Orán, Argentina - Polarsteps

San Ramón de la Nueva Orán, Argentina, population: about 76,000. Orán is a political center for the Department of Salta, it has a federal courthouse, as well as banks, universities, and other important offices. It is a commercial center of northern Salta province. Orán is the center of an important agro-industrial region: sugar cane, used mostly for the production of sugar in the Tabacal sugar mill. Tabacal is a town near the city. Other important commodities include citrus, mainly oranges, and grapefruit. Prior to the 17th century and into the 18th, the area was inhabited by various indigenous groups which sometimes formed alliances and at other times fought against each other. The Spanish arrived in the 17th century and tried to inhabit and conquer the area but were faced with fierce resistance from the locals who wanted nothing to do with the newcomers. In 1779, the Franciscans formed a new town and cultivated grapes, sugar cane, and citrus fruits. At this time the Spanish managed to build a fort but within 10 years the indigenous people destroyed it all. It was in 1794 that the Spaniard Pizzaro finally made a final take-over of the region. The new incoming population cemented the take-over and Orán became a hub between the cities of Salt, Argentina, and Tarifa, Bolivia. In 1794, a map of the new town was created either by Pizzaro or someone close to him, and that original map is stored in the Library of Congress in the USA. In 1819, Argentine patriots liberated the city from Spanish control and captured Pizzaro, because he was loyal to Spain. He was confined to live out his life here in Oran only. There had been two major earthquakes in the Orán area, in 1871 and 1874, both of which devastated the city. Many people left Orán after the second earthquake. The town spent many years recuperating and rebuilding, well into the 20th century. Eventually, the railway arrived, the cathedral was built, the airport was inaugurated, and the regional headquarters of the University was created. The San Vicente de Paul Hospital was inaugurated in 1980, it covers an area of 1 hectare (2.5 acres). So, my impressions: Orán, while being more than 200 years old, has essentially no old/historical buildings. The main church at the central plaza is relatively new. All the original buildings had been destroyed by the two before-mentioned earthquakes. The town has a few nice parks and plazas, but not many neighborhood parks. The climate is excellent, though on the days I was here there was light rain in the mornings and late afternoons. The streets are clean and litter-free, but there are so many dogs running around that I cannot put this town on my list of potential new hometowns.
  1. ChipW
  2. My South America Journey
  3. Orán