were present, and debates about how it fell persist to this day. The original stone can still be seen, lying broken at the foot of its former home.
The people of Tandil have built a castle, archway, and a cliff-hugging auditorium in honor of their city’s symbol. In 2007, the town commissioned a replica of the rock, made of a metal framework covered in resin and synthetic fibers—sans the 19th-century graffiti that covered the original. The replica was affixed to the hill with a dozen strong bolts.
Along the short hike to the replica stone, interpretive panels explain the history of the stone. One describes the replica’s secure attachment to its base, and how it shall never fall by the forces of God or man. The views of the town from the hilltop are impressive, but the effusiveness of the town’s pride is reason enough to visit.
Know Before You Go
Check in with the helpful staff at the Tourist Information center downtown or near Castillo Morisco. On weekend afternoons, you can listen to public karaoke in the parking lot.