Founded in 1573, Córdoba is Argentina's second largest city. Although there has been massive development in recent years, much of the old colonial vestiges remain. A fine collection of churches and colonial buildings survive from this period, including the 17th century Cabildo (town hall), the Romanesque Iglesia Cathedral and the Jesuit Iglesia de la Compañía, the oldest surviving church in Argentina, built in 1622. The Museo Histórico Provincial Marqués de Sobremonte is one of the most important historical museums in the country.
Plaza San Martin, Cordoba © Rafael Bravo
The Jesuit influence is clear within the scenic mountain interior, which is scattered with colonial churches, hermitages and interesting towns. Many are well prepared for tourists, with hotels, restaurants and festivals keeping the Jesuit and gaucho traditions alive.
Cordoba has long been considered the cultural centre of Argentina, being the home of famous writers from the last century such as Leopoldo Lugones, Arturo Capdevila and Marcos Aguinis. The city is also home to the Caraffa Fine Arts Museum and the Evita Fine Arts Museum, as well as the Paseo del Buen Pastor, a cultural centre containing an art gallery, a fine wine shop, artisanal cheese shop, and other craft and artisan stalls.
Cordoba is also known as La Docta because of its many scientific institutes and universities, including the National Technological University. With a student population of around 200,000, it's no wonder that Cordoba has some of the liveliest nightlife in Argentina.
Due it its position in the geographic centre of the country, Cordoba is easily reached by plane, bus, rail or car, and makes a good stopping point on the journey from Buenos Aires to the Andean Northwest. Outside of the city, travellers can continue their holiday in the Sierras de Cordoba, a hill district featuring beautifully-situated resorts and the Quebrada del Condorito National Park.