Salta Travel Blog› entry 29 of 96 › view all entries
Salta is a provincial capital tucked up in the top left corner of Argentina. On the map it looks close to the borders with Chile and Bolivia, but this is deceptive, it´s still a few hundred kms to either. We are though at 1200m and in the foothills of the Andes.
The MAAM museum (museum of high mountain archeology) in Salta is a must visit for us because it exhibits the mummies of children sacrified and buried by the Incas. The mummies were only discivered in 1999 at 6000m near the summit of a volcano on the Chilean border. There are 3 mummies, one of a young boy the other 2 of older, but still young, girls.
Though it sounds morbid it is actually fascinating. I´m not sure whether it is just the high altitude that has helped preserve the remains, but the body of The Boy is in such perfect condition he almost could be asleep. As was normal for Inca burials, the body is clothed and in a sitting position with the head bowed. It leaves quite an impression, but I´m not quite so keen on the Inca civilisation now that I know they sacrified children. The museum has also caused a fair amount of controversy and most other local museums in the region now do not display human remains.
Apart from the museum, Salta is one of the most appealing cities we have visited so far. The central area with the sights is pretty compact so is easy to explore on foot. The San Fransisco church is one of the most distinctive buildings in the whole of Argentina (but hard to photgraph) and the main square which is traffic free and has some of the best preserved colonial buildings we have seen. Near where we ae staying there is a park where children have their photo taken riding either a miniture horses or a llama.
On the edge of the centre behind the statue of Martin Guemes the Gaucho General there is a stairway of 1070 (or so) steps to the top of the San Bernardo hill from where there is a good view over the town. There is a cable car to the top but that would be too easy and I need to exercise after too many long bus journeys!