Salta (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsalta]) is a city located in the Lerma Valley, at 1,152 metres (3780 feet) above sea level in the northwest part of Argentina. It is also the name for the capital city of Salta Province. Along with its metropolitan area, it has a population of 619,000 inhabitants, which makes it the second most populated city in the northwest of the country.
Salta has a subtropical highland climate (Cwb, according to the Köppen climate classification), and it is characterized by pleasant weather year-round. Located in the subtropical north, but at an altitude of 1,200 metres, Salta enjoys 4 distinct seasons: summers are warm with frequent thunderstorms, with daytime highs around 26 to 28 °C (78.8 to 82.4 °F) and pleasant, refreshing nights around 15 or 16 °C (59 or 61 °F). Fall brings dry weather, pleasant days at around 22 °C (71.6 °F) and cool nights at around 10 °C (50.0 °F). By winter, the dryness is extreme, with very few rain episodes. Nights are cool at 3 °C (37.4 °F) on average, but daytime heating allows for high temperatures of 19 °C (66.2 °F). Snow is rare and frost is quite common, with temperatures reaching down to −7 °C (19.4 °F) during the coldest nights. Spring brings sunny weather with warm days and cool nights: days range from 25 to 28 °C (77.0 to 82.4 °F) with nights between 10 to 14 °C (50.0 to 57.2 °F). Salta's winters are rather warm for its elevation and far inland position for a location being just outside the tropics.
Of the over 700 millimetres (28 in) of rain that Salta receives yearly, over 80% falls between December and March, when thunderstorms occur almost daily. During the rest of the year, blue skies dominate the region. Seemingly incessant summer thunderstorms greatly rejuvenate the surrounding mountainous landscape, making the various hills and mountainsides within the vicinity of the city green and lush once again. Salta receives 1863 hours of bright sunshine each year or about 5.1 hours per day. The highest recorded temperature was 39.9 °C (103.8 °F) on November 28, 1972 while the lowest recorded temperature was −9.4 °C (15.1 °F) on August 5, 1966.
Salta residents, like most Argentines, are very enthusiastic about football. The most important local clubs are Juventud Antoniana, Gimnasia y Tiro de Salta, and Central Norte; many faithful fans follow each. Juventud Antoniana, Gimnasia y Tiro and Central Norte currently play in the third national division.
Other locally popular sports include baseball (a game in which Salta players excel nationally), basketball, volleyball, rugby, and mountaineering.
The main sporting venue in Salta is the Padre Ernesto Martearena Stadium; the Gimnasia y Tiro and Juventud Antoniana stadiums also see many athletic matches. The largest roofed facility in the city is the Ciudad de Salta Stadium, chiefly used for basketball, volleyball, and boxing.
Over the last twenty years, Salta has played host to such high-profile international sporting events as the 1990 Basketball World Cup, the 1994 Camel Trophy, the 2002 Volleyball World Cup, and the 2009 Hockey Champions Challenge. The Argentina national rugby union team, the "Pumas", have played in Salta against Italy (2005), England (2009), (2013). and South Africa (2016.) Top football clubs, including Boca Juniors, River Plate and Racing, have played friendly games in Salta in summer, off-season matches.
The city was used as a stage on the route of the 2014 and 2016 Dakar Rally.
The province is located in the tropical zone and has a warm climate in general, though it has marked variation in climate types owing to the variation in altitudes. The orientation of the Andes influences the distribution of precipitation within the province.
The easternmost parts of the province have a semi-arid climate with a dry winter season. The mean annual temperature and precipitation are 20 °C (68.0 °F) and 500 millimetres (19.7 in). Temperatures can reach up to 47 °C (116.6 °F) during summers, while they can fall down to −5 °C (23.0 °F) during winters.
The first slopes of the Andes force the moist, easterly winds to rise, provoking very high condensation leading to the formation of clouds that generate copious amounts of rain. The eastern slopes of the mountains receive between 1,000 to 1,500 mm (39 to 59 in) of precipitation a year, although some places receive up to 2,500 mm (98 in) of precipitation annually owing to orographic precipitation. Most of the precipitation is concentrated in the summer, with winters being dry. The high rainfall on these first slopes creates a thick jungle that extends in a narrow strip along these ranges, creating an area of great species diversity. At higher altitudes on these slopes, the climate is cooler and more humid, with the vegetation consisting of deciduous and pine trees.
Between the high altitudes to the west and the low plains to the east lie the valleys. The climate of these valleys is temperate, allowing for human settlement and agricultural activities. Mean annual precipitation is around 1,000 mm (39 in), most of it during summer. Mean temperatures exceed 20 °C (68.0 °F) during the summer, while during winter, they are below 14 °C (57.2 °F).
Further west, the Altiplano is a plateau at 3,000 m to 4,000 m above sea level. The climate is arid and cold: high temperatures vary little (since the warmer season is cloudy, and the coolest is sunny), ranging from 14 °C to 21 °C (57F to 70F); night temperatures go from 6 °C (43F) in midsummer, to -8 °C (18F) in midwinter, and extremes under -15 °C (5F) might be recorded. All rain falls exclusively in the summer, with values between 200 mm and 400 mm in total. Several salt flats exist in this area.
At the highest altitudes found in the western parts of the province, the climate is arid and cold, with large diurnal ranges (temperature range between day and night).
Foreign policy is officially handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship, which answers to the President.
An historical and current middle power, Argentina bases its foreign policies on the guiding principles of non-intervention, human rights, self-determination, international cooperation, disarmament and peaceful settlement of conflicts. The country is one of the G-15 and G-20 major economies of the world, and a founding member of the UN, WBG, WTO and OAS. In 2012 Argentina was elected again to a two-year non-permanent position on the United Nations Security Council and is participating in major peacekeeping operations in Haiti, Cyprus, Western Sahara and the Middle East.
A prominent Latin American and Southern Cone regional power, Argentina co-founded OEI, CELAC and UNASUR, of which the former President Néstor Kirchner was first Secretary General. It is also a founding member of the Mercosur block, having Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela as partners. Since 2002 the country has emphasized its key role in Latin American integration, and the block—which has some supranational legislative functions—is its first international priority.
Argentina claims 965,597 km2 (372,819 sq mi) in Antarctica, where it has the world's oldest continuous state presence, since 1904. This overlaps claims by Chile and the United Kingdom, though all such claims fall under the provisions of the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, of which Argentina is a founding signatory and permanent consulting member, with the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat being based in Buenos Aires.
The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Although it enforces neither an official nor a state faith, it gives Roman Catholicism a preferential status. [R]
According to a CONICET poll in 2008, at the time of polling Argentines were 76.5% Catholic, 11.3% Agnostics and Atheists, 9% Evangelical Protestants, 1.2% Jehovah's Witnesses, 0.9% Mormons; while 1.2% followed other religions, including Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. These figures appear to have changed quite significantly in recent years. Data recorded in 2017 indicated that Catholics made up 66% of the population, indicating a drop of 10.5% in nine years, and the non-religious in the country standing at 21% of the population, indicating an almost doubling over nine years.
The country is home to both the largest Muslim and largest Jewish communities in Latin America, the latter being the 7th most populous in the world. Argentina is a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
Argentines show high individualization and de-institutionalization of religious beliefs; 23.8% of them claim to always attend religious services; 49.1%, to seldom do and 26.8%, to never do.
On 13 March 2013, Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. He took the name "Francis", and he became the first Pope from either the Americas or from the Southern Hemisphere; he is the first Pope born outside of Europe since the election of Pope Gregory III (who was Syrian) in 741.