#Argentina #travel San Carlos De Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina, South America




San Carlos de Bariloche, usually known as Bariloche, is a city in the province of Río Negro, Argentina, situated in the foothills of the Andes on the southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake. It is located within the Nahuel Huapi National Park. After development of extensive public works and Alpine-styled architecture, the city emerged in the 1930s and 1940s as a major tourism centre with ski, trekking and mountaineering facilities. In addition, it has numerous restaurants, cafés, and chocolate shops. The city has a permanent population of 108,205 according to the 2010 census. The area had stronger connections to Chile than the distant city of Buenos Aires during most of the 19th century, but the explorations of Francisco Moreno and the Argentine campaigns of the Conquest of the Desert established the claims of the Argentine government. It thought the area was a natural expansion of the Viedma colony, and the Andes were the natural frontier to Chile. In the 1881 border treaty between Chile and Argentina, the Nahuel Huapi area was recognised as Argentine. The modern settlement of Bariloche developed from a shop established by Carlos Wiederhold. The German immigrant had first settled in the area of Lake Llanquihue in Chile. Wiederhold crossed the Andes and established a little shop called La Alemana (The German). A small settlement developed around the shop, and its former site is the city center. By 1895 the settlement was primarily made up of German-speaking immigrants: Austrians, Germans, and Slovenians, as well as Italians from the city of Belluno, and Chileans. A local legend says that the name came from a letter erroneously addressed to Wiederhold as San Carlos instead of Don Carlos. Most of the commerce in Bariloche related to goods imported and exported at the seaport of Puerto Montt in Chile. In 1896 Perito Moreno wrote that it took three days to reach Puerto Montt from Bariloche, but traveling to Viedma on the Atlantic coast of Argentina took “one month or more”. In the 1930s the centre of the city was redesigned to have the appearance of a traditional European central alpine town (it was called “Little Switzerland.”) Many buildings were made of wood and stone. In 1909 there were 1,250 inhabitants; a telegraph, post office, and a road connected the city with Neuquén. Commerce continued to depend on Chile until the arrival of the railroad in 1934, which connected the city with Argentine markets. Between 1935 and 1940, the Argentine Directorate of National Parks carried out a number of urban public works, giving the city a distinctive architectural style. Among them, perhaps the best-known is the Civic Centre. Bariloche grew from being a centre of cattle trade that relied on commerce with Chile, to becoming a tourism centre for the Argentine elite. It took on a cosmopolitan architectural and urban profile. Growth in the city’s tourist trade began in the 1930s, when local hotel occupancy grew from 1550 tourists in 1934 to 4000 in 1940. In 1934 Ezequiel Bustillo, then director of the National Parks Direction, contracted his brother Alejandro Bustillo to build several buildings in Iguazú and Nahuel Huapi National Park (Bariloche was the main settlement inside the park). In contrast to subtropical Iguazú National Park, planners and developers thought that Nahuel Huapi National Park, because of its temperate climate, could compete with the tourism of Europe. Together with Bariloche, it was established for priority projects by national tourism development planners. Alejandro Bustillo designed the Edificio Movilidad, Plaza Perito Moreno, the Neo-Gothic San Carlos de Bariloche Cathedral, and the Llao Llao Hotel. Architect Ernesto de Estrada designed the Civic Centre of Barloche, which opened in 1940. The Civic Centre’s tuff stone, slate and fitzroya structures include the Domingo Sarmiento Library, the Francisco Moreno Museum of Patagonia, City Hall, the Post Office, the Police Station, and the Customs. U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower visited Bariloche as a guest of President Arturo Frondizi in 1960. Classical violinist Alberto Lysy established the string quartet, Camerata Bariloche, here in 1967. Tourism, both domestic and international, is the main economic activity of Bariloche, all year around. While popular among Europeans, the city is also very popular among Brazilians. One of the most popular activities is skiing. Most tourists visit Bariloche in its winter (summer for North Americans and Europeans). Regular flights from Buenos Aires with LAN airlines and Aerolíneas Argentinas serve the city. The main ski station is the one at Cerro Catedral.

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