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San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca is a city in northwestern Argentinamarker and capital of Catamarca Province, on the Río Valle River, at the feet of the Cerro Ambato.The city of , located above the sea level, has 141,000 inhabitants ( ), with more than 200,000 counting the suburbia, what represents around 70% of the population of the province.

Information about the City

The city is located from Buenos Airesmarker. The closest provincial capitals are La Rioja ( ), Tucumánmarker ( ) and Santiago del Estero ( ).

Many pilgrims come to San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca to visit the Church of the Virgin of the Valley (1694), which contains a statue of Nuestra Señora del Valle (Our Lady of the Valley).

Catamarca is also the touristic centre of the province, with its colonial architecture, and serves as a hub to many touristic points and excursions, hiking, mountain-bike tours, horse riding, and wine testing.

San Fernando del Valle is served by Coronel Felipe Varela International Airport)marker (CTC/SANC), with flights to IRJ, TUC and AEP.

History and politics

Güemes Avenue, downtown.
An initial settlement, called Londres, was established here by Spanish colonists in 1558; a permanent settlement was not founded until 1683, by Fernando de Mendoza y Mate de Luna. Catamarca comes from Quechua meaning "fortress on the slope".

The city, which had only 8,000 inhabitants in 1882 and was reached by the rail in 1888, grew very slowly, and the region remained poor even in the middle of the 20th century, partially because of the nepotism of the ruling Saadi family, before they lost political power in the 1990s. In spite of this, the province remains still politically unstable, and a large part of its population lives in precarious conditions.


The arid continental mild climate of the zone has an annual average of 20 °C with an average maximum temperature of 34 °C in summer with several days exceeding 43 °C and an average minimum of 5 °C in winter. Temperature in the high mountains can drop down to 30 °C below zero. The Valle (valley) receives little rainfall annually. Most of the precipitation is received in the form of snow on the high mountain tops surrounding the city.


Agriculture is San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca's chief economic activity; however, low rainfall makes irrigation necessary.Fruit and grapes are grown in the oasis areas near the city, and there's a considerable production of wine. Other local production includes preserves and handwoven ponchos.

Cotton and cattle are important economically, as well as mining at the Farallón Negro, Bajo de la Alumbrera and Capillitas mines where gold, silver, copper and tin.


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