Slow-paced little Belén feels like, and is, a long way from anywhere, and will appeal to travelers who like things small-scale and friendly. It’s got an excellent place to stay and is one of the best places to buy woven goods, particularly ponchos, in Argentina. There are many teleras (textile workshops) dotted around town, turning out their wares made from llama, sheep and alpaca wool. The nearby ruins of El Shincal are another reason to visit.
Before the arrival of the Spaniards in the mid-16th century, the area around Belén was Diaguita territory, on the periphery of the Inca empire. After the Inca fell, it became the encomienda of Juan Ramírez de Velasco, founder of La Rioja, but its history is intricately intertwined with nearby Londres, a Spanish settlement which shifted several times because of floods and Diaguita resistance. More than a century passed before, in 1681, the priest José Bartolomé Olmos de Aguilera divided a land grant among veterans of the Diaguita wars on the condition that they support evangelization in the area.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
Bags feeling light?
Coffee table looking bare?
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