November 25, 2013

0877 ARGENTINA (Mendoza) - Puente del Inca

Puente del Inca (The Inca's Bridge) isn't a construction of the Incas, but a natural arch that forms a bridge over the Vacas River, a tributary of the Mendoza River. Puente del Inca is also the name of the nearby hot springs. Scientists speculate that interaction between ice and hot springs was involved in the origin of the formation. They suppose that in ancient times ice covered the river and acted as support for avalanches of snow, dust and rocks. So the dust over the ice over the river would have served as a path for the sulfurous water and petrified the surface, so when the snow melted, the bridge (48m long, 28m wide and 8m high) remained by itself.

In March 1835, Charles Darwin visited this site, and made some drawings of the bridge with great stalactites. In the early 20th century there was a large spa that used the hot springs to cure stress, nervous disorders and rheumatism. In the 1920′s a luxury spa hotel was built there and the most prominent personalities of that time went because of the healing properties of the water. The building was destroyed by a landslide in 1965, and today only the ruins of the chapel can be seen below the bridge and to its right.

There was a railway station, which is still standing (in background), and tourists arrived by train to the resort. This was one of the last Argentine stations of the Transandine Railway before the train continued into Chile, traveling through a long tunnel under the Andes. The abandoned railway station has been turned into a mountaineering museum (Museo del Andinista).

About the stamps
The first two stamps are from Archaeological Artifacts definitives issued in 2000, about which I wrote here. The following is part of the serie 50th Anniversary of Argentine Federation of Philatelic Entities - Insects, about which I wrote here. The last one is part of the series Historic town hall of the city of Buenos Aires, issued probably in 1979.

Puente del Inca - Wikipedia
Puente del Inca (Inca bridge) - Argentina Patagonia

sender: Rubén Silva (direct swap)
sent from Laprida (Buenos Aires / Argentina), on 04.10.2013

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