Unique Things to Do in Cordoba Argentina
Cordoba caught me by surprise. Frequently off the tourist track, Cordoba is one of Argentina's oldest cities. It's a university city with an eclectic mix of mostly Jesuit historic sites and modern enthusiasm. We discovered more than enough things to do in Cordoba Argentina and had to make some tough choices for our limited time.
The former colonial capital, Cordoba was founded by a Spanish conquistador who named it after Cordoba Spain. Today, the Argentinean city has a youthful atmosphere. The city is home to six universities including the National University of Cordoba (the oldest university in Argentina and the fourth oldest in the Americas) and not surprisingly, about 10% of the population are students. If you're wondering what to do in Cordoba Argentina, read on.
Cathedral of Cordoba (Our Lady of the Assumption)
The Cathedral of Cordoba is the seat of the region's Roman Catholic Archdiocese. Many claim it to be the oldest church in Argentina. In reality, it was the first church to begin construction (1582). However, the Society of Jesus church (see below) was actually the first to complete. We found the interior far more spectacular than the exterior. On a wall to the left stands a tiny statue of Saint Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero above a relic of his finger. The “Gaucho priest” is best known for his work with the poor and sick.
San Martin statue
In the centre of the square riding tall and proud upon his horse is a statue of San Martin. He was a general and liberator, the primary leader in the region's successful campaign for independence from the Spanish Empire.
A cabildo is a town hall. Cordoba's cabildo has been used as government offices, a jail, a police station, and it was a detention centre during the dirty war. It has been rebuilt and refurbished many times since its initial construction began in 1588. Today, it houses the City Historical Museum and a tourist information site.
Museum of Religious Art
Just across the street from the plaza stands the church of Santa Teresa. Alongside it is the Convent of San José. We took a tour of both, although it was in Spanish and at barely a conversational level, I understood little. The entrance to both is now the Museum of Religious Art. A small two-room museum, the artefacts are impressive. The 17th-century paintings are in need of restoration but kept as is for fear of further damage.
Things to do in Cordoba Argentina: Jesuit block
Cordoba is the Jesuit capital of Argentina. The Jesuits first arrived in 1585. They protected the indigenous population from the Portuguese slave trade. At the same time, they taught them both religion and the Spanish language. However, in 1767 the Jesuits were expelled from Spanish South America by the King of Spain. Today, Cordoba's Jesuit block (Manzana Jesuítica) is a World Heritage Site. It includes the Church of the Society of Jesus, the University of Cordoba, a secondary school, and several residences. A visit here is one of the top things to do in Cordoba.
La Mundial is the thinnest building in Latin America. Its history is a family feud story. Two brothers owned a plot of land divided equally, with one section closer to the street. In the 1920s the city widened the street, thus taking a substantial chunk of the front property. The brother who owned the property in the back refused to sell any portion of his land. As a result, the brother owning the front bit of land built up.