Encrusted in the flanks of the Sierras Chicas, La Falda has become, with the passing of the years, the axis of the tourist corridor in the centre - north area of the Punilla Valley.
Characterised by an irregular urban arrangement of its residential neighbourhood, in which no detail has been overlooked, the beautiful natural scenery and its important lodging and gastronomical infrastructure give as a result that this City is constantly encouraging the traveller to take unending strolls.
La Falda is located at 67 kilometres from the City of Córdoba, over the Route 38 at the feet of the El Cuadrado (1.250 m.a.s.l.) and La Banderita (1.354 m.a.s.l.) Mountains, situated inside the Punilla Valley and at an altitude of 934 metres above sea level.
The feast of the city is on September 30 in honor of San Jeronimo. (the founder of the city was Jeronimo Luis de Cabrera, perhaps that explains the choice of patron saint)
San Jeronimo was a young Arab who embraced Christianity. He was later captured by the Arabs and taken to Algiers. They tried to get him to renounce Christianity, but Jeronimo would not and was condemned to death.
** photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
The Main Jesuit chapel, you can't help notice this because it looks more like the entrance to a fortress than to a church. Plain, stone, it almost looks forbidding. Consecrated in 1671, this is the oldest church in Argentina.
the neat thing about this church was the roof, it looks like the bow of a ship, with some exquisite woodwork.
This church was dedicated to St Catherine of Siena, who is one of the patron saints of Italy. The church itself was finished in 1641 during the age when the Jesuits were establishing Cordoba as the main cultural, religious,educational center of the country.
It is a simple neo-classical design, a pleasure to see with its clean lines. The inside thought pretty and more baroque, seemed to be a bit dark.
Its a nice place to relax and watch the world go by. Of course, here, you are right in the middle of the historical center of Cordoba, right by all the important sights.
Though I personally didn't feel any problem walking alone I was told to be careful walking after dark. Everything is lit up nicely, the cathedral especially, so i wasn't sure if that advice was offered out of an abundance of caution or what.
Anyway, that's General San Martin in the center of the plaza. I must say that I found it a little less than exciting that almost every main square in the entire country seems to be named after either Belgrano or San Martin.
This is the oldest university in the country and one of the most prestigious in Latin America. Its schools are spread out through Cordoba.
It was formed in 1610 by the Society of Jesus (Collegium Maximum) and for many years it was the only university in the country. Initially it offered studies in Theology, Philosophy and later Law. After the revolutionary war a school of medicine was added and sciences were offered. In 1884 women were first admitted.
In 1856 the university was nationalized. Of course, you have to remember that by that time the Jesuits had been expelled from the Americas.
Our visit to the rectory was great, we got to see some of the antique lecture halls and places where students would defend their dissertations. The decoration was pretty austere, it sure wasn't built with comfort in mind. of course the new lecture halls are much more comfortable and have all the modern conveniences.
the City Tourist Information office is located in the corner of San Martin Plaza. It was a fairly large, well stocked place. I seem to remember that there were a lot of resources in foreign languages.
In the afternoon the Tourist Office conducted a walking tour of historic Cordoba (the one i took was in Spanish) which showed us the highlights of the downtown area. As I remember the tour wasn't terribly expensive, and was very high quality.
In the Santa Catalina passage between the Cathedral and the Cabildo is a memorial plaque. It is easy to miss. It says that from 1976-83 during the military dictatorship, a clandestine concentration camp and torture center functioned here in the Cordoba Cabildo.
There are no indications inside the Cabildo of that role. In honesty, it is still a rather difficult subject for most Argentines that lived through that era to talk about. Though they appreciate your dealing with the subject delicately, there is still a lot of pain involved.
There are apparently sincere plans to establish a museum at this place, Im not sure how far along they are on this.
The Cabildo, as in all Spanish cities, is the center of government, traditionally placed next to the Cathedral on the main square of the city.
There has been some variety of Cabildo at the present location in Cordoba since the early constructions of 1610. The present structure, completed in 1786, completed the present appearance.
Today, the Cabildo is no longer the center of city government, which has moved to other sites since the turn of the century. Today it houses the City Historical Museum and numerous offices.
Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion (Our Lady of the Assumption) is the oldest church in what is now Argentina. It was started in 1598 and after various disasters was completed fully in 1787 (when the bell towers were completed.)
The Cathedral was constructed using native labor. Because it took so long to complete it is a mixture of many different styles and art forms. The native influence can be seen when looking at the figures of the Angels, they are not all caucasian looking, nor do they all dress like Europeans.
This was the influence of the Cuzco school of painting, which incorporated some aspects of native culture in painting. The Spaniards found the peruvians talented in painting and hence taught them to pain, and basically copy works of art from Europe. Naturally, this style developed into something unique, ornate and often very baroque.
Gradually, the Cathedral became more and more European, with the frescoes on the cieling done by Italian renaissance artists.
In 1570 Jeronimo Luis de Cabrera was sent to establish a settlement by the Viceroy of Peru. The settlement was named Cordoba de la Nueva Andalucia (Cordoba of the New Andalucia) in honor of his wife's home in Cordoba, Spain. (1573) Once the city was stabilized it soon became economically viable through trade with the north.
in 1599 the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) came, forming a chapel and founding a university and school. This, of course, is one of the things the jesuits are traditionally known for, a strong focus on education. This focus is very evident when you see the institutions they created in Cordoba.
For most of the colonial period, Cordoba was Argentina's major city, that is until the late 1700's and the coming of age of Buenos Aires. Cordoba had been the major link to the Viceroyalty of Peru, one of Spain's richest colonies through the extraction of precious metals.
Over time Cordoba received a large wave of immigration, mainly from Italy and Spain. In time it industrialized. Today Cordoba has a strong software and technical services sector, auto production and military production.
A few minutes from Downtown of Córdoba, you will find Sarmiento Park located at the highest area of the city, where you will enjoy a beautiful piece of land with forests that invite you to enjoy outdoor activities
considered as the green lung of Córdoba Capital city, the Park offers many alternatives to amuse yourself, such as walks, fairground, zoological garden, skating rink, artifitial lake with boats, playground and even a Greek amphitheatre which is used for concerts.
This is the most popular park of the city, with a zoo, a flower garden and an artificial lake and it is not so far from the Bus Station, so you can drop by just before you leave the city.
What is lovely is that it is on a little hill, and so you can have a pretty little view of Cordoba city.
But what is even more lovely to enjoy the view with, is that there are 'choripan' stalls (with lots and lots of choices for toppings and sauces).
So, come up here in the evening, when the sun is setting or when it has already set (to see the twinkling lights of the city), order a 'choripan' with the toppings and sauce of your choice and a 'gaseoso' (soda drink) and enjoy the breeze and the view.
Moon Travel Planner map, an interesting website
Just to give you an idea of the location:
Cordoba City, second largest city in Argentina next to BsAs
I visited the center (Cathedral) Alta Gracia (Jesuit Route)
The National Quebrada del Condorito (valley) is still on my wish list
Like in every city or even village in Argentina there is a Plaza or street named after the Liberator San Martin
This is not different in Corbado, the central plaza is since 1577 scenary of important events.
Official celebrations, military taptoes, even executions of prisoners and why not, bull fights