Tours and Activities:
A Center with its Very Own HistoryMónica PonsEduardo Epifanio
The city has succeeded in combining its colonial features and its thriving urban lifestyle and proudly displays them to its visitors.
Learning about the foundation of the City of Córdoba involves a series of very interesting facts and circumstances that add luster to this beautiful metropolis. We went on a guided tour starting at San Martín Square where the Spanish Conquistador Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera founded the city on July 6th, 1573 as Laura, our guide, explained. He laid out the first 70 blocks on high ground away from the river in the typical Spanish grid style, including a fort as protection.
The native inhabitants, called ‘Comechingones’, grew crops and bred cattle besides being skillful weavers and potters.
The City Hall and the church were the first buildings erected opposite the square, which was a public meeting place. A bronze equestrian statue of General San Martín on a granite base decorated with republican symbols now stands in the square.
The first City Hall was smaller. It was not until the end of the eighteenth century that it acquired its present size. The arcade was later added to the classical architecture of the building. It has been the government house, municipality and police headquarters and its façade, cells, upper galleries and City Museum can be visited.
The walls and floors of the catacombs and corridors leading to the central court still have their original materials such as adobe bricks and carob rafters. The Red Hall or Chapter House, where official ceremonies take place, is on the second floor as is the cultural museum.
We eagerly made our way to the cathedral on foot. Completed in 1578, it has undergone several changes during its 200 years. It has become more European, leaving its colonial features aside.
Its dome, for example, boasts paintings by Emilio Caraffa; the pulpit is gilt-leaf rococo and the stained glass windows are European. Only its massive main doors belonged to the Company of Jesus.
As part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the May Revolution, historic buildings were ‘done up’ with white mosaics which reflected their own shadow on the street; they were later restored and painted for the bicentennial.
We walked out a side door into Santa Catalina, a narrow street leading to the 1603 first cloister of the closed order of Dominican nuns whose church we visited.
After that, we crossed over to the Jesuit Block, and had a look at the façade of Monserrat School as visitors are not allowed. It was the site of the first residence hall for students from other locations. In its convent like lifestyle, students were called ‘reyunos’ from the Spanish word ‘rey’ (king) as the King of Spain was the head of the institution. It was known as Colegio Máximo and Universidad de Córdoba.
At present the school is mixed-sex and the standard of education is as high as it was its first years. It was surprising to learn that such renowned men as Juan José Paso, Nicolás Avellaneda, Derqui, Dorrego, Juarez Celman and Lugones had sat at the wooden desks used today.
The whole building is Mudejar style, Spanish and Arabic art, especially the window bars, the ornaments, the entrance and the clock tower. It is also the site of the San Alberto Museum of Religious Art.
We went back to the Company of Jesus Church on the same Jesuit Block to better appreciate the details of its structure, its ornaments and different stages of religious life.
We thanked Laura for guiding us through the historic center of Córdoba and promised to heartily recommend the tour.
Servicio de Guías de Turismo de Córdoba A.C.
Dean Funes 25 en el Cabildo Históricos - Córdoba
Phone: 54 351 155931700