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Presenter : Judith Jones

Treasures of Latin America

The O Fournier Winery - Mendoza,Argentina by Marco Langebeeke, Flickr

The O Fournier Winery – Mendoza,Argentina by Marco Langebeeke, Flickr

Latin America, more than any other continent on the planet, is a fusion of fantastic and in many cases diverse cultures. The conquering empires of both Spain and Portugal made a huge impact on the native cultures of these lands but in the last one hundred years, the pre-Hispanic civilizations that existed here before European colonisation have re-asserted their cultural traditions.  The result is a unique mix of treasures: objects, sites, and works of art that reflect Europe’s golden age and the mysteries and beliefs of the ancient tribes that inhabited these lands.

Amongst the many things the Spanish brought with them to Latin America, one of the most important turned out to be the humble grape which when put in the rich fertile soils of Argentina, Chile and Brazil, produce some of the most rich and complex wine in the world.  Judith Jones visits Mendoza in Argentina and tours the wineries that have been established here. She stops at one of it’s most exciting – the futuristic O. Fournier winery. Modern, sleek and innovative, the O. Fournier winery was designed by celebrated Argentinian architect Eliana Bormida. O. Fournier’s design embraces many radical new techniques in wine production, in particular, the use of gravity to enhance flavor and texture and conserve energy.

Next on our tour of the region is one of the continent’s most captivating natural sites: Iguazu Falls. These magnificent falls border three Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, and to get to it from Paraguay you have to traverse it from the market town of Ciudad Del Este, one of the busiest border crossings and shopping destinations on the continent

On the other side of the Andes mountain range, which dissects Latin America, is the city of Cuzco, which was the capital city of one of the continent’s most impressive empires: The Incas.

Many pre-Columbian museums hold relics of this civilization including fantastic ornaments and objects made from gold. Brianna Barnes visits the museum in Cuzco and then the studio of a local artist inspired by Inca creations. In a local market, Brianna also tries on an assortment of hats. Peruvians are famous for their headwear. Every village and region can often be distinguished by their hats which often have a special style and meaning.

Finally we visit Mexico City and the studio of the country’s most famous artists, Diego Riviera and Frida Kahlo. Riviera and Kahlo were inspired by impressionist art movements of Europe and themes of social justice after the Mexican Revolution in 1910. But they also zealously promoted and embraced the country’s  rich pre Hispanic cultures. The result was a unique fusion of work that took the country and world by storm.


Places Mentioned - Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, The Galapagos Islands, Uruguay, Venezuela

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