The ruins of the mission are atmospheric and evocative, with the striking red buildings blending in well against the surrounding green grass (there's a lot of rain here, or there was plenty at least when we visited).
Without a guide to explain the history to us, we could only wander around the ruined buildings and wonder about their history. Most of the buildings are in a poor state thanks to centuries of neglect, but some, such as the front of the church with it's impressive facade, look very romantic in their ruined state. There is impressive Guarani artwork on some of the buildings, demonstrating a nice mix of European and Indigenous styles.
We spent an hour exploring the ruins, which are spread out over a large area, giving you an idea of just how big the mission must have been. The ruins are often busy with tour groups but it's easy find quiet spots in such a large sight.
The Jesuit-Guarani Interpretative Centre (to give it it's full name) is basically a museum of the ruins, which you can visit with the ticket for the ruins. It contains an informative model showing how the ruins looked in the 18th century before they fell into ruin. There are also interesting exhibits on the Jesuits and on Guarani people and culture.
The main gate was the gate of the church and it’s impressive because of the strange sculptures on it, the angels etc The interior of the church is under construction. This building was the biggest one, most of the other building are the houses that were small enough, just a room most of the times.
After the museum you can walk (there is a guide every 30’ but only in Spanish) inside the town, see the ruins, the walls, feel the atmosphere etc Its better to read first some things about the place because otherwise you will just walk among the ruins taking photos without any reason…
I was impressed about this strange experiment that the Jesuits done using propaganda and arts that the natives like (painting and music) so to be easier for them to change… I visited the ruins in early April and the sun was the real enemy there so wear a hat because every building is open air building (without roof) :) After a while I got bored of the guide (I have already read about the place) so I started walk on my own in the ruins trying to imagine the people and their life there...
The entrance fee for the ruins is 12pesos(2,2euros) includes the museum that is next to the main gate. It’s small (no more than 15’ to walk around and read the info signs) but you have a first impression about Guarani’s life, there is a scale model of the town etc There is a 5’ video about Guarani and also some audio sables of that era (music etc)
Específicamente lo que se puede hacer en este lugar es visitar las ruinas de lo que en algún momento, hace muchos años, fue donde se asentaron los misioneros jesuitas.
Es un lugar muy lindo y bastante grande, hay sombras de árboles frutales autóctonos y se respira paz.
Muchos puestitos para comprar artesanías.
Recomiendo llevar mucha agua, no es un lugar costoso y se puede almorzar en algún "restorán" de por ahí.
The natives practiced the polygamy; the Jesuits, of course, preached (and imposed) the monogamy... Everywhere at the ruins you will see sculptures of hippocampus, the symbol of faithfulness.
I do not know if these sculptures were successfull... especially if we consider the Guarani people had hardly met a hippocampus in the jungle!
Los nativos practicaban la poligania; los jesuitas, como es natural, predicaron (e impusieron) la monogamia... Por todas partes en las ruinas se ven esculturas de hipocampos, el símbolo de la fidelidad.
No sé qué tan exitosas resultaron estas esculturas, especialmente si tenemos en cuenta que los guaraníes difícilmente vieron alguna vez un hipocampo en la selva!
The natives' houses were separated, depending on the marital status: for families, for single men and for widowed women; all the houses were low, because the natives were really short... Actually, I think they were normal size... just like me!
Las casas de los nativos estaban separadas según el estado civil: para familias, para solteros y para viudas; todas las viviendas era bajas, porque los nativos eran muy bajitos... En realidad, creo que eran de altura normal... como yo!
The first constructions you find as you come into the ruins are the natives' houses... or what still remains of them. Each family had its own house, what actually was a single room, with one door and one window; the doors were not made of wood, but leather; the natives used to sleep in hammocks. The Jesuits tried to accustom the natives to the Spaniard way of life, but did it gradually.
Las primeras construcciones que se encuentran al ingresar a las ruinas son las viviendas de los nativos... o lo que queda de ellas. Cada familia tenía su propia casa, que en realidad era una única habitación, con una puerta y una ventana; las puertas no eran de madera, sino de cuero; los nativos dormían en hamacas. Los jesuitas intentaron habituar a los nativos al estilo de vida español, pero lo fueron haciendo en forma gradual.
The Jesuits gave an important place to education, so the mission had a school for the natives, where they learnt to read and write Guarani, Latin and Spanish; the classrooms had different floors, depending on the school grade.
Los jesuitas dieron gran importancia a la educación, por lo tanto la misión tenía una escuela para los nativos, en donde aprendían a leer y escribir en guaraní, latín y español; las aulas tenían suelos diferentes, según fuera el grado escolar.