|• Mayor||Mariano Gaido (MPN)|
|• City||128 km2 (49 sq mi)|
|Elevation||270 m (890 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC−3 (ART)|
|Dialing code||+54 299|
Neuquén (Spanish pronunciation: [newˈken]; Mapudungun: Nehuenken) is the capital city of the Argentine province of Neuquén and of the Confluencia Department, located in the east of the province. It occupies a strip of land west of the confluence of the Limay and Neuquén rivers which form the Río Negro making it part of the ecoregion of Alto Valle del Río Negro. The city and surrounding area have a population of more than 340,000, making it the largest city in Patagonia. Along with the cities of Plottier and Cipolletti, it is part of the Neuquén – Plottier – Cipolletti conurbation.
Founded in 1904, it is the newest provincial capital city in Argentina.
Neuquén is both an important agricultural center, surrounded by fertile lands irrigated by the waters of the Limay and Neuquén rivers in an otherwise arid province, and a petrochemical industrial center that receives oil extracted from different points of the province. It belongs economically and geographically to the Alto Valle region that produces apples, pears, and other fruits.
With the discovery of the Vaca Muerta oil fields west of the city (3rd largest shale gas & oil reserves in the world), it has begun to experience a boom in real estate and construction. It is expected that over the next few years the city will experience unprecedented growth as it is the only significant city in the region (it has an airport, shopping centers, office space and institutions to become the center of the operations not only of the oil & gas companies, but also their suppliers)
National Route 22 divides the city into two-halves.
The Presidente Perón Airport is eight kilometers (5.0 miles) away from the city and serves regular flights to Buenos Aires, San Carlos de Bariloche, Comodoro Rivadavia, Río Gallegos, Río Grande, Ushuaia, and San Martín de los Andes.
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The first inhabitants of the area were very mobile and moved according to the seasons of the year, climatic conditions, and the abundance of food and game. Around the 16th century the people living in different areas of the province began to be assimilated by the Mapuche people. One of the most important trails used by the Mapuches passed through the area of the confluence of the Limay and Neuquén rivers.
In the 17th century European explorers arrived in the area of the confluence.
In 1604, Hernando Arias de Saavedra decided to explore the trails to Patagonia. With the support of the ranchers of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, and Corrientes, he departed from Buenos Aires and passed through the mountains of the Sierra de la Ventana. He reached what is now the city of Neuquén and continued on, possibly passing through what is today Auca Mahuida.
In 1782, departing from Carmen de Patagones, Basilio Villarino traveled upstream on the Río Negro. On 23 January 1783, he arrived at the confluence of the Limay and Neuquén Rivers, camping on an island. He then followed the Limay to the confluence of the Collón Curá, then from there to the Chimehuin River.
Neuquén as part of Argentina
In 1885, the lands of what was at that time called Confluencia (i.e., "confluence," referring to the two rivers) were auctioned to a few people. Shortly after the Conquest of the Desert campaign conducted by the military over Patagonia, the Tehuelche and Pehuenche tribes that inhabited the province of Neuquén were either killed or pushed out of these lands.
Since there was no defined border with Chile, the Argentine government reached an agreement with the British-owned Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway company that was constructing a railway network, mainly in Buenos Aires Province, to build an extension to the town in exchange for lands, in order to populate it. In 1899, the railroad reached Cipolletti in Río Negro province, and three years later, after the construction of the bridge, arrived at Neuquén.
Neuquén was officially founded on 12 September 1904, and the capital of the territory was transferred from Chos Malal to the young town. The name "Neuquén" derives from the Mapudungun word nehuenken, meaning drafty, which the native people used in reference to this river.
By 1930, the town had only 5,000 inhabitants. In the 1960s, it acquired a new importance when oil deposits were found in the province by the state company YPF. The 1970s and 1980s saw massive demographic growth, accompanied by improvements such as the creation of the National University of Comahue in 1971.
Neuquén has an arid climate (Köppen BWk). Precipitation is low, averaging 200 millimetres (8 in) per year, which is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The mean annual temperature is between 14 and 15 °C (57 and 59 °F). During December and January, the mean temperature in these months is about 23 °C (73 °F) while in July, it reaches below 6 °C (43 °F). Being located far away from any major bodies of water, the thermal amplitude is high along with a large diurnal range, which indicates continental characteristics of the climate of the city.
Winds are moderately strong throughout the year, which favors evapotranspiration. Most of the wind comes from the west and the southwest, both of which occur 40–50% of the time. Summers tend to be windier than winters with average wind speeds ranging from a low of 8 km/h (5.0 mph) in July to a high of 16 km/h (9.9 mph) in December. Mean daily sunshine hours range from a high of 11 hours/day in January to a low of 3 hours/day in June.
The highest temperature recorded was 42.3 °C (108.1 °F) on 21 January 1980 while the lowest temperature recorded was −12.8 °C (9.0 °F) on 13 June 1961.
|Climate data for Neuquén, Argentina (1981–2010, extremes 1900–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||42.3
|Average high °C (°F)||31.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||23.7
|Average low °C (°F)||15.5
|Record low °C (°F)||2.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||12.9
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||2.7||2.6||3.5||4.9||5.5||7.1||4.9||3.9||4.6||4.1||2.9||3.0||49.7|
|Average relative humidity (%)||36.7||44.0||53.4||62.2||67.7||71.7||68.5||58.7||51.1||44.3||38.3||36.1||52.7|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||313.1||293.8||254.2||216.0||148.8||120.0||133.3||182.9||192.0||260.4||282.0||279.0||2,675.5|
|Percent possible sunshine||69.3||76.3||66.7||65.0||48.3||42.0||44.3||55.3||54.0||63.3||66.0||60.0||59.2|
|Source 1: Servicio Meteorológico Nacional|
|Source 2: Secretaria de Mineria (sun 1961–1990), Meteo climat (record highs and lows 1900–present) Oficina de Riesgo Agropecuario (May, August, September and December record high which are from the period 1970–present)|
Museums and historical landmarks
There are cultural spaces housed in former railroad buildings from the early 20th century, such as the Gregorio Álvarez and the Paraje Confluencia museums and the Emilio Saraco Art Gallery. The more recently-built Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, designed by Mario Roberto Alvarez, opened in 2004. The museum showcases both national and international artists. The building consists of four halls which include both the temporary and the permanent collection, as well as an auditorium and theater.
A variety of historical monuments dating from the 20th century, such as the Fotheringham Crossing Pyramid in the Sapere neighborhood, can be found throughout the city.
Neuquén hosted the 2001 FIBA Americas Championship, where the city's basketball fans supported Argentina's national basketball team to win the gold medal. All games were played in the 8,000 seat Estadio Ruca Che. At the 1995 FIBA Americas Championship, Neuquén acted as co-host.
- "Ciudades y capitales – año y fundador". El Historiador. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- Historia del Neuquén, Pangera Editora, 2001, page 27.
- Neuquén: Historia y leyendas, InterPatagonia.
- Naves y navegantes por Choele Choel, Rio Negro Online, H. Pérez Morando.
- Peel, M. C. and Finlayson, B. L. and McMahon, T. A. (2007). "Updated world map of the Köppen–Geiger climate classification" (PDF). Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 11 (5): 1633–1644. doi:10.5194/hess-11-1633-2007. ISSN 1027-5606.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- "Provincia de Neuquén–Clima Y Metéorologia" (in Spanish). Secretaria de Mineria de la Nacion (Argentina). Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
- "STATION Neuquén" (in French). Météoclimat. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
- "Estadísticas Climatológicas Normales - período 1981-2010" (in Spanish). Servicio Meteorológico Nacional. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
- "Provincia de Neuquen – Clima Y Meteorologia: Datos Meteorologicos Y Pluviometicos" (in Spanish). Secretaria de Mineria de la Nacion (Argentina). Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Neuquén, Neuquén". Estadísticas meteorológicas decadiales (in Spanish). Oficina de Riesgo Agropecuario. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
- 2001 Championship of the Americas for Men, Archive.FIBA.com, Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- "City Directory". Sister Cities International. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
- Ilustre Municipalidad de Valdivia, ed. (18 November 2003). "Esta noche se firmará acuerdo entre Neuquén y Valdivia". Archived from the original on 19 March 2004. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
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