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TUCUMAN is located in the Northwest of the Argentine Republic, between parallels 26 and 28 South Latitude and meridians 64'30". It covers 22.524 Km2 and it is the natural geographic center of the region for communications, for its social life, for its economy and also because of its population: 1.142.247 of wich 475.000 people live in the capital city.
TUCUMAN is 540 km from the Pacific Ocean in a straight line, 1.050 km from the River Plate and 1.400 from the Atlantic Ocean.
50 % of the Province is mountainous which makes it possible to have a very varied climate with unique climatic zones and as a result, many different agricultural crops.
TUCUMAN, Province of great beauty, is called "THE GARDEN OF THE ARGENTINE REPUBLIC" due to its dense vegetation, magnificent rain forests, extensive forestation, rivers and mountains.
The province is divided in 17 departments. They are: Capital, Trancas, Tafí del Valle, Tafí Viejo, Burruyacu, Cruz Alta, Lules, Famailla, Monteros, Leales, Chicligasta, Simoca, Río Chico, Juan Bautista Alberdi, Graneros, La Cocha and Yerba Buena. Every one of them has depending municipalities or rural communes, in the case of fields zones with small towns.
Climatic traits and it possibilities
The Province of Tucuman, placed in the Argentine North West, has a surface of 22,524 km2, wich represents a 4.8% of the Argentine North West surface. Due to its geographical position and the dominant morphology (50% of the surface is occupied by the mountain area), the Tucuman climate offers common and general distinctive characteristics with the Argentine North West and simultaneously other particulars which result from the remarkable variety of its relief.
In other words, the orographic system influences significantly the behaviour of the climate elements (rainfall, temperature, humidity, winds, etc), and determines the existence of several types of climate (microclimates) which allow varied cultivations in its surface.
Flora and Fauna
Vegetal life in Tucuman is abundant and varied. The Province in placed in a region of great beauty, with magnificent jungles with gaint trees, woods, rivers, mountains, etc.
The animal life of the Province is so varied as abundant, among the wild animals we find: viscachas, weasels, cuises, wildcats, armadillos, foxes, skunks, iguanas, small lizards, tortoises, toads, frogs, snakes of several kinds, rabbits. Among the birds are: owls, caranchos, falcons, teros, benteveos, ovenbirds, and an incalculable amounts of birds. In the rivers and likes live innumerable fishes: mackerels, bagres, shads, dorados, tarariras, etc. In the mountain parrots are abundant, all kinds of birds, pumas and in the highest places guanacos live.
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The indigenous city of Quilmes
Possibly Quilmes is the most important town built by aborigine partialities in the Argentine North West. It is situated on the Eastern slope of the Alto del Rey mountain, in the Santa Maria mountains, secondary range of the Cajon or Quilmes Mountain.
Defined as a village-urban centre, can be interpreted as one of the best examples of "santamariana" urbanization. There can be seen civil, army buildings and production zones. The craggy mountain was udes to settle, following the lines of its topography, the buildings distributing them in terraces. The zones domineering by their height are dedicated to war preparations and fortress whilst the town goes down gradually to flat land.
This great urbanistic complex was the seat of one of the most outstanding partialities of the "diaguita-calchaqui" altogether: the one of the "quilmes-acalianes" indians. According to archeological data, the place started to become peopled towards the year 1000 a.D. It was an agricultural society with an incipient cattle raising also. The agricultural activity was so important that it demanded the building of a dam, of elaborate technology for that time, for the irrigation of that quick drainge sandy soil.
During more than five centuries of occupation, the cultural development reached high levels. A startified society which had privileged castes like the ones of the priests, warriors, artisans, etc., developed in the settling, achieving the production of objects in metallurgy, ceramics and the different handicraft manifestations which contributed to the high level agriculture achieved.
The arrival of the Incas towards the middle of the XV century brought novelties, being outstanding the architectonic parametres which mark the building of the site.
The amount of the population settled in the place at the beginning of the second half of the XVII century, is estimated in about 2,000 families, that is 10,000 persons, approximately. On the XVII century "calchaquies"wars,the people that bravely defended their habitat were defeated and obliged to the "banishment", that is into exile. Crossing the mountains and going down to the plain, after many ups and downs registered by history, towards 1666 they were assigned to a village created by the Spanish missionaries referred to as a "reducción"in a Magdalena zone, province of Buenos Aires. There were installed about 270 Quilmes Indians families which had been subdued by don Alonso Mercado y Villacorta. The "reducción"was maintained, slowly deteriorating during the XVIII century; finally towards 1812 the entrance of other families is allowed and the structure of the town is drawn, which today bears the name of these trained Americans: Quilmes.
Founded (1565) by Diego de Villarroel, a Spanish conqueror, Tucuman was relocated to its present site in 1668 after frequent Indian raids. In 1810, the news of the May Revolution arrived. The people of Tucuman adhered to the movement which was taking place in Buenos Aires and other important cities. The purpose of this movement was to expell the spaniards from Argentina. In 1816, assembled in Tucuman, the Congress of the United Provinces declared Independence and first constitution was written at this Congress.
In 1821, in his farm in the outskirts of the city, Bishop Jose Eusebio Colombres sawed cane, harvested it and manufactured sugar, creating the main industry of the province. This fact spurred Tucuman's economic growth.
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The cultural activity in Tucumán is intense and it is reflected on its long universitary trayectory, where three educational bodies divide among themselves the responsibility of education. TUCUMAN has an extense list of museums, theaters and spectacles halls of first level.
The already traditional Musical September seduces annually the most representative artists of the classical, national and international music, in a coincidence with the celebrations of that month: the anniversary of Tucumán's Battle on the 24th, and of its second foundation on the 29th.
Tucumán was also the birth place of important heros who, with their effort, had tempted to fix the bases of a great Nation.
Juan B. Alberdi, Julio A. Roca, Marco and Nicolás Avellaneda, Idelfonso de las Muñecas, José M. Paz, Gregorio Aráoz de Lamadrid, Ramón Balcarce and José Eusebio Colombres, are some of many our men that even left their lives for the patriotic compromise they had assumed.
Literature, Theatre, Music
The patriotic poems since the half of the XVIII century, are in the origins of literary tradition in Tucuman.
In the province there is a constant editorial task, official and private, books and literary magazines.
There are three official theatres in the city and many private. At the end of the 1950 decade, the creation of the Culture official autarchic entity started the Stable Theatre of the Province. A few years later the University created the University Theatre. That sterted since the 60s a remarkable scenic activity, in quantity and quality, which made Tucuman stand out in the cultural map of the country.
The Symphonic Orchestra of the UNT (National University of Tucuman), give impulse to a growth of the music spirit strongly encouraged by the coming of interpreters of international fame, specially in the annual festival "Musical September". Presently the Provincial Goverment maintains a Stable Orchestra, a Symphonic Band, a Stable Choir and a Conservatory, whilst the National University has its Music School, Symphony Orchestra and Juvenile Orchestra. With regard to popular music, Tucuman's folklore has a firm place in the country, through its interpreters- like the famous Mercedes Sosa- as well as its composers. Many of their compositios are dedicated to the landscape and the people which inspired them deeply.
Architecture occupies an important place, many times avoided, in the province of Tucuman cultural and social history.
In its history there were many ups and downs, which we will comment briefly.
From the pre-hispanic times there were few architectonic vestiges left and these sufered serious alterations. Some landmarks geographically isolated are kept without great modifications due to that fact maintaining their inalterable structure. That is the case of the Ciudacita (small city) or some mountain "pucarás". The most interesting whole are the ruins of the ancient city of Quilmes, already modified, near Colalao del Valle.
To speak about art in Tucuman is to show and exciting chapter of its cultural activity, in which are reflected as in a mirror, the ups and downs of its history and its social political conditioning, always ready to express themselves from the aesthetic point of view. In the beginning was the Indian... and the aborigines were the first to undertake artistic works, always in direct relation with the magic world of their cosmovision. From these times come up mute testimonies because of the lack of knowledge that we have about those beliefs, but that show by themselves all the expressive strength of the creative emotion that the artisan-shaman had in the moment of making them. They are the "menhires", of wich there are almost a hundred in Tafí del Valle like symbols of a past of deep mythical roodtness. Their shapes are synthetic, its contents symbolic. Nowadays they stand as one of the most excellent chapters of indigenous sculpture in Argentina.
Cultural Places & Monuments
Near the SouthEastern corner of the main square, is located the House of Independence, with its white simplicity, so deep to our feelings.
At 100 mts. from the same corner to the East, we find Victoria's Church, where we venerate the Virgin of La Merced, Commandant of the Argentina Army and depositary of the ruling cane that was given to her by General Belgrano after Tucumán's Battle. These alternatives can be enjoyed with the light and sound spectacle, projected at this temple.
There are so many important historical and cultural sites inside the original design of San Miguel de Tucumán, of 9 x 9 squares, that naming them would be impossible.
By standing at the Independence Square, after having admired the imponent beauty of Lola Mora's "Liberty" and remembering the dramatic exposure of Marco Avellaneda's head, we can see the monumental scale of the Govermment House, the serious facade of San Francisco, the electric treatment of the Cathedral frontspiece and an interesting frame offered by the surrounding buildings.
Universities of Tucuman
The National University of Tucuman (UNT)
In 1875 the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences which would be the basis of a University, was created in Tucuman.
Presently, the UNT is structured on the basis of eleven Faculties: Agronomy and Zootechny; Architecture and Urbanism; Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacy; Exact Scienceas and Technology; Natural Sciences; Law and Social Sciences; Philosophy and Arts; Medicine; Odontology; and Literature. It also has Physical Education and Nursing University Schools, and six secondary and special schools: Agriculture and Saccharotechny; Technical Institute; Sarmiento School and Vocation Secondary School; the Music School; The School of Fine Arts and Decorative and Industrial Arts, and the Gymnasium.
Saint Thomas Aquinas University (UNSTA)
The Saint Thomas Aquinas University was officially recognized as such and granted juridical personality by national decree in 1965. Its antecedents went back to 1949, when the friars of the prestigious Saint Dominic Convent started gathering a group of intellectuals and artists of the enviroment, whose worries would soon from classes, seminars, articles and lectures of an ever growing notorious repercussion. Such was the beginning of the Courses of Thomistic Philosophy, which continued up to 1956, establishing the Saint Thomas Aquinas University. Interchange and contributions to the enviroment, in Tucuman as well as in the country and abroad, have a magnitude that makes it impossible to sinthetize them in a brief account. UNSTA is animated by a spirit of true Universitas Magistrorum et Scholarium, that is deep understanding of the classes of its community.
The "round of popular feast" was already chronologically market by the calendar of saints' day, somehow following nature great cycles: the two solstices and the two equinoxes, the sowings and harvests and the traditional celebrations of Christmas, New Year, the Three Kings, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Corpus Christi, the Virgin's Birth, Exaltation of the Cross and the honours to Saint Michael the Archangel, the city protector Patron Saint.
The Pachamama (Mother Earth)
In the Calchaquíes Valleys the eldest woman is chosen annually in carnival time.
It is the great goddess of the land of agriculturist peoples, which is linked to life and to the moon which, in the Inca times was the Empire popular goddess. The feast, which religiousness is purely pagan, is celebrated as National Feast in Amaicha del Valle.
The Chayeras with their drumboxes and others with violin or guitar accompany the procession of Saints and Virgins in the valleys. Whilst in the valleys with torches and prayers, the song expresses faith with the murmurs of drumboxes, violins, quenas, bombo and guitars.
Fairs, feasts and festivals
In each fair, feast or festival remain the history traits, the landscape, customs or products of the zone, the typical dishes and handicrafts. At the beginning of the year, in January, the Fiesta del Quesillo (Little Cheese Feast) takes place in San Pedro de Colalao where in February and March the Fiesta de la Humita (Corn Cream Feast) and the Fiesta de la Nuez (Nut Feast), respectively are organized. In carnival times the Calchaquíes Valleys have the permanent echo of the joi-joi with a three notes melody which are repeated. In Tafí del Valle the Fiesta del Queso (Cheese Feast) is celebrated; in Amaicha del Valle, the pachamama; in Colalao del Valle, the Antigal Festival, where in July comes the Fiesta del Ponchi (local drink feast), takes place and in La Ciénaga the Yerbiao Feast. In Monteros, the tamal is exalted, a kind of maize flour pie wrapped up in corn husks, of real Inca origin. In this same city of romantics and poets, the Festival of the Folklore Strength takes place when Spring culminates. In the south, La Cocha organizes the Tobaco National Feast. Aguilares and Taféí Viejo relive the comparsas of different origin, and in this last town the Lemon National Festival takes place, which evokes the second mother industry of the province.
Every Saturday of the year, long sulkies, carts, tractors, trucks and cars caravans go to Simoca, bringing people from different places who can to buy, sell, order works or simply to walk about. There they feel the morning with their laughing and voices, which are expressions of the dreams of all fairgoers in a land bordered by the green cane plantation. All this in a merry climate ande very special joy, which reaches itspeak at midday, in a middle of tempting grills, barbacues, sausages, tamales, empanadas (meat pies), locro, and many other typical meals, among them rosquete and empanadilla, which identified this people satisfying the most demanding tastes.
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The suitable area for agriculture, livestock and forestry extends to 1.300.000 ha and the main crops are: sugarcane, citrus, tobacco, cereal grains, cotton, fruit and vegetables, subtropical fruit, aromatic spices.
SUCARCANE: The sugarcane producing area covers 230.000 ha and the cane is processed for consumption, as a main product and as by-products: alcohol and bagasse of which the latter is used in paper manufacture.
CITRUS: TUCUMAN produces lemons, grapefruit, oranges and mandarins. The cultivated area covers 26.500 ha and the production amounts 650.000 tn. Lemons are the main citrus crop with 75% of the total production.
TUCUMAN is the principal producer of lemons in Argentina and it is the fourth in the world.
60% of the lemon production is processed and 40% is consumed as fresh fruit in the national and in the international market.
60% of the lemon production is processed to obtain concentrated juices, dehydrated skins and essential oils.
There are 9 citrus processing plants and 40 packing plants, of which 18 operate with wet process of fresh fruit. The processing plants have the most modern technology.
TUCUMAN is the first industrial center in the world for the processing of lemons and the main exporter of concentrated juices, essential oils and dehydrated skins.
There are numerous industries established in TUCUMAN. It is the main industrial center of the whole Northwest region and there are numerous industries that are being developed, principally in: sugar, citrus, paper, textiles, heavy trucks, metalworks, food processing, plastics, oils, soap, glass, wood, etc.
TUCUMAN produces tobacco of excellent quality grown on about 9000 ha. of suitable soil for this crop.
Burley tobacco grown in this way is of high quality and 50% is exported.
Fruit, Vegetable and Cereal Grains Production
In aproximately 25.000 ha we produced:
SWISS CHARD, PEAS, GARLIC, SWEET POTATO, LETUCCE, ARTICHOKE, EGGPLANTS, MELON, CELERY, ONIONS, POTATO, CAULIFLOWER, TOMATO, GREEN PEPPER COTTON:
In recent years the production of cotton has increased greatly. TUCUMAN produces excellent cotton fiber, which is considered to be one of the best in the country.
Because of its climate and soil TUCUMAN is considered a privileged area which allows good production of potato/garlic seed on a large scale.
The fertile soil of TUCUMAN allows the production of a great variety of grain crops.
SOYBEANS: 200.000 tn - CORN: 100.000 tn - BEANS: 15.000 tn
WHEAT: 49.000 tn - SORGHUM: 25.000 tn
Subtropical Fruit and Aromatic Plants
The production of subtropical fruit has improved, obtaining products of excellent quality in order to satisfy the most demanding markets.
FIGS: Varieties Kadota, Calis, Mirna and Turkey are produced for the domestic and the export market.
MEDLAR, KHAKI, KIWI, PAPAW (custard apple): Are developing well favored by the climate and the excellent soil.
AROMATICS SPECIES: The fertile soil and the favorable climate help yhe growth of aromatic plants.
The plants grown at present are: mint, oregano, thyme, terragon, lemon grass. The main objective of this cultivation is to obtain high quality spices for export.
There are 1.100.000 ha ecologically suitable for garzing cattle. At this time there is animal breeding, fattening and milk production in existence.
Meat consumption is 65 kg. per person, per year and the long term outlook for the production is good since at the moment, it can not satisfy the demand.
In this Province and in the whole region there is a plan to control and eradicate foot-and-mouth disease of cattle (aphtous fever).
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Ruins of the milenary city of the Quilmes indians, ancient and brave race that had resisted for 130 years the Spaniards' dominating pressure.
These indians were respected by the imperial army of Cuzco as well as they assimilated their culture, improving their own traditions.
Proud and untamed, they did not accept the submission by force, and resisted it for more than a century, when the Spaniards tried to conquer them.
The violent eradication they suffered from when they were taken by walking at 1200 kms from their mountains, served to temper that pride, and slowly they were disappearing, until it only remained the name of Quilmes in Buenos Aires, and these ruins, to remember their freedom's epopey.
In the Calchaquíes Valleys and skirting La Angostura Dike is the Los Menhires Park or Long Stones.
They are surprising mute testimonies of a civilization which reached a high level development in America. These stones come from a remote past which brings us the message of paleolithic men, who are also part of our roots. These stones were diseminated in hidden places of the Calchaquí Valleys, and today the Menhires Park allows us to admire their quiet and magnificent eternity. Their shapes are synthetic, its contents symbolic. Nowadays they stand as one of the most excellent chapters of indigenous sculpture in Argentina, that would be the significant and original expression of indigenous art in Tucuman. It is believed that outer space civilizations have visited and influenced the indian culture and that the long stones were used to worship their gods who could possibly be extra-terrestrial visitors.
Jesuistic Mission of San Jose de Lules
San Jose de Lules Ruins, declared National Historic Monument are witness of the time corresponding to the Spanish conquest, having its building been the seat of the Jesus Company, where the Jesuit fathers performed beside their religious activities, others of educational and work character, mainly with the Lules indians.
There the most trascendent work in this last aspect was the creation of the Tucuman sugar industry. Also iron works, sawmills, carpentry and even indegeneous sculpture were made.
Finally that historic mission was suspended in 1777 when the Jesuits were expelled from the American continent.
Villa Nouges and San Javier
They are on the slopes of San Javier hill, at more than 1000 mts height, from where the city can be seen. Its mild climate the beauty of its landscapes and the architectonic characteristics of their urbanization, draw all visitors attention.
It is a tourist centre of great importance, with a basic infraestructure for excursions and nautical activities. Its Archeological Museum has valuable pieces of La Candelaria Culture. At its entrance there is a tourist villa near the main centre which allows one of the best views of the mirror of the water formed by Dr. Celestino Gelsi Dike. Skirting the Medici hill river Salí continues flowing, being one of the courses that feed the above mentioned dike. On its left bank there are rooms, river resorts and autocampings attended all the year round.
As regards Tucuman food it can be tasted in the typical dishes such as "empanadas" (meat pies), "tamales" (a kind of maize flour pie wrapped up in corn husks), "locros" (a kind of thick soup which consists of pumpkin, potatoe, sausage, meat, corn, bacon, peas, wheat), "humitas" (corn cream) in husk or pot; regional jams; and various preparations based on maize flour, potato, pumpkin; beef and pork, and even international dishes with Arab, Spanish, German and other cooking.
Tucuman offers many attractions in its varied geography which make ecoturism possible, allowing the visitor contact with the subtropical jungle in El Cochuna, or from the foot of the mountain zone like San Pedro de Colalao or with the mountain, with the Calchaíes Valleys. In this way the visitor enriches his spirit in adventure tourism (trekking) journeys, which somehow make him feel near the far away days of yesterday.
Tucuman has many scenaries along its geography, apts to practice different sports: sailing, windsurfing, kayaks, hikking, climbing, trekking, enduro (motocross), polo, hanglidding, parachuting, fishing on the mountain rivers, hunting, bird watching, canoeing and all the already popular sports.
Tucuman prososes you to penetrate its forests, valleys and streams, travelling through its main adventure touristic circuits.
The ceremonial room of La Ciudacita was used by ancient cultures as an astronomical observatory. We leave from the Jaya river to the summit by the Campo de los Alisos, Los Nacimientos, Las Cuevas, Los Corrales, reaching the ruins. We descend by the same way, or through Los Nevados.
A Time Travel
In Tucuman itself and in the Calchaquies Valleys, even today, it is possible to visit the settlements of the ancient "Coyasuyo" (Southern part of "Taiwantisuyo"or Inca Empire). These places or early basements, in some cases, have been rescued and most of them are almost classified.
The Fortification-Temple known as the "Ancient Quilmes" is among the places mentioned above. La Ciudacita, another settlement is, without doubt, the most fascinating place because of its characteristics. This last site used to be a physics-astronomical observatory, so it keeps, among many other things an "Inti-Huatana" or trick to the sun, which marks the exact moment of the solscitios. This Inti-Huatana is situated over more than 4,000 mts, over the level of the sea, in an almost inaccesible place to where you arrive after 3 or more days of trekking. Near this archeological spot, the traffic of the Inca Road is much more intense because of the original pavement it used to have and that still remains. This very road was used by Los Curacas, warriors and messengers of the fabulous empire.
Adventure (Graphic Version)
Approximately 20,000 km (12,000 mi) of Inca roads constituted a transportation network rivaled only by that of the Romans in the pre-industrial world. Since the Incas did not utilize the wheel, the road system did not serve vehicular traffic, only pedestrians and the llamas they used to carry cargo. Levees were constructed across swamps in many areas, steps were carved into hillsides, and bridges of several types were built across rivers and streams. Two so-called royal roads were built, by which the rulers could travel the length of the empire--one near the coast and one through the Andean highland. These roads were fed by many lateral routes. As important as the roads themselves were the administrative and service centers that were built along them. On principal roads a way station was located at the end of each day's travel so that travelers could rest and get fresh supplies. On parts of the highland road, at the Peruvian sites of Tambo Colorado in the Pisco valley and at Huanuco Viejo, near modern Huanuco, several enormous administrative centers with more than 3,000 buildings each were constructed to house the bureaucracy, state manufacturing and storage facilities, and related activities.
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- Created 15/02/96 / Last Modified 10/09/96 -