San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca is a city in northwestern Argentina and capital of Catamarca Province, on the Río Valle River, at the feet of the Cerro Ambato. The city of , located above the sea level, has 141,000 inhabitants with more than 200,000 counting the suburbia, what represents around 70% of the population of the province.
Many pilgrims come to San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca to visit the Church of the Virgin of the Valley (1694), which contains a statue of Nuestra Señora del Valle (Our Lady of the Valley).
Catamarca is also the touristic centre of the province, with its colonial architecture, and serves as a hub to many touristic points and excursions, hiking, mountain-bike tours, horse riding, and wine testing.
San Fernando del Valle is served by Coronel Felipe Varela International Airport) (CTC/SANC), with flights to IRJ, TUC and AEP.
An initial settlement, called Londres, was established here by Spanish colonists in 1558; a permanent settlement was not founded until 1683, by Fernando de Mendoza y Mate de Luna. Catamarca comes from Quechua meaning "fortress on the slope".
The city, which had only 8,000 inhabitants in 1882 and was reached by the rail in 1888, grew very slowly, and the region remained poor even in the middle of the 20th century, partially because of the nepotism of the ruling Saadi family, before they lost political power in the 1990s. In spite of this, the province remains still politically unstable, and a large part of its population lives in precarious conditions.