Salta´s cultural heterogeneity can be considered as the
most diverse of Argentina, culturally and linguistically.
Thanks to its nine native cultures, plus the influence of different settlements, Salta´s cultural heterogeneity can be considered as the most diverse of Argentina, culturally and linguistically. Food, language and much of our essence is owed to the first inhabitants of our earth. Salta promotes cultural exchange between local communities and travellers through responsible tou¬rism and respectful of different customs and ways of life.
Salta´s cultural heterogeneity can be considered as the most diverse of Argentina. Our original people are divided in Gatherers, the Chaqueñas which are the Toba, Chorotes, Chulupís and Wichis, the Producers which are the Andean, Kolla, the Guaraniticas which are the Guarani, Chanés and Tapietes. And the high valleys, which are the Diaguitas calls. All speak your language except Diaguita because the Cacán stopped talking 100 years before the Spanish arrived and Salta Kolla. and barely speak Quechua as it does in other regions of Latin America.
Salta’s cuisine is as rich as its history. Come and savour it. Salta offers the world the most delicious dishes of the aborigines. Our food culture is based on corn. We are the “Men of Corn”. Together with typical dishes like the empanadas you can find corn dishes such as the humita, the tamal, the porridge, the anchi, the api, the locro, the guaschalocro, the polenta, the corn with cheese and the chicha.
During pre Columbian times, inhabitants of distant deserts and tropical jungles gathered during festivities to trade their products, fruit of long hours of manual work. Many of these techniques are still alive, transmitted from one generation of artisans to the next one. These traditions were enriched with the Spanish heritage.Textiles, woven baskets, ceramics, carved woods, leather, bone, horn and silver crafts as well as the Chané indigenous masks, are part of the rich cultural heritage of Salta.
It is a legacy of the kollas. El poncho salteño was already worn in ancient times and was representative of the higher creole population. It is the blanket that has always accompanied every traveler. It measures between 1.50 or 1.80 by 1.90 or 2.30, depending on the size of the wearer. It consists of two zig zag or wing fly point hand sewn panels, its color is bull’s blood red or scarlet red and it has black ribbons. A circular opening of about 0.35 cm. is left in the center for the wearer´s head to pass through.
Mother Earth’s ceremony is an ancient ritual that is still alive today. A hole is dug out in the ground and after the traditional words of: “Kusilla, kusilla, Pachamama”, drinks and food are put in the hole: beer, chicha, wine, liquor, stew, corn, pumpkin, coca leaves and tobacco. The “Apacheta” is a place to worship Pachamama. Here the traveller asks for a safe journey and to avoid fatigue. Thankfulness is expressed by offering drinks, coca leaves, a cigar and a stone. The veneration of the “Pachamama” or Mother Earth is very usual in the Puna region. High mountain sanctuaries, sacred sites and incredible landscapes, make Salta a place of Andean spirituality.
The Carnival is the festival of joy and happiness. Is a party that with different names and different characteristics appears in all ages and diverse cultures. In Salta, the “Corsos” remember the European traditions with those parades of ornate carriages and groups of people dancing. You can find tents, masks, costumes and games with water, flour and paints. The Carnival is associated with pre-Columbian rites of harvest and gods of the land that were made long before this party was named like this.
On August 1st in northern Argentina, many people “sahuman” or smoke their homes. The ritual of spreading smoke was inherited from the Incas and transmitted from one generation to another in most regions of South America. Different aromatics are burned and people walk through every room of their houses spreading this aroma. According to this belief, the perfumed smoke clean of envy and evil the places where it goes through. There is a great variety of aromas, each of them used for a different purpose. It is a tradition to “sahumar” every year all new material goods and each member of the family to free them from misery, especially what is called “evil eyes”.
EL BAILE DEL PIM PIM
Pim pim dancing is one of the most traditional dances of the indigenous communities in the northern province of Salta. In this dance, men and women form large circles and move back and forward, touching the palms of their hands repeatedly to the beat of the music. The women wear the “Tipoy”, a colorful tunic and it is very characteristic to see men wearing striking masks with faces that represent their ancestors who have already left this world and return to join them or with figures of animals from the area.
In 2014, the “Qhapaq Ñan” (Andean Road System) which covers areas of Argentina, Perú, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador was given World Heritage status by UNESCO. Therefore, many are the sites in Salta that are now, under such recognition: several road sections, the “Santa Rosa de Tastil” archaeological site, the “Potrero de Payogasta”, “Los Graneros” area in “La Poma” and the Ceremonial Complex in Llullaillaco Volcano. This Andean Prehispanic road, once measuring almost 40,000 kilometers in length from North to South, reached its largest extension during the Incaic period, frequently called “The Inca Trail”.
NIÑOS DEL LLULLAILLACO
The MAAM (The High Mountain Archaeological Muse¬um), is one of the most important museums in Argentina. It was created to preserve the frozen bodies of the Children of the Llullaillaco, three Inca children found perfectly preserved in 1999, on the summit of the Llullaillaco Volcano at 6.700 metres above sea level (21.981 feet). Their magnificent funerary offerings are also kept with them, diverse objects, tools and crafts distinctive of this ancient civilization. It´s an excellent opportunity to appreciate and understand, right on the middle of the city of Salta, the secrets of the high mountain and witness of the ancient Inca Culture.