Cordoba is the colonial capital city of Argentina on the edge of the Sierra Chica mountain range with approximately one million inhabitants. It has the oldest and one of the most prestigious universities of the country, founded by the Jesuits in 1622, and the center of the city is rich in Spanish colonial architecture from the 16th century. Prior to the rise of Buenos Aires, Cordoba was Argentina's center of arts and learning, a place of scholars and priests, churches and universities. Though in terms of national importance the city has fallen behind the capital, it still retains an independent spirit and distinctive grace. Its name comes from the surrounding province, which embraces an unusually scenic section of the Andes, the Sierras de Cordoba.
Located in the geographical centre of Argentina, the areas surrounding Cordoba offer opportunities for traditional and adventure tourism as the hills and valleys are filled with springs, crystal clear rivers, artificial lakes, the huge salted lake of Mar Chiquita (heaven of ornithologists), and rupestrian (cave) paintings in Cerro Colorado. The Punilla Valley and Cuchi Corral have exceptional natural atmosphere for aerial activities, such as parachuting and ballooning, and on San Roque Lake windsurfing, yachting and all types of nautical sports draw people from all over. The Calamuchita Valley has lakes and clear rivers surrounded by mountains, an ideal area for swimming, mountain climbing and trekking, cycling, horse riding, fishing and other types of adventure tourism. In Traslasierra Valley, across the Sierras Grandes, there is Pampa de Achala. On the peak resides the Quebrada de los Condoritos National Park, one of the only places in the world where you may see the highly endangered condor, largest bird on earth, in its natural habitat.