It’s always lovely to visit historic cathedrals that are well cared for and very much in use to this day. This isn’t a comment on religious practices of modern times; rather, I am happy to see that such beautiful spaces are still useful places of worship and appreciated by a city.
That was certainly the case in Córdoba, where the city’s numerous breathtakingly beautiful cathedrals – it felt like there was one on nearly every corner – are still an active part of daily life in the city. Services are held in the evenings, with groups of families and friends gathering after mass to talk and laugh.
We nearly missed the city’s centerpiece cathedral, Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. Don’t ask me how. I had it starred, highlighted, circled, etc. on my Google map and yet we somehow only managed to stumble across the cathedral and the central square of the city in which it resides on our last morning in Córdoba. This slight mishap on our part – nearly missing the main attraction of the city – can only be blamed on the fact that the city has so many other intriguing, distracting nooks and crannies that we didn’t really need to see it right away. This structure dates back to 1598, and is the oldest church in Córdoba.
The Jesuits left their touch upon the city, and this was especially apparent in the Jesuit Block near the centre of the city. The Montserrat School and buildings in this area belonging to the Universidad de Córdoba date back to the 17th century. We saw banners commemorating the university’s 400 years; it was founded some twenty or so years before Harvard in the U.S.
I found myself partial to Iglesia de los Capuchinos, set in the heart of the city and was surrounded, on the day we visited, by vibrant purple-flowering trees, giving it something of a fairytale appearance. We only had a few moments to look in, before we (along with some worshipers) were ushered out as the cathedral closed for siesta time.
What I feel is undeniable is cities like Córdoba – and its beautiful, well-preserved architecture, city spaces and cathedrals – are such an integral and irrevocable reminder of the history of Argentina – and the Americas as a whole – and its experiences.