Located in the heart of Argentina on the Suquía River, Cordoba is the country’s second largest city with a population of over 1.3 million and contains some of its finest architecture and heritage sites.
Little is known of the settlement’s early history, being isolated from the major empires of Central and South America. The city itself was founded in 1573 by Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera (named after the Spanish counterpart) and, as one of the colonial capitals, grew significantly under Spanish control. Cordoba was considered the main city in Argentina until Buenos Aires was declared capital in 1776 and remained an economic centre up to the present day, encouraged by its involvement in the aircraft and automobile industries.
However, the city’s reputation in business is combined with a strong cultural sense. This conscious mingling of the two makes Cordoba one of the most underrated spots in Argentina.
Attractions & Culture
Unquestionably the most well known site in the city is the 'Jesuit Block and Estancias of Cordoba around the 27 de Abril. Classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historical significance, this complex of buildings encompasses the Universidad Nacional (founded in 1613 and the oldest in South America), the church and the residence of the Society of Jesus, extant in the city from the 17th century onwards. These are supplemented by the farming estates (estancias) and have to be visited.
Cordoba’s colonial history is still very much on show in its architecture. The most notable example of this is the Cathedral of Cordoba. Facing the central Plaza San Martin, building work on the Cathedral started in 1577 and now stands in beautiful yet austere Gothic style. Also remarkable in this regard are the Iglesia Sagrado Corazón, an 18th century piece of Neo-Gothic work, and the aforementioned Iglesia Compania de Jesus, built in 1640 and the oldest church in the city subsequently.
Cordoba is popularly referred to as La Docta due to the number of educational institutions in the city and the nickname is well founded, with some ten art galleries and an even greater number of museums. These include the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes ‘Emilio E. Carrafa’ in Plaza España, the Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes ‘Dr. Genaro Perez’ in Avenue General Paz, the Museo Paleontológico de la Universidad Nacional de Cordoba in Avenue Vélez Sársfield and the Museo Histórico Marques de Sobremonte in Rosario de Santa Fe (focusing on the history of Cordoba).
The city hosts a number of events and festivals during the year, such as Carnival in February, Friend Day in July 20th at the beautiful Parque de las Naciones and Parque Sarmiento and Spring Day on September 21st at the nearby Villa Carlos Paz.
Football is naturally the dominant sport in Cordoba. The main local team, Atlético Belgrano de Cordoba, play their games in the Primera División at the Estadio Gigante de Alberdi. Basketball is also extremely popular and Cordoba’s Asociación Deportiva Atenas are one of the most successful teams in Argentina.
The obvious spots for shopping are the Patio Olmos and Nuevo Centro shopping centres. However, Cordoba also has a number of excellent markets such as the Mercado Norte in the Peatonal area, the arts and crafts market in the Paseo de las Artes and the weekend craft market in Parque las Heras.
Nightlife & Dining
The traditional food of Cordoba takes its cue from the regional Pampa cuisine, placing particular emphasis on beef and the Argentinian parrilla meat. Dishes include churazco and the remarkable Italian-dish Bagna Cauda. Particularly good places to eat are 18 in the Avenue Costanera and the Rancho Grande in the Avenue Rafael Nuñez.
International alternatives are also available such as Italian at Il Gatto in the Avenue Gral Paz.
Due to the local university, Cordoba enjoys a bouncing nightlife with plenty of bars, pubs and great nightclubs around the districts of Nueva Cordoba, Chateau Carreras and the red-light district of Ex Abasto. The nearby town of Villa Carlos Paz is also a refuge for Cordobans looking to drink and dance.
If you’d prefer something a little cultural though, you can find the Italian-style Teatro del Libertador in the Avenue Vélez Sársfield.
Cordoba Tourist Information OfficeOld City HallIndependencia, 40Cordoba
- Tel: +54 351 433 1982
- Web: [http://www.Cordoba.gov.ar Cordoba Municipality (Spanish only)]
AirportCordoba is served by Ingeniero Ambrosio L.V. Taravella International Airport, some 10 km from the city itself.
Although the third largest airport in Argentina, international and domestic connecting flights are only available to limited destinations. If you are arriving from abroad, you will have to change at Buenos Aires.
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