Argentina’s second largest city Córdoba is a colorful blend of commerce and colleges. Córdoba is located close to Argentina’s geographical center in the Sierras Chicas foothills at the base of the Andes and is regarded as the “Heartland of Argentina.” The city seems like a tasteless functional urban centre of modern high-rises and enclosed balconies but, don’t be deluded by this. Under it all is a fresh, vivacious metropolis with a great deal off heritage, large bars, elegant restaurants, and enough students who are bent on having a wonderful time.
Córdoba was established before Buenos Aires by Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera and was one of the first Spanish colonial capitals of the region as well as Argentina’s first capital. The city of about 1.3 million residents was first built as a stop for Spaniards who were moving between the Atlantic coast and Peru. The city’s history dates back to the time when Luís de Cabrera first settled here in 1573 and the 17th and 18th century stone buildings that line the cobbled streets at Plaza San Martín is evidence of the city’s rich history. Córdoba’s dense Centro Histórico also has Argentina’s highest concentration of colonial buildings.
For over two hundred years Córdoba was the Argentinean’s cultural and intellectual heart and when they built the city’s national university, the city was nicknamed “La Docta” which translates to “the Learned.” The city still remains an intellectual hub, which is getting more and more popular with foreign students who want to study outside the capital.
Some of Córdoba’s most notable historical sites are around the Plaza San Martín. These include the 17th century Cabildo (Town Hall), the Museo Historico Provincial, Marque de Sobremonte, the Romanesque Iglesia Cathedral and the 16th century Jesuit Iglesia de la Compania, the oldest surviving building. The cross-topped towers of Córdoba’s downtown churches are enough proof of the Jesuits influence on the city. The downtown area was their missionary center from their arrival until being forced out from the country. The Manzana Jesuítica (Jesuit Block) of 17th century buildings which includes a prestigious secondary school is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is another symbol of their architectural presence.
Córdoba sure lives up to its name as ‘The Cultural Capital of the Americas,’ by filling its streets with cathedrals, museums, galleries, theatres, street fairs, festivals, cinemas and many bars and restaurants. Music and literature are foundations of Córdoba’s cultural affluence and the city is famous for its cuarteto style of singing. Córdoba is more than beautiful and due to its location, the city is an arena for many extreme sports and adventures. Activities which can be enjoyed include kayaking, rock climbing, hiking and even skydiving. And with the mixture of a colonial past and being a great base for exploration, Córdoba is one of Argentina’s unique and special places to visit.