Tribe of Ombúes

Mount Matanza and the Ombú woodland are a rare natural phenomenon. In normal conditions, the ombú is a solitary herb that grows in the Argentinian pampas.

Mount Matanza owes its name to a fierce battle between the Spaniards and the American Indians as one of the last Spaniard battles to exterminate the native inhabitants. Its summit covered with crosses is the evidence of what happened there once. For decades, the Spaniards continued the killing, until "victory" was achieved. This is what the city was named after, and though unofficially, everybody knew about it.

In 1829, without any explanation, the governor of the Province imposed the name Our Lady of Arántzazu of Victory on the village as a way of legitimizing an already known name. The real "victory" does not refer to the virgin but to the Spanish actions against the Indians. Nonetheless, this name became popular among its dwellers.

It is said that their relatives planted an ombú for every Indian that got killed during those fights. This explains the ombú woodland. Whether a legend or a fact, the rare ombú area is worth visiting while in Victoria.

A Peculiarity

The Ombú woodland lies at the foot of Mount Matanza and near the Infant Jesus Abbey. This amazing natural attraction and protected area is a must visit for tourists.

The ombú (name of Guaraní origin) is not actually a tree, but a giant herb that grows in isolation. This tourist attraction in Victoria originated one hundred years ago is an exception to the rule, while in the rest of the Argentinian pampas, Uruguay, Paraguay, and in the southern Brazilian hillsides, the ombú grows according to its solitary nature.

The Ombu, Beauty and Tradition

Rural tradition portrays ombúes as evil, devil-like and even easily struck by lightning. Due to this last characteristic, farmers usually take them away from their lands. Well known for its big surfacing roots, the ombú trunk is made of alternate hard and soft layers and is able to hold large amounts of water.

The ombú lives for a long time, as can be seen in its hollowing trunk and its strength. The phytolaca dioca, its scientific name, holds onto the ground by its long roots, which are specially interesting for their human and animal-like shape, special to take pictures. Its fruits are like little flat green tomatoes that turn yellow when they ripen.

Today, the Ombú woodland is a place not to be missed, not only for its vegetation, but also for its importance as part of an urban and rural legend still alive in its dwellers.

Autor Pablo Etchevers

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