The basic characteristic of the Argentinean landscape relief is the enormous contrast found between the immense Eastern plains and the impressive Andean Mountain range in the West, with the highest peak in the Western hemisphere: the Aconcagua, with 6959 metres above sea level.
From its Northernmost part in Jujuy to the Tierra del Fuego, the Argentinean Andes show off the marvellous variety of its landscapes: From the high North-eastern plains - desert tundra with valleys, gorges and colourful mountains - to the region of the lakes, forests and glaciers of Patagonia.
To the North, the Chaco is a forest area associated to the Bermejo, Salado y Pilcomayo Rivers.
Between the Parana and Uruguay Rivers, the Argentinean Mesopotamia (The Provinces of Entre Rios, Corrientes and Misiones) is made up of low hills, lakes and marshes, which show where the old courses of these big Rivers used run. In some places, in the midst of the subtropical jungle, there are abrupt chasms that favour phenomena as spectacular as the Iguazu Falls.
In the Central part of Argentina, the Pampas Region is the most extensive and best known. Under heavy agricultural and livestock exploitation it comprises the Province of Buenos Aires, the North-eastern part of the Province of La Pampa and the Southern parts of the Cordoba and Santa Fe Provinces. Its flat landscape is interrupted in the South by the small Mountain ranges of Tandil and Ventana, and to the East by the Cordoba Mountains.
To the South, from the Andes to the sea, extend the sterile and stony Patagonian high plains, scoured by the wind most of the year.
The Atlantic seaboard, with a high cliffy shoreline, takes on sinuous shapes, like the Valdes Peninsula, with its spectacular rookeries and marine animal colonies.
It is present in all its forms: cinema, theatre, paintings and sculpture, music and literature with many outstanding exponents and practitioners, many of whom have acquired international renown and acceptance.
The Teatro Colón Theatre has its place amongst the top three lyrical halls on the planet; of beautiful architecture and with perfect acoustics. Its ample stage allows for important scenographies and the presence of many actors simultaneously. The most prominent figures of music and ballet have and continue to act there.
Painting and sculpture have a privileged position in the local cultural
life. In all the principal Argentinean cities you will find prestigious
art galleries. Popular and folklore music find many and relevant
ways of expression. The most outstanding of these is without doubt
that typically urban and also locally Rio de la Plata music: the
Tango. Its foremost idol, Carlos Gardel, became a legend for millions
of fans. Because of its lyrics and unmistakeable rhythm, the Tango
is obviously a child of the Porteño of Buenos Aires, in spite of
which it is still taking the world with storm. Five Nobel Prize
winners grace the local intelligentsia, such as those of Medicine:
B. Houssay (1947) and C. Milstein (1984); in Chemistry: L.F. Leloir
(1970); C. Saavedra Lamas (1936) and A. Pérez Esquivel (1980) have
received the Nobel Peace Price.
A special mention must be made regarding the Argentinean gaucho, which archetype, Martín Fierro, is to be found in the writings of the Buenos Aires poet José Hernández. The Argentineans have inherited his personality, the love for freedom and the permanent thirst for justice. Thus, it is not hard to understand that, in spite of his Pampas country background, his figure has become a universal symbol for and of the Argentinean people.
The quality of its beef and wines has created for Argentina a special place in world gastronomy. The local cuisine is varied and tasty. In the North-eastern part you will find specialties such as "Empanadas" or Turnover Pies, Tamales, "Humitas" or Sweet Corn Tamales, "Carbonada", a local meat stew mixed with rice, pumpkin, potatoes and corn, as well as the "Locro", or pumpkin mush. But the many different immigrants that have populated the country have all brought with them their different culinary skills and tastes, so today you can find excellent International food from many countries: Italian, Spanish, French, German, Swiss, English, Chilean, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Arab, Kosher, Basque, Greek, Russian, Scandinavian, Dutch and Hungarian, just to mention some. The new Argentinean cuisine, pushed forward by qualified chefs and applauded on by exiguous gourmets has acquired International reputation, competing with the best available anywhere on the planet.