Its population, as of 2004, is 37,925. It currently contains the world's largest horse statue; Cerro Artigas in commemoration of the 19th Century leader General Jose Artigas.
The city was founded in 1783 as Villa de la Concepcion de las Minas, when a number of families from the Asturias and Galicia regions of Spain settled in the area following a frustrated attempt to populate Patagonia. The idea of a city in the area was first raised by Jose Joaquin de Viana, the governor of Montevideo in 1753, who wanted to create a population centre in 'the zones of the mines'. He comissioned Rafael Perez Del Puerto to design the layout of the city, the basis of which remains in place today.
The city is situated between mountain ranges, and the basins of the San Francisco and Campanero streams. It is 121 kilometers northeast of Montevideo.