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La Manzana Jesuítica (The Jesuit Block)
La Manzana Jesuítica (The Jesuit Block) Review
La Manzana Jesuítica is the city block whose four main buildings—the Catedral de Córdoba (see review), the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, the Colegio Montserrat, and the Templo de la Compañía de Jesús—form the major sights of any visit here, even if you're not hugely into Córdoba's history. A decade after the foundation of Córdoba this city block was given to the Society of Jesus, testament to the order's political and social clout in the Americas at the time. From here the Jesuits held sway over the religious, educational, and cultural activities of the city and surrounding lands. Guided tours of the Manzana Jesuítica, including the university and Colegio Montserrat, leave from the Museo Histórico de la Universidad.
The Jesuit church, the Templo de la Compañía de Jesús, is along the block's northern flank, facing onto the diminutive Plazoleta Rafael García, and is arguably the most impressive building to visit in the Jesuit Block. It was begun between 1640 and 1650 (stones with different dates adorn the front, and historians are undecided) and consecrated in 1671, and is—regardless of the date controversy—Argentina's oldest church. Both the stone facade and the soaring nave are soberingly simple. Inside, a dome made of Paraguayan cedar resembles an inverted ship's keel: Felipe Lemaire, the Jesuit brother who oversaw the work, was a Belgian shipbuilder. Obispo Trejo at Av. Caseros, 5000. Daily 7-1 and 5-8.
From the Calle Caseros side of the church you can enter the Capilla Doméstica, a stunning chapel with a wood ceiling decorated with primitively painted rawhide. On the walls are copies of European paintings done in the 17th century by members of the Peruvian Cusqueña School. Caseros 121, 5000. 351/423-9196. Mon.-Fri. 8-noon and 5-9, Sat. 8-noon.
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