Bariloche Through Time
Bariloche nowadays is a non stopping growing city. With more than 30kms wide (from East to West) and more than 5kms long (from North to South) in some areas, exceeding 130.000 inhabitants. However, it once used to be a small group of houses and farms...
Founded in 1902, “San Carlos de Bariloche” (Bariloche, for short) was named for its first general store owner in the area, Carlos Wiederhold, a German-Chilean pioneer, which name got confussed when writting it down on letters (sent to him), mixing San Carlos(Saint) insted of Don Carlos (Mr.) from Bariloche (de Bariloche), giving as a ruslt, the long name of San Carlos de Bariloche.
However, the Mapuches (aborigins from Chile) already called this area as “vuriloche”, which means “ people behind the mountains.” In the 1930’s, the city center was built around Wiederhold’s general store and the buildings were generaly made of wood.
"La Alemana" first general store, owned by Carlos Wiederhold.
Some old wooden houses still remain as architectural heritage of the city.
Bariloche's population settlement was primarily made up of German-speaking immigrants: Austrians, Germans, Swiss and Slovenians, as well as Italians from the city of Belluno, and Chileans, mainly from Pto. Montt.
Now a days, some of the most important educational institutions are the Swiss school, Primo Capraro (German school) and the Dante Alighieri (Italian school). You may also notice other marks of this european immigration throughout the city as many chocolate stores and craft Beer brands, restaurant's menus (dishes such as Struddle, Goulash with Spatzels, deer, Fondue among others), and the architectural style. Also, some of the most famouse hotels and restaurants have German names.
However, it was after the creation of the first National Park in Argentina, "Nahuel Huapi National Park", that the city went trough a dramatical change of live style and started focusing on the high level tourism that satrted visiting this main atraction.
Buildings also started to be constructed with different materials, using rocks and wood, resembling a European alpine town style. Therefore, Bariloche started to be known as the Argentine Swiss.
Bariloche's Civic Center under construction in 1938. Use of rocks and some wood.
Bariloche's Cathedral during its construction in 1945
One of the first pictures of the Cathedral as Bariloche's main postals.
Throughout the early 1900’s Bariloche was dependent on Chilean commerce until the railroad connected the city to Argentina’s commercial centers in the 1940’s. Since the late 1950’s Bariloche has quickly grown in popularity as both a summer and winter retreat for locals and foreigners alike. Today, it remains one of Argentina’s top travel destinations, as it offers some of the best outdoor experiences and is proudly to have the biggest skiing resort in South America.
Old picture of Bariloche's train station. Main connexion with Buenos Aires in the past.
(Pictures obtained from Archivo Visual Patagonico)