So, you want to learn some cultural facts about Argentina?
The Land of Silver (Argentina) traces its name back to the voyages of the Spanish and Portuguese to the Rio de la Plata in the 16th Century.
Better known for its steak and wine as well as the Tango and football, Argentina has a unique blend of cultural ethnicities and expressions.
Want to learn more interesting facts about Argentina? Keep reading…
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Cultural Facts About Argentina
Argentina has the highest and lowest points in South America ranging from 105m below sea level to 6,960m above sea level.
If you’ve read any books about South America its no secret that Argentina has an ultra diverse population of inhabitants.
Argentina’s population is predominately European:
As well as native indigenous and African descendants.
During the 18th and 19th century the Afro Argentines made up almost 50% of the population.
I wrote about my experience of being black in South America after reading about the Afro Argentines and my encounters in the city.
A population that has since decreased due to many factors, including a nationwide whitening process which lead to an almost forgotten race.
Argentina’s architecture, music, dance, and other cultural expressions have their origins from across Europe.
Cultural Facts About Argentina
I’ve compiled a list of unique fun facts about Argentina that will spark your curiosity and maybe even inspire you to travel here.
But, what is Argentina known for?
Not many people know that Mate in Argentina is super popular. Yerba Mate is a South American caffeine-infused drink.
Or, it could even those baked treats that get eaten by the dozen every morning called Medialunas.
Firstly let’s look at some general facts about Argentina:
- Argentina had a population of 44,688,864 in 2018
- The capital of Argentina is Buenos Aires
- The official currency in Argentina is the peso
The predominant language spoken in Argentina is Argentinian Spanish, which for many sounds more like Italian.
Buenos Aires is not only the most important city in Argentina, it’s the birthplace of the Rioplatense Spanish, known locally as Castellano.
Interesting Facts About Argentina
One of the most well known Argentina facts that many people are aware of is that Argentina is home to one of the most influential and famous Latin dances of modern history, – The Tango!
There are some amazing facts about the tango dance that you may have not known. For instance, Tango was recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage contribution from Argentina and Uruguay on August 31st, 2009 by UNESCO.
The dance originated from lower-class districts of Buenos Aires and Montevideo along the Rio de la Plata in the late 19th century.
The term Tango and Tambo were originally used to describe musical gatherings of African slaves in the late 18th century.
Many tourists to Argentina visit especially to learn how to dance tango at one of the many dance schools in the capital.
Facts About Argentinian Architecture
After Argentina’s War of Independence from Spanish rule in the early 19th century Italian and French influences guided the construction of Argentina’s architecture.
Argentina plays host to many different architectural styles throughout the centuries from Baroque to Neoclassical and even Eclecticism.
Some famous architectural buildings in Argentina are:
- Palacio Barolo – Eclecticism
- Teatro Colon – Eclecticism
- Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral – Neoclassical
- The Water Company Palace – Eclecticism
- St. Ignatius Church – Baroque
The Cathedral of Cordoba is Argentina’s oldest church in continuous service in Argentina today.
It’s construction started around 1582 and completed in the late 18th century.
Other interesting facts about Argentina’s oldest church include:
- The Cathedral was consecrated in 1784 by Bishop Jose Antonio de San Alberto.
- The Cathedral of Cordoba was declared a National Historic Monument in 1941 and underwent extensive restoration works from 2007 to 2009.
- It’s the central church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cordoba, Argentina.
Argentinian Food Facts
This list wouldn’t be complete without some facts about Argentina’s food.
The National dish of Argentina is Asados (a variety of barbequed meat) grilled on a parilla (a large grill) that is packed with ribs, steak, chorizo, mollejas (sweetbread) chinchulines (chitterlings) and morcilla (blood sausage).
Asado was originally the main diet of the Gaucho (cowboy) that inhabited the area in and around the Rio de la Plata until the mid-19th century.
Today asado is a culinary cultural tradition among Argentinian families and close friends who gather typically on Sunday afternoons to enjoy each other’s company.
Another national dish you’ll find in Argentina is Locro, which is a hearty thick stew consisting of corn, beans, potato, some form of meat (usually beef, but sometimes beef jerky or chorizo) and vegetables.
It is often served on May 25th, the anniversary of the May Revolution in Argentina.
Locro is typically associated with native Andean civilizations and popular along with the Andes mountain range.
Wine in Argentina
One of the cool things about Argentina is that if you’re an avid wine enthusiast, the country is renowned for producing exceptionally great wines.
In November 2010, the Argentine government declared wine as Argentina’s national liquor.
- The French brought Malbec, makes most of Argentina’s best-known wines.
- Until the early 1990’s Argentina produced more wine than any other country outside Europe.
- Argentinians love their wine and according to 2006 figures each Argentinian drinks around 45 liters a year.
Argentina’s most highly rated Malbec wines come from Mendoza’s high altitude wine regions of Lujan de Cuyo and Uco Valley.
Literary Facts About Argentina
Argentine writer Ernesto Sabato who wrote classic books such as The Tunnel and Angel of Darkness reflected on the nature of the culture of Argentina in his 1976 book “La cultura en la encrucjada nacional” as follows:
“With the primitive Hispanic American reality fractured in La Plata Basin due to immigration, its inhabitants have come to be somewhat dual with all the dangers but also with all the advantages of that condition because of our European roots, we deeply link the nation with the enduring values of the Old World; because of our condition of Americans we link ourselves to the rest of the continent, through the folklore of the interior and the old Castillian that unifies us, feeling somehow the vocation of the Patria Grande San Martin and Bolivar once imagined.”
You can find more classic books like On heroes and Tombs by Ernesto Sabato to read on Amazon.
Facts About Argentina’s Music
The music of Argentina includes a variety of traditional, classical and popular genres.
As one of the largest South American countries, the culture of this land is rich with countless types of music.
Folk Music of Argentina comes in many forms developed in different regions with various European and indigenous influences.
Latin Grammy Award for Best Folk Album was first presented to Argentine singer Mercedes Sosa for the album “Misa Criolla” at the 1st Latin Grammy Award Ceremony in 2000.
Facts About Argentina’s Holidays
Due to its large immigrant community (mainly from Europe) and diversity, most people living in Argentina will celebrate at least some of the unique cultural holidays, which include:
- January 6th Los Tres Reyes Magos (The Three Wise Men)
- January 21st – 29th Folklore Festival in Cordoba
- March 4th Vendimia Mendoza’s grape Harvest festival
- May 25th Argentina’s Independence Day
- June 20th National Flag Day
- Late July/Early August Fiesta de la Nieve en Bariloche
- October 12th Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity
That Day of Respect on October 12th is not seen as one of the important facts about Argentina but I feel that it is a significate date for many Argentines.
It is also worth noting that during the past decade, Argentina’s street art or graffiti has become a popular cultural icon.
People are afraid to travel to Buenos Aires due to the safety issues but one of the great facts about Buenos Aires is that not only is it one of the biggest cities in Argentina, but it also has some amazing street art.
The city has become one of the best cities in the world to see huge murals that have been painted on the walls of buildings and houses.
In 2014 Buenos Aires Street Art partnered with Google Cultural Institute, which aims to document the world’s street art in a virtual library. The project features over 270 images from Buenos Aires.
Interesting Facts About Argentina
The culture of Argentina varies widely across the different ethnic and immigrant groups that have settled there over the past 500 years.
In northern Argentina in places such as Salta, you’ll see the Llama in many places even at a crossing, contrary to what one would think, the Llama is not the national animal of Argentina.
Actually, the Rufous Hornero, which is named the Red Ovenbird in English is, in fact, the national bird and animal of Argentina.
Influenced mainly by European backgrounds such as German, Italian, Polish, Spanish and other regions as well as its native indigenous roots.
Much of Argentina’s music, architecture, writing, dance, social customs, and lifestyle is reflected by its European roots.
Argentina’s multiculturalism incorporates its history into the modern-day and is truly a spectacle to behold and experience.
Why not go deeper and learn more from these books about Argentina to get even more insight into the unique country and its people.
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