The Jesuit Estancia in Alta Gracia

The former estancia main house now lodges the museum that unveils what life was like inside the adobe walls of colonial times.

The City of Alta Gracia was built around its famous Jesuit estancia, which lies opposite the main square. Its temple became the parish called Our Lady of Mercy and it is part of the present religious life of the area.

As we visited it, we became aware of how many years have passed ever since the 1700s, when the history of this place as we know it began. Next to the well in the center of its yard, we observed the old walls of the imposing gallery of the residence and we thought: 'how generous builders were in those days'.

We went up the old steps that lead to the main part of the house. We toured around all the rooms and got a general idea of the way the inhabitants of this residence used to live, as the furniture and personal belongings of the families that lived there are on display. Several dining-room and bedroom sets, even the communal lavatories stand out.

  • In the urban center of Alta Gracia

    In the urban center of Alta Gracia

  • Purely productive estancias

    Purely productive estancias

  • The old steps that lead to the main part of the house

    The old steps that lead to the main part of the house

  • Yesterday and today are connected

    Yesterday and today are connected

  • The well in the center of its yard

    The well in the center of its yard

  • The blacksmith's

    The blacksmith's

  • Jesuit Ranch Museum

    Jesuit Ranch Museum

The guide said: ´The Company of Jesus, a religious order founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, had these purely productive estancias built. The agricultural and cattle products would be traded and used to supply religious and educational Jesuit institutions such as Colegio Máximo de Córdoba'.

After passing from hand to hand, in 1810, it became the residence of Viceroy Santiago de Liniers for a short time and that is why this venue is also known as Casa del Virrey (House of the Viceroy).

The long process since the arrival of the Jesuits to the moment it was declared World Historical Heritage in 2000 becomes explicit throughout the visit to the various quarters in the museum.

The Jesuits used to command tasks to be performed by native Americans who were paid and black slaves in a very organized way. Everything was carried out in the venue: bars, lamps, tackle, tools. Some scale models clearly show the distribution of the areas and made the visit more interesting.

All throughout the rooms, we saw the blacksmith's, the brick oven, the dam or tajamar to contain the creek course, the flour mills and the mechanisms used for each area of production.

In the same venue, we visited the temple, featuring a colonial Baroque style, with only one nave of blind walls and a pulpit with Rococo woodwork and gold leafing. The major altarpiece is a work of art that ends in the superior cornice with two carved angels.

Religious orders used art as an axis of religious life. Therefore, they mingled the European and native American models and created crucibles, saints and images of the Virgin combining these styles.

We left behind the long L-shaped gallery with old lamps and pointed windows to move to the backyard. This place has a direct access to the dam known as Tajamar and the present Public Clock.

Tajamar is the oldest dam in
the Province of Córdoba. The water used to come from the mountains through irrigation ditches and it was stored in its wall. It powered flour mills and supplied water to the nearby estates.

We had one last look at this building raised in 1643, whose last owner, Manuel Solares, donated it to 'decent poor people'. Thus, a village emerged and today is known as the City of Alta Gracia.

We bade farewell to the Jesuit estancia located in the urban center of Alta Gracia, where yesterday and today are connected through a building featuring several hundred years.

Autor Mónica Pons Fotografo Eduardo Epifanio

Contact of the excursion or tour

Museo de la Estancia Jesuítica de Alta Gracia

Padre Domingo Viera esquina Solares, Alta Gracia, Córdoba, Agentina

Phone Phone: +54 3547-421303

Opening hoursOpening hours: Ask by phone as they vary according to season and public holidays. There are guided tours, lectures and workshops.
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