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Salta, the capital of the province of the same name is dubbed "La Linda" (the beautiful one). Much of the historic flair has been preserved in the center with its numerous old buildings, churches, squares and parks, even though most of the streets of the city with its well over 600,000 inhabitants are characterized by newer constructions. A beautiful aerial view of Salta, which is located at an altitude of about 1185 m in the Lerma valley east of the Andes, can be seen from the summit of the San Bernardo (1464 m), to which a cable car leads up.
The climate feels pleasant almost all year round, winters are mild and summers not too hot. This is another reason why Salta is a popular destination for national and international tourism and an excellent starting point for round trips through the northwest of Argentina. The distance from Buenos Aires by land is about 1,600 km. The flight takes a little more than 2 hours. The best time to travel is mid-January to April and late September to December.
Some of the most important landmarks are located at the central Plaza 9 de Julio. The Cabildo was built in colonial times as the local seat of government and now houses the Museo Histórico del Norte. The Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (Museum of High Mountain Archaeology) was opened in 2004 for the mummies of three sacrificed children found at the summit of Llullaillaco (6739 m) and the associated burial objects from the Inca period (see the special presentation). More places worth seeing can be found in our informative photo tour.
After their victory over the Incas, the Spanish conquerors advanced around the middle of the 16th century into the northwest of present-day Argentina, which had belonged to the Inca Empire for about 50 years. The native population groups continued to resist the Spaniards for a long time, for example in the Guerras Calchaquíes between 1560 and 1667.
On 16 April 1582, Hernando de Lerma founded San Felipe de Lerma en el Valle de Salta on behalf of the Spanish Crown. It was one of several new settlements in a region that had strategic importance for the Spanish because of the transportation routes and communications between Peru, the rich Potosí (now Bolivia) and the Río de la Plata. After Hernando de Lerma fell into disgrace, his name was erased from that of the city, which was then called only San Felipe el Real or Ciudad de Salta. The word Salta comes from the indigenous people, which means that it existed before.
Salta initially belonged to the Viceroyalty of Peru and from 1776 to the newly established Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata. When the Spanish crown created the province of Salta del Tucumán in 1783, Salta became its capital.
The May Revolution of 1810 in Buenos Aires began the years-long struggle for independence from Spain. The Salta City Council soon joined Argentina's first independent government (Primera Junta de Gobierno). After the defeat of the patriots in the Battle of Sipe Sipe in 1811, the city and its surroundings became a center of defensive warfare against the royalists advancing from Peru. Legendary are the guerrilla battles of the gauchos led by their general Martín Miguel de Güemes from Salta. In 1813, the Ejército del Norte under the command of General Manuel Belgrano defeated the royalist army in Salta.
After the Argentine War of Independence, the city was economically ruined. It was not until the end of the 19th century that the economy began to take off with the settlement of numerous Spanish, German, Italian, Lebanese and Syrian immigrants and the construction of a railroad line.
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