Argentina is famous for many things, including wine, football, and beautiful landscapes that capture the imagination, but that’s not all.
The Argentine people take great pride in the fact that Pope Francis is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the country boasts one of the highest literacy rates in South America with women leading the way.
Argentina has a rich cultural history with lifestyles uniquely their own. The Tango, Merienda, and the Gauchos are just a few examples.
Not to mention Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world covering 2.8 million square miles.
Things Argentina is Famous For
Its unique geography and climate conditions helped shape the history and culture of Argentina. Evidence of this can be seen in their exceptional cuisine, specifically in their beef and wine industries which have become significant exports and economic stimulants. Let’s take a look at some of the things that Argentina is famous for.
#1 Lionel Messi
This iconic Argentinian Football player’s name is synonymous with the sport that’s become a ubiquitous aspect of Argentinian culture.
Argentina is famous for a world-class football team with Lionel Messi widely regarded as one of the best players in the world. On September 23d, 2019 he received the FIFA best player award. In Messi’s hometown of Rosario, government officials forbid parents from naming their children Messi fearing it would confuse the local population.
Argentinians take great pride in their national sport. At 13 years old Lionel moved to Spain with his parents after the FC Barcelona team offered to pay for all his future medical costs.
Lionel Messi currently still plays for FC Barcelona and the Argentina National Team.
#2 Buenos Aires
Argentina is famous for its capital city, Buenos Aires, a top tourist destination with a vibrant cultural life.
Buenos Aires receives roughly 2 ½ million visitors each year. Initially founded in 1536 by Spanish explorer Pedro de Mendoza. Buenos Aires has a plethora of activities for travelers and locals alike to experience, from its many historical sites, museums, restaurants, night clubs, and fascinating European architecture.
Argentina is famous for being the birthplace of Tango, one of the most influential and well-known dances throughout the world. The street art depicting giant murals throughout Buenos Aires is another popular cultural aspect many tourists enjoy.
Buenos Aires is the largest city by population in Argentina with close to 3 million residences.
Originating from Buenos Aires during the late 19th century Tango has become a worldwide phenomenon and synonym of Argentina.
Tango was initially developed by fusing European, African, and Native South American dance styles. Originally thought of as a seductive and scandalous dance for the poor and underprivileged Tango was mainly performed in the brothels and streets of Buenos Aires.
Throughout its history, Tango was outlawed and forbidden for several decades due to a coup and subsequent military-run government between 1955 – 1983. During the 1980s and the following decades, Tango saw a resurgence in popularity throughout Argentina.
Likewise, before and during its suppression in Argentina, Tango’s popularity spread overseas to Europe.
Numerous influences of European and native cultures gave birth to the origins of Tango, which continues to evolve today.
Argentinian steak is known for its exquisite taste throughout the world rarely requires seasoning.
There are several reasons Argentina is famous for its steak. Argentinian cattle are free-roaming, grass-fed, and antibiotic-free, but that’s not the only reason why it’s so delicious. Argentinian steak is prepared quite differently than in other parts of the world.
For example, in Argentina, the beef is cooked in either a ceramic or stone grill known as a parilla with either wood or charcoal as the fuel source.
Whereas in the United States it’s cooked over an open flame with propane. Argentinian steaks are cooked much slower than steaks in other parts of the world.
The free-roaming, grass-fed cattle of Argentina have a much higher nutritional value than other cattle throughout the world. Argentina steaks are now so famous that you’ll see Argentinian steakhouses in every major city around the world!
As a National Symbol of Argentina, the Gauchos have become synonymous with bravery and protecting their land.
Gauchos, also known as cowboys of Argentina, can be found primarily in and around the grassy plains of the Pampas.
Travelers have the opportunity to learn horseback riding and about the Gauchos culture from one of the many Gaucho ranches in the countryside.
The Gauchos became famous in Argentina for their contributions during the War of Independence. They helped set up ambushes and shared their knowledge about the land with their fellow countrymen, as well as intel about opposing forces fighting in the war.
Although their culture has been declining since the end of the 19th-century facets of the Gaucho culture can still be found today.
Argentina is famous for its rich flavorful wines.
What makes Argentinian wine so famous, rich, and flavorful? The reason for the popularity of Argentina’s wine can be found in its production and growing techniques.
A majority of the grapes grown in Argentina come from Mendoza. The low rainfall and dry conditions in Mendoza are ideal for growing grapes that are rot and insect-free that would otherwise ruin the grapevines.
Additionally, the rocky soil has a tendency to stress the grapes, so they produce fewer grapes, but with a higher flavor content.
With new technology and techniques for harvesting, wine production in Argentina has increased. Argentina is the fifth-largest wine producer in the world.
Grapevines were originally brought to Argentina in the mid 16th century by Spanish missionaries and conquistadors.
#7 Iguazu Falls
Argentina is famous for Iguazu Falls, one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World.
In 1973, the Argentinian government established Iguazu National Park to protect one of Argentina’s greatest natural beauties, the Iguazu Falls.
Iguazu Falls is a series of cascading waterfalls wider than Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and taller than Niagra Falls in the United States. What makes Iguazu Falls so popular among tourists visiting Argentina?
With breathtaking panoramic views along several nature trails, a personalized boat safari under the falls, and ziplining through the forest. The most spectacular part of these falls is known as the Devil’s Throat, a series of 14 waterfalls that plunges more than 350-feet into a U-shaped gorge.
More than 1 ½ million people visit Iguazu Falls each year.
Traditionally associated with a European tradition, merienda is a late afternoon tea break before dinner.
During the late 19th and early 20th century, European immigrants brought this tradition to Argentina. The later afternoon “merienda” is the equivalent of what most people call a snack before dinner. In Argentina, merienda is a cultural tradition enjoyed by family and friends.
A typical merienda consists of tea which more often than not is mate, the national drink, or coffee. A variety of different snacks are also consumed, which is usually toast, some form of pastries, cookies, and torta fritas, which is a fried ball of dough. Merienda usually takes place around 5 or 6 pm.
The most significant aspect of this tradition is that it allows you to slow down and enjoy the experience.
Argentina has one of the highest literacy rates in South America at 99.13%.
Buenos Aires has been hosting the International book fair each year since 1975 with more than a million people in attendance. In fact, Buenos Aires hosts more bookstores per person than any other city in the world.
Some of the most famous bookstores include the El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Libros del Pasaje, and Walrus Books which offer a large collection of English books and literature which can often be challenging to find in Argentina.
Many of the bookstores and shops vary in size, but still manage to offer visitors opulence and cultural enrichment at every turn.
Buenos Aires, Argentina has roughly 734 bookstores and 25 bookshops for every 100,000 people.
#10 The Falkland Islands
In 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, claiming it as their territory.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding which country holds the rightful claim to the Falkland Islands, despite being a British colony since 1892. The islands encompass an area of about 4,700 square miles with less than 3,000 inhabitants.
It’s sparsely populated, windswept, barren landscape is ideal for many different species of birds. With 230 species recorded and 70 breeding species making it somewhat of a bird sanctuary.
One main reason for the dispute over which country claims the islands is that Argentina claims it was inherited from the Spanish crown in the early 1800s, despite being the possession of Britain since 1833.
The vast majority of the Falkland Islands population is of British descent.
What is Argentina famous for?
That depends on who you ask. Some people will rave about the wine and delicious authentic cuisine, while others may favor its unique majestic landscapes and nature. Ranging from the Andes mountains to the disputed Falkland Islands and Iguazu Falls.
We would be remiss not to mention Argentina is famous for its outstanding football team and players. Despite having a somewhat tumultuous history from slavery to military dictatorships, Argentina is reemerging today as a leading economic power.
The next time you travel to Argentina, be sure to enjoy its beautiful cities, have merienda with friends in the afternoon, and dance the Tango the night away.
Daniel James from Layer Culture is a cultural traveler from the United Kingdom. Daniel dedicates his time to learning Spanish whilst exploring and learning about life in Latin America.
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