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MOLINOS

SALTA

ARGENTINA

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SALTA

MOLINOS

Founded in the midst of the 17th century, in a privileged sector of the Valle Calchaquí Valley, Molinos (Mills) is a sierra mountain town originated by the commission granted to Diego Diez Gómez in those years; it stands at 2020 metres above sea level.

Years later, one of his descendants got married to General Domingo de Isasmendi, a combatant against the Calchaquí natives. The Molinos estate comprised the territory of the current Molinos department and part of the San Carlos Department.

Molinos had already become the only town of importance at the west side of the Calchaquí Valley during those years, and until the first years of the 20th century, it was the most important trading route between Salta and Chile.

In 1775, Nicolás Severo, son of Domingo de Isasmendi, inherits the property and achieves the maximum prosperity for the hacienda. Six years later he fought the insurgent forces of Tupac Amaru. He was also the last royalist governor of Salta, and in the end he surrendered the place to Feliciano Chiclana, who was sent by the Buenos Aires Junta.

He died in 1837 and prosperity declined.

The chapel and the hacienda house still remain nowadays.

The big old house is similar to others built in the town, with thick adobe walls and rounded river stone foundations. Huge buttresses were built in several places to shore up the walls. The roofs are built with locust tree beams, joists, reeds and a final mud layer, though it was originally covered with handmade Spanish type tiles moulded over the thighs.

The cut corners and the sober colonial window bars made of wood firstly and then of ironwork, are characteristic of this town as well.

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- Brealitos Lake
- Molinos
- Los Cardones
National Park

- San Carlos
- Seclantas
The Iglesia de Molinos Church stands before the current Hostal de Molinos' big old house, and keeps the remains of don Nicolás Severo de Isasmendi, who ordered its construction at the end of the 18th century.

The church belonged to the commission until 1760, when it was transferred to the ecclesiastical hierarchy. It has only one nave with two lateral chapels forming the crossing and the choir. It holds old and rich statuary.

It was declared a National Historical Monument in 1942. It has been restored, though it is in danger of disappearing due to its proximity to the river and the great amount of saltpetre showing on its walls.

Only one-day excursions to Molinos are possible for it has no lodging facilities. The returning point is Cachi.

WEATHER
Dry and arid; with sunny days and getting cold during the southern hemisphere winter.

FESTIVITIES
The Patron Fiesta is celebrated the 2nd of February and is meant to honour the Virgen de la Candelaria. As is traditional in the valley, the altar boys and the gauchos accompany their patron during the procession. A particularity of this fiesta is the salutation of the patron with flags, which, according to Fany Osán de Pérez Sáenz, is common in some places in Spain and could be seen as a patron tradition implanted by the Spaniards. The serenade to the Virgin is realized the day before. She comes out to the balcony and the people sing to her.

HOW TO GET THERE
It is located 210 kilometres away from Salta and 116 from Cafayate, going through the Ruta Nacional Nº 40 National Route.

WHAT TO DO THERE?
  • Visit to the vicuña's reserve and the San Pedro Nolasco de los Molinos' Artisan's Association.
  • Hikes and horseback rides around the peaceful town.
  • The church deserves a especial attention.
  • Visits to the Colomé and Amaicha ranches, known for their red wines.
  • Visit to the Laguna de Brealitos Lagoon, to walk around it or fish atherines. A 40 kilometres trip going through Seclantás.
  • Visit to the Churcal ruins, 20 minutes away, and to the remnants of the Fuerte de Tacuil Fort, a formidable defence site of the natives against the conquistadors.
 


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