Ciudad Sagrada de Quilmes (Sacred Town Of Quilmes)

It is hard to imagine that 800 years A.D. a group of native people called Quilmes were one of the most important Pre-Hispanic settlements of the Calchaqui Towns. Landscapes of Las Sierras and El Cordón Calchaquí are full of history that makes tourists fall in love at first glance.

The Quilmes was a small aboriginal town with a highly economic and social development. In the XVII century, there were around 3000 inhabitants in the urban area and 10000 nearby. In the slope of the hill, tourists will be able to appreciate buildings of the residential area, framed by a fortress located on the top and two small forts in both sides of the ledge.

Tourists will be able to admire the place together with a tourist guide and they will be surprised by every single detail of the last bastion of aboriginal resistance, which gave up  in 1667, because of the Spanish approaches. The 1700 survivors were transferred on foot to a place near Buenos Aires city (currently called Quilmes city) where just 400 of them arrived.

In order to get to the sacred town of Quilmes in a private vehicle, tourists have to travel from Amaicha del Valle 15 km (9 ½ miles) approximately, along the Provincial Route Nº 307. Then, take the National Route Nº 40. From there, they have to go on 3 km (1 ½ mile) more to the north.  Turn left and travel along a dirt road for 5 km (3 ½ miles) which leads to the town. In case tourists do not own a private vehicle, it is possible to hire an excursion from San Miguel de Tucumán. Another option is to go to Amaicha del Valle by bus and hire an excursion there, given the fact that this is the only way to get to the place from here.

Recently, the Interpretation centre was opened. It was built on an existing building where a museum and handcraft market used to be.  The entire place was rebuilt in order to portray an interpretative script about the ancestral memories of the first town, so that it will last on time.

The museum, scenography and interpretation intervention are carried out in four rooms. Each of them consists of different topic related to the Quilmes’ lives. Several visual, listening and tactile resources are used in order to attract and involve guests.

The first room is similar to an index where the tourist can be placed historically. There are several topics displayed, such as: The Quilmes Origin, their settlement in “Calchaquí” Valley and Santa Maria River or Yokavil, ethnic characteristics, language, social, cultural artistic and religious standards.

In the second room there are several models and animated dioramas which represent Quilmes’ activities and some Fortaleza City Landmarks.

To the left, five dioramas tell us the daily life, organization and housing of this town. To the right, there are other five dioramas which portray some important buildings, such as, the church, farming terraces, the dam and watchtowers.

In the central area, glass cabinets are placed which are directly related with dioramas and wall infographs.  They exhibit replicas of clothes, ornaments, weapons. There are also farming and essential tools for storage and food preparation, and some elements for religious and funerary purpose. Finally, there are some elements which represent daily life and customs of the community.

The third room is an auditorium with an incredible audio-visual material which summarizes History, Geography and social aspects of Quilmes Town. This room shows the origins from the mountain range of the Calchaquíes summits to the community exile, uproot and disappearance.

The last room shows a valuable patrimonial legacy with elements and original designs of the Quilmes Culture in the glass cabinets and walls. Each display case show digital infographs about each element in order to be appreciated and valued.

There are two areas especially dedicated to day and night and their meanings in the life of this town.  One timeline tells us the history of the Chalchaquí Valley and Quilmes Nation since its beginning until its tragic captivity and pilgrimage.

In the last part of this Centre, tourists will be able to appreciate a room with archaeological elements, which are still being studied by a professional team.

For more information, you can click on “Inbound Tourism Agencies and find out more about excursions.