Ushuaia is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. It is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range, and on the south by the Beagle Channel.
It was founded October 12 of 1884 by Augusto Lasserre and is located on the shores of the Beagle Channel surrounded by the mountain range of the Martial Glacier, in the Bay of Ushuaia. Besides being an administrative center, it is a light industrial port and tourist hub. The word Ushuaia comes from the Yaghan language: ush and waia (“bay” or “cove”) and means “deep bay” or “bay to background”.
Ushuaia has long been described as the southernmost city in the world. While there are settlements farther south, the only one of any notable size is Puerto Williams, a Chilean settlement of some 2,000 residents. As a center of population, commerce, and culture, and as a town of significant size and importance, Ushuaia however clearly qualifies as a city. A 1998 article in the newspaper Clarín reported that the designation “Southernmost city in the world” had been transferred to Puerto Williams by a joint committee from Argentina and Chile, but this was denied by Argentine authorities, and the Secretariat of Tourism of Argentina continues to use the slogan in official documentation and web sites.
Tourist attractions include the Tierra del Fuego National Park and Lapataia Bay. The park can be reached by highway, or via the End of the World Train from Ushuaia. The city has a museum of Yámana, English, and Argentine settlement, including its years as a prison colony. Wildlife attractions include local birds, penguins, seals, and orcas, many of these species colonizing islands in the Beagle Channel.
Tierra del Fuego National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego) is a national park on the Argentine part of the island of Tierra del Fuego, within Tierra del Fuego Province in the ecoregion of Patagonic Forest and Altos Andes, a part of the subantarctic forest. Established on 15 October 1960 under the Law 15.554 and expanded in 1966, it was the first shoreline national park to be established in Argentina.
The park has dramatic scenery, with waterfalls, forests, mountains and glaciers. Its 630 km2 (240 sq mi) include parts of the Fagnano and Roca lakes. The Senda Costera (Coastal Path), connecting Ensenada Bay to Lapataia Bay on Lago Roca, is a popular hiking trail within the park. Forests of Antarctic beech, lenga beech and coihue in the lower elevations of the park are home to many animal species. There are 20 species of terrestrial mammals, including the guanaco, Andean fox, North American beaver, European rabbit and muskrat. Among the 90 species of birds are the kelp goose, torrent duck, austral parakeet, Andean condor, blackish oystercatcher, and Magellanic oystercatcher.
The southernmost national park in Argentina, it is listed as an IUCN category II park. The park stretches 60 km (37 mi) north from the Beagle Channel along the Chilean border. Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego Province, is 11 km (6.8 mi) from the park. The park can be reached by car or by train. The southern terminus of the Pan-American Highway is located within the park, as is the El Parque station of the End of the World Train.
There are daily bus and boat tours to Harberton, the Bridges family compound. Tours also visit the Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. Les Eclaireurs is sometimes confused with the “Lighthouse at the End of the World” made famous by Jules Verne in the novel of the same name; but the latter lies some 200 mi (320 km) east of Ushuaia on Isla de los Estados (Staten Island).
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