The city of Cordoba lies right in the heart of Argentina, and has long been a cultural and intellectual hub of the country. Throughout the 1500s it was a centre for the Jesuits in Argentina, adding to Cordoba’s charm today, making it a fascinating place to visit, mixing old and new.
Jesuits are known for their missionary efforts, their work in education, founding schools and universities. This was exactly what the Jesuits did in Argentina, amongst other things, establishing Argentina’s first university. The remains of Cordoba’s Jesuit era can still be seen today, by visiting the Jesuit Block in Cordoba and beautiful Jesuit Estancias, which in 2000 were declared a UNESCO World heritage site.
MANZANA JESUITICA (Jesuit Block)
The Jesuits block is in the very centre of the beautiful city of Cordoba and was constructed as a centre for prayer and learning in the city. The Manzana Jesuítica contains the University of Córdoba Argentina’s first Universityand one of the oldest in the whole of South America.
Within the Jesuit Block and one of the highlights of Cordoba is the stunning church, Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus and the beautiful Capilla Domestica (domestic chapel) whose roof is made out of stretched cowhide and ornately decorated using pigmentation made, in part, from bones.
Another highlight of course is the university itself, the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, whose library is a must see and is the oldest in Argentina, housing some of the original books brought over by the Jesuit Missionaries.
If you’re travelling to Cordoba we recommend you book a tour, which will provide you with insight into the fascinating history of the Jesuits and take you to places within the Jesuit Block, you might never come across yourself.
To maintain the university and help fund its construction, the Jesuits set up five Estancias (traditional Argentine Ranches) around the province of Córdoba in close vicinity to the city. The estanciasconcentrated on agriculture, textile production, and mule breeding, not forgetting their spiritual functions of course and brought a lot of money to the region.
These estancias are beautiful, and set amidst some of the most breath taking landscapes of Cordoba, a visit to an estancia should not go a miss if you’re traveling to Cordoba.
There are fascinating Jesuit history tours which take you along the so-called Jesuit road, making for a fascinating day out, visiting a selection of Jesuit Estancias.
One of the biggest Estancias is Alta Gracia, which has grown into a little town, with many beautiful attractions for tourists. We recommend you take a day trip out to the beautiful lakeside estancia, visit its church and national museum, which holds exhibitions on the fascinating Jesuit history throughout Argentina. For history lovers, there’s an added bonus in Alta Gracia, as Che Guevara Argentina’s National hero lived in Alta Gracia for many years and as well as being able to visit the house he lived in, there is a museum that pays tribute to his life.
If you are traveling to Cordoba, have a look at our website, Argentina4u, for tours and activitieswithin the Province of Cordoba – discover Cordoba’s rich history and its unbeatable landscapes!