Thursday, 24 August 2017

ARGENTINA: Cordoba, The City That Never Sleeps

Cordoba is a city in the geographical center of Argentina, in the foothills of the Sierras Chicas on the Suquía River, about 700 km (435 mi) northwest of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. It is the capital of Córdoba Province and the second most populous city in Argentina after Buenos Aires, with about 1,330,023 inhabitants according to the 2010 census. It was founded on 6 July 1573 by Jeronimo Luis de Cabrera, who named it after Cordoba, Spain.

It was one of the first Spanish colonial capitals of the region that is now Argentina,the oldest city is Santiago del Estero, founded in 1553. The National University of Cordoba is the oldest university of the country and the second to be inaugurated in Latin America. It was founded in 1613 by the Jesuit Order. Because of this, Cordoba earned the nickname La Docta or the learned one.

Cordoba has many historical monuments preserved from Spanish colonial rule, especially buildings of the Roman Catholic Church. The most recognizable is perhaps the Jesuit Block or Manzana Jesuitica, declared in 2000 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO which consists of a group of buildings dating from the 17th century, including the Colegio Nacional de Monserrat and the colonial university campus.

The campus belongs today to the historical museum of the National University of Cordoba, which has been the second-largest university in the country since the early 20th century after the University of Buenos Aires, in terms of the number of students, faculty, and academic programs. Cóordoba is also known for its historical movements, such as Cordobazo and La Reforma del '18 known as University Revolution in English.

The city's geographic location is 31°25′S 64°11′W, taking as a point of reference San Martin Square in downtown Córdoba. The relative location of the municipal common land, is in the south hemisphere of the globe, to the south of the South American subcontinent, in the geographical centre – west of Argentina and of the province of Córdoba; to a distance of 702 km (436 mi) from Buenos Aires and 401 km (249 mi) from the city of Rosario

As per the provincial laws No. 778 December 14, 1878, Not. 927 October 20, 1883, and Not. 1295 December 29, 1893, the limits of the city of Cordoba are delineated in the northern part, South, East and West located to 12 km (7 mi) from San Martín Square which means that the common land has 24 km (15 mi) from side. The city, adjoins in the northern territory with Colón Department summarizing a total surface of 562.

The city is located in the plain of the Humid Pampa, to the east of the oriental cord of Córdoba Hills or Sierras Chicas, also known as the Sierras Cordobesas, which has an average height of 550 m. It spreads at the foot of the mount, on both banks of the River Suquía, and flows into the San Roque reservoir; from there, the Primero River goes east into the plains surrounding the city of Cordoba.

Once inside the city, the La Canada stream meets the Rio Primero near the city centre area. Two kilometers to the east, Isla de los Patos or Ducks Island was repopulated with ducks and swans in the 1980s. It was reported in March 2006 that a large number of ducks had died due to unspecified causes. Pollution caused by chemical waste is suspected as the cause, but avian influenza is also being investigated.

Beyond the city limits, the river flows towards the Algarrobos swamp and ends its course on the southern coast of the Mar Chiquita or Mar de Ansenuza salt lake. All in all, the river has a length of approximately 200 km (124 mi) and carries, on average, 9.7 m³/s, with minimum of 2 m³/s and maximum of 24 m³/s with a peak during the summer months.

Pollution of the water and of the riverbank is a major environmental issue in Cordoba.Periodic cleaning operations are carried out to increase the quality of the water and to preserve the viability of fishing, both in the San Roque reservoir area and downstream

The climate of the city of Cordoba, and that of most of the province, is humid subtropical, moderated by the Pampas winds, cold winds that blow from the South-western quadrant, originates in the Antarctica.

There are four marked seasons. Summers run from late November till early March, and bring days between 28 °C (82 °F) and 33 °C (91 °F) and night between 15 °C (59 °F) and 19 °C (66 °F) with frequent thunderstorms. Heat waves are common, and bring days with temperatures over 38 °C (100 °F) and hot, sticky nights; however, Pampero winds are sure to bring relief with thunderstorms and a day or two of cool, crisp weather: nighttime temperatures can easily descend to 12 °C (54 °F) or less, but the heat starts building up right away the next day.

By late February or early March, nights start getting cooler and, in March, highs average 27 °C (81 °F) and lows 15 °C (59 °F); after cold fronts, lows below 10 °C (50 °F) and highs below 20 °C (68 °F) are recorded in this month. April is significantly drier already; highs reach 24 °C (75 °F) on average and lows 12 °C (54 °F), creating very pleasant conditions.

In some years, temperatures can approach or even reach the freezing point in late April; however, heat waves of up to 33 °C (91 °F) are still possible, but nights are rarely as hot as in the summer. May usually brings the first frosts, and very dry weather, with under 20 mm (1 in) of rain expected. Highs average 21 °C (70 °F) and lows average 8 °C (46 °F); however, when cold waves reach the area, highs may stay below 8 °C (46 °F) and lows can be well below freezing.

Winter lasts from late May till early September, and bring average highs of 18 °C (64 °F) and lows of 4 °C (39 °F).

However, strong northwesterly winds downsloping from the mountains can bring what is known as Veranito or little summer with highs of up to 30 °C (86 °F) or more and dusty, windy weather but dry, pleasant nights for 2–3 days.Conversely, when storms stall over the Atlantic coast, there may be several days of drizzle and cool weather, and when cold air masses invade the country from Antarctica several times every winter, there may be one or two days with temperatures around 6 °C (43 °F), drizzle and high winds (which combined make it feel very cold), followed by dry, cold weather with nighttime lows between 0 °C (32 °F) and −5 °C (23 °F) and daytime highs between 8 °C (46 °F) and 15 °C (59 °F).

Snowfall is very rare in the city, but more frequent in the outskirts where the Sierras begin[citation needed]; sleet may fall every once in a while. The record low temperature for Córdoba is −8.3 °C (17.1 °F). In June, only 3.5 mm (0.1 in) of rain are expected, compared to 168 mm 6.6 in in January.

Spring is extremely variable and windy: there may be long stretches of cool, dry weather and cold nights followed by intense heat waves up to 38 °C (100 °F), followed by the most severe thunderstorms with hail and high winds. It is not unusual to see temperatures drop 20 °C (36 °F) from one day to another, or to have frost following extreme heat. Drought is most common in this season, when the normal summer rainfall arrives later than expected. By October, days are warm at 26 °C (79 °F) but nights remain cold at 11 °C (52 °F), by late November, the weather resembles summer weather with cooler nights.

The wealthier suburbs west of the city are located at slightly higher altitudes, which allows cool breezes to blow in the summer, bringing drier, comfortable nights during hotter periods, and more regular frost in the winter. Generally speaking, Córdoba's daytime temperatures are very slightly warmer than Buenos Aires' but nighttime lows are usually cooler, especially in the winter. This, combined to a lower humidity and the possibility of fleeing to higher altitudes minutes away from the city centre, makes the climate a bit more comfortable than in the capital.

The variations or thermal extents are greater than in Buenos Aires, and lower in annual rainfall: 750 mm (30 in) / year. The annual average temperature calculated during the 20th century was 18 °C. In January, the hottest month of the austral summer, the average maximum is 31 °C and the minimum 17 °C. In July, the coldest month of the year, the average temperatures are between 19 °C and 3 °C. In winter it is very frequent that temperatures rise above 30 °C, due to the influence of the wind Zonda.

Due to the extension of the metropolitan area, there exists a difference of 5 °C between the central area and the Greater Córdoba. The central district, a dense high-rise area is located in a depression, and it is the core of an important heat island. In addition the city presents a phenomenon of smog, but not so dense as to present health concerns.

The largest ethnic groups in Cordoba are Italians/Italian Argentine and Spaniards/Spanish Argentine mostly Galicians and Basques/Basque Argentine. Waves of immigrants from other European countries arrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. From the rest of Western Europe came immigrants from Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland and Scandinavia especially Sweden.

Eastern Europeans also arrived from nations such as Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Armenia and the Balkans especially Greece, Serbia and Montenegro. By the 1910s, 43 percent of the city population was non-native Argentine after immigration rates peaked.

Most immigrants, regardless of origin, settled in the city or around Greater Cordoba. However, in the first stages of immigration, some formed colonies especially agricultural colonies in different parts of the city, often encouraged by the Argentine government and/or sponsored by private individuals and organizations

Cordoba is the second largest city in the country in population and concentrates 40.9% of the Córdoba Province population of 3,216,993 inhabitants and represents almost 3.3% of the Argentine population, which according to estimates to June 2008, reached 39,745,613 inhabitants. Driven by migration both domestic and from abroad, the city's rate of population growth was an elevated 3.2% annually from 1914 to 1960; but, it has been declining steadily since then, and has averaged around 0.4% a year, since the national census of 2001.

According to the last provincial census of 2008, the city has 1,315,540 inhabitants, representing an increase of 3.78% with regard to the 1,267,521 registered during the national census of 2001.Greater Córdoba is the metropolitan area of the city of Cordoba, a union of medium localities of the department Colon, from the north to the south. Greater Cordoba is the second-largest urban agglomeration in Argentina in both population and surface area.

The growth of the metropolitan area was not equal in all directions, it spreads approximately up to 50 km (31 mi) to the northwest of the Cordoba city centre in a thin succession of small localities. This is almost the maximum distance from the Buenos Aires city center to the most distant of its metropolitan area points; whereas in the rest of the cardinal points it comes to 15 km (9 mi).

The city receives a constant flow of students from the North-East, Southwest regions of Argentina and of other South American countries, owed principally to the National University of Cordoba, which increases gradually the city population. Cordoba grows constantly, expanding especially towards the southern areas of Alta Gracia and Villa Carlos Paz.

The use of the city soil is regulated by the municipality, which determines and destines 26,177 hectares to urban area (40.24%), 12,267 hectares to the industrial dominant area (21.3%), 16,404 hectares to rural area dominant (28.45%) and 5,750 hectares to other uses as military proposes, or institutional spaces (9.98%) of the total area of the city.

Green spaces include different types of spaces, from squares, small squares, up to urban, green linear parks of different scales as the river Suquia, bicycle pathways and highways. The surface supported by the Municipality of Cordoba in character of green Urban adds approximately 1645 hectares.

The historical centre is shaped by quadrangular blocks of some hundred thirty meters of side. The disposition of the neighborhoods and principal avenues is radial. From the city centre district large avenues that lead to the most peripheral neighborhoods are born. In conformity with the demographic growth the city has expanded principally to the northwest and to the southeast, following the trace of the National Route 9.

Córdoba is home to one of the most important financial districts in South America. The district is home to the Bank of Cordoba and other private banking institutions. Sightseeing places include San Martín Square, the Jesuit Block- declared UNESCO World Heritage Site - and the Genaro Perez Museum. The streets mostly follow a regular checkerboard pattern, and the main thoroughfares are Velez Sarsfield, Colon, General Paz, Dean Funes Avenue, and 27 April Street. The point of origin of the city is the San Martin Square, surrounded by the Municipality and Central Post Office.

Downtown Cordoba is home of large shopping malls, notably Patio Olmos. This mall is the result of a massive regeneration effort, recycling and refurbishing the west side old warehouses into elegant offices and commercial centres. An important cultural point of interest is the Palacio Ferreyra, a mansion built in 1916 based on plans by the French architect, Ernest Sanson.

The Ferreyra palace was converted into the Evita Peron Museum of Fine Arts the city's second in 2007. Located at the corner of Hipolito Yrigoyen and Chacabuco Avenues, it has now been restored and adapted to house the city's principal art gallery.

New Cordoba has a number of important avenues such as Yrigoyen and Velez Sarsfield. Most of the university students in this growing city live in this neighbourhood, and a recent construction boom has been transforming this upscale area into the fastest-growing section in the city.

Ciudad Universitaria is a district located in the southern area of the city, next to the 17 hectares (42 acres) Sarmiento Park, the city's most important one. The Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC) has most of its facilities in this area. The UNC was the first university built in Argentina, founded by Jesuits around 1622. The Universidad Nacional de Córdoba is also famous for the Reforma Universitaria, a student-led protest that started in March 1918 in the Medical School, in which the students rebelled against the prevailing university system.

This was an old anachronic system in which professors were authoritarian and inefficient, with a religiously oriented curriculum. Eventually this revolt lead to a more secular curriculum and some significant re-structuring of the university government. The distinctive nature of the movement derived not only from its radical demands, but also from its extremist tactics, the level of sophistication of its organization, and its major continental impact.

In fact, the Reform Movement rapidly spread from Cordoba to Lima (1919), Cuzco (1920), Santiago de Chile (1920), and Mexico (1921). Another important university, the UTN, dedicated to the teaching of engineering sciences, is located in this part of the city. There are also a gym and football stadium and tennis courts for the students. The Cordoba Zoo is located in this district.

Located about 6 km (4 mi) from downtown Córdoba is the Cerro de Las Rosas. This very affluent neighborhood is famous for its schools, shops and educational institutions. This neighborhood's economic activity centers around the Rafael Nunez Avenue, a long wide road that stretches for a few kilometers and has restaurants, boutiques, banks and other shops.

Over the last decade, this neighborhood has experienced steady growth; however, some of its most affluent inhabitants have moved to gated communities for security reasons. Some of these communities, such as Las Delicias and Lomas de los Carolinos, are in the old Camino a La Calera.

The Cordoba public transport system includes trains, buses, trolleybuses and taxis. Long-distance buses reach most cities and towns throughout the country.

The city is served by the nation's third largest airport Ingeniero Ambrosio L.V. Taravella International Airport.

Rail transport in Cordoba has commuter and long-distance services, all operated by state-owned Trenes Argentinos. From the Mitre railway station depart trains to Villa María while the Tren de las Sierras connects the cities of Alta Córdoba with Cosquin.

From Retiro station of Buenos Aires trains reach Cordoba twice a week with an estimated journey time of 18 hours.

The Tren de las Sierras is a tourist service that crosses the Valle de Punilla, Quebrada del Río Suquía and the Dique San Roque's Lake. It has two services per day with an additional service on weekends.

Cordoba has two railway stations, the Cordoba (Mitre) originally built by the Central Argentine R. in 1886. That station has been an intermediate stop for trains to Tucuman, successively operated by Ferrocarriles Argentinos and then by private consortiums such as Ferrocentral. The other station is Alta Córdoba, built and operated by British-owned Córdoba North Western in 1891, and currently terminus of Tren de las Sierras.

Railway stations in the city of Córdoba are:

- Alta Cordoba

- Cordoba (Mitre)

The Argentine government had projected to build a high-speed train between Buenos Aires-Rosario-Cordoba. It would eventually join Cordoba and Buenos Aires, with an intermediate stop in Rosario, in about 3 hours at speeds of up to 350 km/h (220 mph).Originally scheduled to be started in 2008, with its inauguration in 2010, the project was finally dismissed in December 2012.

The total cost of the rail had been estimated in USD 4,000,000,000. French company Alstom, that had won the tender to build high-speed rail, admitted to have paid bribes to the Argentine authorities.

On 10 December 2007 it was announced that a consortium of Iecsa/Gela companies was to build a US$1.1 billion metro system in Cordoba. In April 2008, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, signed the project into law. The works, however, are currently on hold due to the world financial crisis.

The biggest sectors is car and car parts manufacturing:

- Renault has a factory which produces a range of cars.

- Volkswagen has a factory specialized in the production of gearboxes.

- Fiat has another car factory in the city.

Many suppliers both local and foreign manufacture car parts for these operations. Additionally, starting in 2017-2018, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz will begin the production of their new pickup truck at the Renault factory. Railway construction (Materfer) and aircraft construction or Fabrica Militar de Aviones were once significant employers, but their activities have greatly diminished.

Furthermore, there are some textile, heavy and chemical industries e.g. Porta for alcohol.

Areas around Cordoba produce vast amounts of agricultural products, and some of these are processed around the city. Additionally, the province is one of the main producers of agricultural machinery in the country, although most of these operations are not in the city itself. Candy company Arcor is headquartered in the city.

Cordoba has been considered the technological centre of Argentina. The Argentinian spaceport Centro Espacial Teofilo Tabanera, where satellites are being developed and operated for CONAE, is located in the suburb of Falda del Carmen. The software and electronic industries are advancing and becoming significant exporters; among the leading local employers in the sector are Motorola, Vates, Intel, Electronic Data Systems, and Santex América.

The city also has a service-based economy focused on retail, professional services with companies like Deloitte and financial services, where the main local player is credit card provider Tarjeta Naranja. It has recently emerged as a start-up hub with a growing number of angel investors, in part due to the availability of people with technology-oriented skills

Association football is the most popular sport in Cordoba as well as in Argentina. Several leagues and divisions compete in the local championship annually. The city currently has two representative in the Argentine First Division, Belgrano, founded in 1905 and playing at the Estadio Gigante de Alberdi and Talleres. Other lower-division sides in Cordoba include Instituto de Cordoba and Racing de Cordoba.

Basketball is the second-most popular sport in Cordoba. Asociación Deportiva Atenas is the most popular club, and one of the most successful in Argentina, having won the National League (LNB) seven times, and being three times winner of the South American League. Cordoba was one of the host cities of the 1990 FIBA World Championship.

Rugby union is also a very popular sport in Cordoba, which has close to 20 teams with many divisions. Tala Rugby Club, Club La Tablada, Cordoba Athletic Club one of the oldest clubs in Argentina and founded by the British who worked in the building of the Argentine Railroads around 1882, Jockey Club Cordoba, and Club Universitario de Cordoba are some of the most prestigious teams.

Cordoba is one of the strongest rugby places in Argentina, and is the home of many international players. Many of the great players in Argentina and Italy began their careers in the Cordoba's rugby clubs.

Golf and tennis are also very popular; notable players that started playing in Córdoba include Ángel "Pato" Cabrera and Eduardo "Gato" Romero in golf.

The Argentine stage of the World Rally Championship has been run near Cordoba since 1984. Motorsport events also take place at Autodromo Oscar Cabalen, such as TC2000 but has hosted Stock Car Brasil and Formula Truck

Cordoba has long been one of Argentina's main educational centers, with 6 universities and several postsecondary colleges. Students from the entire country, as well as neighbouring countries attend the local universities, giving the city a distinct atmosphere.

The National University of Cordoba, established since 1613, is the 4th oldest in the Americas and the first in Argentina. It has about 105,000 students, and offers degrees in a wide variety of subjects in the sciences, applied sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts.

The Cordoba Regional Faculty is a branch of the National Technological University in Cordoba, offering undergraduate degrees in engineering civil, electrical, electronic, industrial, mechanical, metallurgy, chemical and information, as well as master's degrees in engineering and business, and a PhD program in engineering and materials.

The Catholic University of Cordoba is the oldest private university in Cordoba, it has nearly 10,000 students.

The Aeronautic University Institute, run by the Argentine Air Force, offers degrees in aeronautical, telecommunications and electronic engineering, as well as information systems, accounting, logistics and administration.

Furthermore, the Universidad Siglo 21 and Universidad Blas Pascal are private universities in the city.

The Air Force Academy and the Air Force NCOs School are both located in the city outskirts.

There is an Italian international school, Escuela Dante Alighieri.

The area once had a German school, Deutsche Schule Cordoba.

The typical music in Cordoba is the cuarteto, heard in many parties and pubs. Among the most popular cuarteto singers are Carlos La Mona Jimenez, Rodrigo, La Barra and Jean Carlos. The places they usually sing are named bailes or dances. One of the first groups was Cuarteto de Oro.

Other music styles popular with the youth are electronic music or electro, as well as reggaeton. These are commonly played at boliches, as night clubs are known in Argentina. Cordoba is sometimes referred to as the nightlife city or the city that never sleeps, because of its wide range of clubs and teenage matinees or dancing clubs.

Cordoba's rich musical culture also encompasses classical, jazz, rock and pop, in a variety of venues.

Teatro Libertador San Martín regularly features concerts, operas, folk music, and plays.

Cordoba has many historical monuments left over from the colonial era. In the centre, near the Plaza San Martín square, is the Jesuit Cathedral, whose altar is made of stone and silver from Potosí. Every ornament inside is made of gold and the roof is all painted with different images from the Bible. Another important historic building is the Cabildo or colonial government house, located next to the church. The Jesuit Block, the Monserrat School, the University and the church of the Society of Jesus are also located in Cordoba.

The first festival of the year is in February, the Carnival, where children enjoy throwing water balloons at each other on the street.

Then in the middle of the year, on 20 July, Friends Day is celebrated. Usually, most of the teenagers meet at Parque de las Naciones or Parque Sarmiento and spend the afternoon there. At night, they go dancing to different places, and enjoy a drink.

The last festival is Spring Day, held on 21 September, which is Students' Day. Many go to the park or spend the day in the nearby city of Villa Carlos Paz. There they can enjoy lots of activities like concerts, dancing, going downtown or visiting the river bank.

Tourism Observer

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