Cosquín is a pueblo, or city, located in the province of Córdoba in the northern part of Argentina. It was officially founded in 1876, making it the oldest pueblo in the Punilla Valley, which has since grown to be a place of tourism. The Punilla Valley, or Valle de Punilla, is a wide river valley that in which is located the beautiful Lake San Roque, the San Antonio River, and the Cosquín River.
The history of this city is marked by a number of interesting economic situations. In the 1900, for example, a medic from the Argentine capital city of Buenos Aires discovered that the microclimate of Cosquín was ideal for those suffering from pulmonary ailments. Once the word spread about the beneficial climate, the city and surrounding areas experienced a major influx of pulmonary illness patients from all over Latin America. Large recovery facilities were established to accommodate the ill, which not only brought money and population, but employment opportunities as well.
Later on, with the development and distribution of antibiotics and anti-tuberculosis medicines, the value of a lung-friendly climate began to fade. As the number of pulmonary patients choosing to take up treatment in Cosquín decreased, so did the cities number one source of capital. In the years following, the economy suffered, but eventually regained its strength through the exploitation of tourism.
Tourism has continued to be the base of the economy, and when one visits the city and surrounding area, it is easy to see why. The banks of the Cosquín River offer tranquil beaches that are popular among tourists. One can take in the beauty of ancient ferns and crystal springs in the woods of Quebrada de Los Leones, or climb the slopes of the Cerro Pan de Azúcar, or Sugar Bread Hill. Just outside of the city, an ecological reserve known as Mallín y la Cueva de los Pajaritos offers birdwatching, and is home to the famous chirrio bird.
The city also offers a number of metropolitan attractions. In addition to the picturesque plazas scattered throughout the city, visitors can spend time in the Camin Cosquín Museum. If one fancies a historic treasure hunt, one can travel to the monument dedicated to Carlos Gardel, which relates the history of Argentine Tango, and is located at Cerro Pan de Azúcar. Another hidden historical treasure is the Piedra Pintada de San Buena. Located near the Yuspe River, just west of Cosquín, the site features autobiographical stone engravings made by the Comechingones tribe of natives.
Cosquín hosts a number of festivals and artesanal fairs throughout the year. Perhaps the most famous of these is the National Folklore Festival held annually in the city during the second half of January. This festival, also called the Cosquín Festival, is considered the most important Folklore festival in Argentina. It was first held in 1961, and has since gained worldwide attention. Activities include the performance of folk music, folkloric dances and recitations, and all-night dancing and singing along the Cosquín River. Public performance is a quintessential aspect of the Folkloric tradition in Argentina, and festival attendees can both observe and participate in the many aspects of folkloric art.
The National Folklore Festival also encompasses a number of smaller events, which take place during the nine nights of celebration. The Congress of the Argentine and his Culture offers courses in artesanal art forms, and native language lessons in quechua and gruaraní. Highlights in traditional folkloric art can be seen at the National Fair of Artesans and Popular Art. Many of Argentina’s most famous and influential performers of música folclórica, or folk music, found their success through performing at the National Folklore Festival in Cosquín. These include Mercedes Sosa, Antonio Tormo, and Gustavo Cuchi Leguisamón, to name only a few.