The engravings on the door of the priest in charge of this estancia
reads: "1683". That is the year when Estancia de la Candelaria
was finally consolidated in Jesuit hands.
It came to be the best sample of a livestock venue in the mountain range -mainly raising mules- dealing assents from and to Upper Peru. The strong will of the missionaries had to face the harsh geographical features and weather as well as the Indian raids in the rural spots located 220 kilometers to the northwest of the City of Córdoba
This environment marked the architectural differences with other Jesuit estancias
, as its unusual situation of fort and residence with a sanctuary is unique in the province
. Its surrounding walls and only access gate give evidence of the resistance of the natives against colonization in a moor where rocks prevail.
The church, with its rocky walls and austere lines, stands out for its Baroque bell gable, which houses three bells. It remains almost untouched. It has been completely painted white with lime, except for the altar, where pastel shades and simple ornaments are predominant. There are also some images and a wood carved image of the Virgin of Candelaria. A small chamber with a hole next to the entrance was used to watch for Indian raids, even during mass. Submerged in Silence
Once the Jesuits were expelled, the Junta de Temporalidades ordered its division for subsequent sales. Just like the others, the shell of Estancia de La Candelaria was declared National Historical Monument in 1941 and it was not acquired by the government of the Province of Córdoba until 1982.
The restoration works have made it possible to visit some of the rooms where the ceilings were rebuilt, such as that occupied by the priest in charge and his assistant. The main yard is in ruins and the slaves barracks, made of piled up stones and covered by a straw roof, still resist the advance of the weeds. Other facilities in the venue include the pens, the rest of the pond, the mills and the irrigation ditches.
Estancia de La Candelaria preserves the traits of its early days, of the evangelizing project of its mentors in the desolated lands located on those high pampas immersed in the mountain range. All this is submerged in deep and captivating solitude.
How to get here: Approximately 130 kilometers separate this destination from the City of Córdoba through the road leading to Tanti. However, half this distance is to be traveled through a gravel road which is usually in bad condition due to the rain, especially in the summer. Besides, the road is full of slopes. In consequence, the journey through this route takes around three hours by car. Other routes start at the Valley of Punilla, from Molinari and La Falda, going through Characato. Travelers who choose to travel through Traslasierra, must take the road to Cruz de Caña at the District of La Higuera. San Guillermo River is crossed and then they must continue up to La Candelaria. There is another road called Camino del Medio, which joins Villa de Soto and the estancia. Note: several gates must be crossed.