|• Mayor||Horacio "Pechi" Quiroga (New Neuquino Commitment)|
|• Total||63 km2 (24 sq mi)|
|Elevation||260 m (850 ft)|
|• Density||3,600/km2 (9,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||ART (UTC−3)|
|Dialing code||+54 299|
Neuquén (Spanish pronunciation: [neuˈken]) is the capital city of the Argentine province of Neuquén, located in the east of the province, at the confluence of the Limay and Neuquén rivers. The city and the surrounding area have a population of more than 340,000, making it the largest city in Patagonia.
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 nomadic 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 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 September 12, 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 to 15 °C (57 to 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 January 21, 1980 while the lowest temperature recorded was −12.8 °C (9.0 °F) on June 13, 1961.
|Climate data for Neuquén, Argentina (1961–1990, extremes 1900–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||42.3
|Average high °C (°F)||31.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||23.3
|Average low °C (°F)||14.8
|Record low °C (°F)||2.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||15.9
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||3||3||4||4||5||5||6||4||4||5||3||4||50|
|Average relative humidity (%)||37.3||43.0||52.7||61.0||66.3||69.3||69.3||58.7||49.7||45.0||38.3||36.7||52.3|
|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: Secretaria de Mineria, 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)|
|Source #2: Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (precipitation days)|
The 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.
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.
- Historia del Neuquén, Pangera Editora, 2001, page 27.
- 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: 1633–1644. ISSN 1027-5606. doi:10.5194/hess-11-1633-2007.
- "Provincia de Neuquén–Clima Y Metéorologia" (in Spanish). Secretaria de Mineria de la Nacion (Argentina). Retrieved October 6, 2015.
- "STATION Neuquén" (in French). Météoclimat. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
- "Provincia de Neuquen - Clima Y Meteorologia: Datos Meteorologicos Y Pluviometicos" (in Spanish). Secretaria de Mineria de la Nacion (Argentina). Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
- "Neuquén, Neuquén". Estadísticas meteorológicas decadiales (in Spanish). Oficina de Riesgo Agropecuario. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
- "Valores Medios de Temperature y Precipitación-Neuquén: Neuquén" (in Spanish). Servicio Meteorológico Nacional. Retrieved March 31, 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". Retrieved 22 July 2009.
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