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Bariloche Travel Guide

History of Bariloche



Bariloche comes from Vuriloche ("people from behind the mountain") in the Mapuche language, this majestic region is formed by abundant precipitations, wide watersheds, exuberant vegetation, a wide variety of natural pastures, a rich fauna, including guanacos, ñandues, huemules, percas and huillines. Man appeared here, between ten and thirty thousand years ago, during the higher Paleolithic Period, after glaciations burst into the valley, testimony of this are the findings of rock paintings of hands, similar to the ones found in Europe.

Tehuelche tribes from the south, the Puelche from the east and the Pehuenche from the north lived here in a peaceful coexistence, until the second half of the 17th century, with the arrival of the Araucanos, who absorbed this tribes. Araucanos imprinted their culture to all those people living in Patagonia. Spaniards in their conquering anxiety, penetrate gradually in this territory of lakes, Since 1653, Jesuits tried to start their evangelizing mission travelling around the region. For more than a century there was no more news from this area, until 1872, when the naturalist Francisco Pascasio Moreno arrived to the Nahuel Huapi, and travelled extensively the region; Moreno had the idea to create a national park to protect this wonderful area, being the first white man who came from the Atlantic to devote himself to studying and investigating this spectacular environment. In the 1880s, the Argentine army advanced on the region with the mission of reconnoitre the territories to this geography, in this time the remaining Indian Culture was subdued totally.

Carlos Wiederhold a German trader, established the first store in 1895, the first tourists arrived in summer 1902 and stayed at this store. The city was officially founded on May, 3, 1902, it was named San Carlos de Bariloche, in honor of Mister Wiederhold and the Indian term Vuriloche. By 1909, there where 1,250 inhabitants.

The first road for cars was completed in 1913, thanks to the US president Theodore Roosevelt. In 1921 the first plane arrive from San Fernando, Buenos Aires. In the 1930s the first train arrived, by this time also, were built the Civic Centre, including several important buildings such as the Library, the Theatre, the Cathedral, the San Eduardo Church, the Llao Llao Hotel and others. Bariloche became as the favorite place for aristocratic tourism, receiving the visit of the Duke of Kent and his brother Edward Windsor, Prince of Wales, who, time later, became King Edward VIII of England.

In 1934, the Nahuel Huapi National Park was created. In 1940, with flights taking 7 hours and making two stops, the air service from Buenos Aires to Bariloche began. Currently, the great majority of its current inhabitants are descendants of foreigners. Swiss, Germans, Austrians, and Italians came from Europe to settle in these beautiful surroundings.



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