Catamarca in the route of adobe Argentina

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Catamarca: The route of adobe Argentina

In the department of Tinogasta Catamarca, a series of tranquil villages retain many houses, churches and oratories of adobe, raised some centuries ago. Construction techniques on the ground, opened in the area for the residents Diaguitas successfully apply today.

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In the arid west of Catamarca is raised a little world of adobe buildings that were born from the seventeenth century, when the region was still diaguita land, and continued to develop during the colonial era to the present day. Today they are known tourist «Adobe Route», a track about 55 miles between the towns of Tinogasta and Fiambalá: there, in silence but with perseverance, there are still churches and oratories of the early eighteenth century, along the remains of a city diaguita also made of mud and water. But most significant is that this «culture of adobe prefigured by diaguitas still in effect today in villages where nearly all homes are of this material. It is not only the oldest dwellings, up to 200 years, as sometimes arise with the new techniques of those times. And in many cases, the blocks of these houses are shaped by hand by the same people who then inhabit.

First Steps:

In the village of Tinogasta, about six thousand inhabitants, 70 percent of the houses are of adobe, many with dirt floors and roof of reeds. Not to be confused with a sign of poverty, is the continuation of a tradition and economic practice in this dry climate that invites you to live in houses able to keep warm on cold winter nights and cool during high temperature Catamarca summers. As in the area almost never rains, immune resistance materials over time.

Tinogasta leaving the RN 60, traveling 15 kilometers to the north, you arrive at The Place, a village of 500 inhabitants which seems frozen in time, with almost all of their adobe houses. There stands the Oratorio of Orquera, an exquisite piece of architecture of adobe solved with masterly ease. In 1740, and emerged in the tradition of private oratories, small churches that were built in the rooms when there was a temple nearby.

Catamarca in the route of adobe Argentina

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In addition to the fineness of design, a characteristic of this oratorio is that it was built with adobe blocks, but with wooden molds, according to a formula taken from the diaguitas, were filled with a mixture of clay, straw and manure from 70 cm thick. The top straps are made of carob curve (still green trunks went into the river to achieve double), and are believed to be the original of 1740, as the door. It is noteworthy that the steeple bell lacks, but because it was melted to make a larger than is now in the church of Andacollo. The interior of the chapel is very simple, very rustic with three niches, a massive locust confessional and several images of the Cuzco school, including a painting of the Virgin nursing the infant Jesus (1717) and San Antonio very small timber.

On one side of the chapel, an old room with mud walls and floor remains as it was in colonial times: there is a museum of everyday objects documenting two centuries of life for generations of the family Orquera, always masters the house and the church. In the fourth display objects ranging from a large leather pouch until early irons, a phonograph and diaguitas vessels.

A few miles farther on the road near a church in the middle of nowhere, with a backdrop of mountains in the background. A simple view is inexplicable that such a church with an elegant neo-classical portal, has emerged without a single home about. But truth is the church of the town of La Falda, who was born by the river in 1930 and rebuilt a few miles from here. The church was left in ruins, was restored in 2001. To make matters worse, was also affected by an earthquake … The reconstruction was done following the original model, with four classic columns of mud to which are added an entrance arch and carved moldings with cement and lime. It is estimated that the church was built in the mid-nineteenth century is more modern than the other circuit, and therefore has two bell towers, gabled roofs and a lobby. But most striking is his show, fully molded mud.

Rumbo a Anillaco:

From The Post, the RN 60 running due north to Anillaco, namesake of the most famous village of La Rioja, in parallel to the mountains of Fiambalá. At five miles, a dirt road that leaves the lonely road leads to Anillaco church, built in 1712, the oldest still standing in the province. Its origin refers to a family chapel built by native labor under the orders of the first Spanish who settled in the area in 1687: Juan Gregorio Bazán de Pedraza IV. This man brought a family lineage of settlers who had founded towns in the New World, and as a prize was awarded in Anillaco a vast market of 100 square miles.

Catamarca in the route

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Bazán de Pedraza was devoted to raising animals with alfalfa, particularly mules exported to the mines of Potosi. With the wealth that produced the farm could raise his family chapel, still standing but restored as a ray decades lay a carob tree was in front and caused the collapse of the facade. Inside you can clearly see three unevenness in the floor that marked so many well-targeted areas, homeowners and the priests were at the highest level, followed by the rest of the upper class in the middle, and lower-class the lower level. The temple has no windows, and sometimes officiated in strength to some Indian rebellions.

The Temple of San Pedro:

Adobe Route ends at the outskirts of Fiambalá in the Temple of San Pedro, built in 1770. Its exquisite whitewashed adobe structure is influenced Bolivian colonial style, with a small perimeter wall and a high steeple. The temple was made up Sunday Reed, a descendant of the first Spanish in the area, to enthrone a wooden articulated with the image of San Pedro, who is sitting in the center of the altar. The funny thing is that San Pedro’s faithful will change their shoes every year because «you spend, because it is a very holy walker visiting parishioners.» In the sacristy, you can see a large wooden chest with all kinds of shoes, offerings of the faithful for completed orders.

On one side of the Temple of San Pedro is an administrative building of colonial times, also built with pure mud, and called the Command or Plaza de Armas. Inside is a cool blur ancient and three feet high by four wide, with images of angels musketeers. The origins of these singular paintings refer to some painters mestizos of Cuzco, who were commissioned to paint angels. And as the painters did not have a model to copy, explained that Spanish people were like angels, but with wings. From there came this eccentric angels face almost feminine beauty, celestial wings, wide-brimmed hat, costumes embroidered with gold brocade similar to those of the soldiers of Charles II, and the bright muskets on their shoulders, like the common Spanish.

Bon voyage on his route through Argentina!

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