Jujuy region in Northern Argentina
April 25th, 2016
The journey from Puna de Atacama back to Salta continues through Jujuy region in northern Argentina, visiting the beautiful places around Purmamarca, Tilcara and Uquia. One of the most visited attraction of Purmamarca is the Mountain of Seven colors, an hill with unusual stripes of different colors, while Tilcara is known for pre-Inca ruins. Around Uquia, visitors will find more colourful mountains and spectacular landscapes.
Northern Argentina is known for the beautiful landscapes: the Seven Colors Mountain is located very close to Purmamarca town and is so called for the incredible range of colors created by sedimentation in sequence of different minerals.
Photo of Purmamarca with the Seven Colors Mountain in the background.
Northern Argentina is much more touristy than Puna de Atacama visited the previous days, so it is not uncommon to see stalls selling souvenirs (which, in most cases, are imported items because handicrafts produced locally would hardly meet the demand for all the tourists).
The trip continues by visiting the pre-Inca ruins of Tilcara, where there is also a small botanical garden that houses a sample of almost all kinds of cacti spread in northwestern Argentina.
The ruins of Tilcara, known as Pucara de Tilcara, are a pre-Inca archaeological site dating back to the Omaguaca tribe of the 12th century AD. In the past decades, archaeologists from several countries have rebuilt the site with the help of university students, relying on documents or simple logical deductions about how the village really was.
Many buildings have been carefully reconstructed, including the doors made of cactus wood and the ceiling consisting of cactus wood as structure and bamboo as actual coverage. Not all historians agree on this reconstruction, contesting above all the fact that at that time the bamboo was completely unknown in this part of the world, since it was imported later.
The roof seen from outside, with mud covering completely the bamboo canes.
The archaeologists who have restored the ruins of Tilcara, have also rebuilt a temple with its sacrificial altar, perhaps inspiring too much to the subsequent Inca architecture (at least accordingly to other archaeologists)
The pre-Inca ruins of Tilcara are also very interesting for the spectacular landscape all around, dominated by colourful mountains and giant cacti.
An area of the ancient pre-Inca village not yet restored, where the ruins are buried under the ground, debris and vegetation.
In the photo on the left, the monument erected in memory of the Swedish archaeologist who had directed the restoration of Tilcara. In the photo on the right, the panorama onto Humahuaca valley, visible from Tilcara.
The trip to Jujuy region in Argentina, continues visiting other spectacular coloured mountain ranges. In the photo on the top left, a mountain that in shape and colors recalls the typical Bolivian skirt.
I visit Uquia and its 17th century church that contains special paintings. Unfortunately, as often happens in Argentina, it is forbidden to photograph in churches and museums, making it impossible to spread the knowledge of these interesting places.
A few miles from Uquia, there is a valley with magnificent colors.
In the valley of Uquia, I've found some small flowering cacti, probably belonging to the genus Parodia
Another cactus and a xerophytic plant that looks like a Tillandsia
The town of Humahuaca has more than 10,000 inhabitants and has been declared Cultural and Natural Heritage by UNESCO.
The Monument to the Heroes of Independence (Monumento a los Heroes de la Indipendencia) stands on top of a hill in the center of Humahuaca and was erected to pay homage to the Argentinian army of the north, who fought at Humahuaca 14 battles during the war for National independence.
Driving south to Salta, the road crosses the Tropic of Capricorn, signaled with a marker along the road.
A beautiful view of the mountain "painter's table" with its colors, in Jujuy region, Argentina.