The impressive natural and cultural heritage of Argentina
In an earlier blog post we wrote about the Tango and its listing as Intangible Cultural Heritage. Besides this special dance, Argentina has much more Cultural Heritage to offer.
The country has no less than 10 World Heritage Sites and one more Intangible Heritage listing! These Sites include Natural Parks such as; Los Glaciares National Park, Iguaza National Park, Peninsula Valdes, and Ischigualasto/Talampaya National Parks.
Cultural Sites including; Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis, Cueva de las Manos, Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba, Quebrada de Humahuaca, Qhapaq Ñan-Andean Road System, and The Architectural work of Le Corbusier – an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement.
And not forgetting, the second intangible listed heritage; Filete porteño in Buenos Aires, a traditional painting technique.
Let’s take a closer look at Los Glaciares National Park, Jesuit Block of Córdoba, and Filete porteño.
Los Glaciares National Park
Los Glaciares is a beautiful natural area with mountains and glacial lakes, and includes Lake Argentino which is 160 km long. At the farthest end of Lake Argentino, three glaciers meet and often launch massive pieces of ice into the lake with thunderous sounds and splashes. The three glaciers are named Upsala, Onelli and Perito Moreno. The latter is probably the most striking and famous as the large glacier is now blocking a narrow channel formed by Lake Argentino which causes the water level to rise temporarily. This is also what causes the regular and impressive ruptures of the glacier into the lake.
Besides the grand glaciers and lakes, the National Park also offers large forests with hiking trails and amazing flora & fauna. The Park was declared a World Heritage Site in 1981.
You can watch parts of the Perito Moreno glacier collapse in this video here. Read more about the Outstanding Universal Value of the site here.
Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba
In the 17th and 18th century Jesuits came over to South America to start a new settlement for the Society of Jesus and pursue its educational and missionary goals. The Jesuit Block and five of its estancias (rural farming and manufacturing establishments) is situated in the province of Córdoba. Its buildings are both religious and secular, and mark a fascinating 150-year-long religious, social and economic, legal and cultural experiment. Thus, it was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2000.
The Block and estancias also show how the European and Native American cultures mixed, and a period of African slave labourers which contributed to this mix. What makes this Site so special is the visible mixture of two typologies: The European convent layout with a main church, residence, and college in the city; and the novel rural settlements where the church, residence, and trading post merged in a productive and interrelated territory. The designs, materials, locations and spatial characteristics are all original, which is what makes the Jesuit Block an important part of human history.
Find out more about the site’s Outstanding Universal Value here.
Argentina’s second intangible listed heritage, inscribed in 2015, is Filete porteño, a traditional painting technique created in Buenos Aires. This painting style is very ornamental with bright colours and specific lettering styles. The designs are used on buses, trucks, shops, signs and even home decoration.
It started in the early 20th century, when immigrants who worked at wagon factories painted the first ornaments on the vehicles. First it was just simple lines, but later they added more and more decorative elements. Today, many images relate back to social and religious heritage of the city, which act as a public memory. The artist, or fileteador, first draws a pattern and then paints over it with synthetic paint, coloured varnish and special longhaired brushes. The artists will teach this technique to anyone who wants to learn, which will help keeping the knowledge and development of filete porteño alive. Learn more about filete porteño here.
Featured image:University By Lcsrns – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31236717
Photo 1: Perito Moreno By Christof Berger – self-made, scanned from slide, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=228419
Photo 2: Church By Lcsrns – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31227437
Photo 3/4: Shops By Gobierno de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, CC BY 2.5 ar, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38967724 AND Heart By Roberto Fiadone – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1446583