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Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba

Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba

The Jesuit Block in Córdoba, heart of the former Jesuit Province of Paraguay, contains the core buildings of the Jesuit system: the university, the church and residence of the Society of Jesus, and the college. Along with the five estancias, or farming estates, they contain religious and secular buildings, which illustrate the unique religious, social, and economic experiment carried out in the world for a period of over 150 years in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Ensemble et les estancias jésuites de Córdoba

L'ensemble de Córdoba, noyau de l'ancienne province jésuite du Paraguay, comprend les principaux bâtiments du système jésuite : l'université, l'église, la résidence de la Compagnie de Jésus et le collège. Avec les cinq « estancias », ils abritent des édifices religieux et séculiers illustrant l'expérience religieuse, sociale et économique sans précédent menée à travers le monde pendant plus de 150 ans, aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles.

المجمّع والإستانسياس اليسوعية في قرطبة

يشمل مجمّع قرطبة، وهو نواة المقاطعة اليسوعية في الباراغوي، المباني الرئيسة الخاصة بالنظام اليسوعي: الجامعة، والكنيسة، ومقرّ اليسوعيين والمدرسة. كما أن الإستانسياس الخمس تحتضن المباني الدينية والعلمانية التي تعرض التجربة الدينية والاجتماعية والاقتصادية التي لا سابق لها والتي عرفها العالم خلال أكثر من 150 سنة في القرنين السابع عشر والثامن عشر.

source: UNESCO/ERI

科尔多巴耶稣会牧场和街区

科尔多巴耶稣会街区,坐落在巴拉圭的前耶酥会省中心,包括耶稣会的核心建筑:大学、教堂、耶稣教会住宅以及学院。沿着五个牧场,或者庄园,则是一些宗教和世俗建筑,诠释了17和18世纪的150多年间这片土地上进行的独一无二的宗教、社会和经济实验。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Постройки и фермы иезуитов в городе Кордова и окрестностях

Иезуитский квартал в Кордове – сердцевина бывшей Иезуитской провинции Парагвая – содержит основные здания, типичные для иезуитов: университет, церковь, резиденцию «Общества Иисуса», а также колледж. Вместе с пятью фермами – эстансиями - здесь находятся религиозные и светские здания, которые свидетельствуют об уникальном религиозном и социально-экономическом эксперименте, который проводился на протяжении 150 лет в XVII-XVIII вв.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Manzana y estancias jesuíticas de Córdoba

La manzana jesuítica de la ciudad de Córdoba, que fue uno de los núcleos de de la antigua provincia del Paraguay de la Compañía de Jesús, comprende la universidad, la iglesia, la residencia de los padres jesuitas y el colegio Montserrat. Este conjunto y las cinco estancias jesuíticas de las sierras cordobesas albergan edificios religiosos y seculares ilustrativos de una experiencia religiosa, social y económica sin precedentes, que se llevó a cabo entre los siglos XVII y XVIII y duró más de 150 años.

source: UNESCO/ERI

コルドバのイエズス会管区とエスタンシアス 

source: NFUAJ

Jezuïtisch huizenblok en verblijven in Córdoba

Het Jezuïtische huizenblok in Córdoba – het hart van de voormalige Jezuïtische provincie Paraguay – bevat de kerngebouwen van het Jezuïtische systeem: de universiteit, de kerk en het verblijf van de Sociëteit van Jezus en het college. Naast het huizenblok en de vijf estancias – landbouwverblijven – zijn er op deze plek ook religieuze en seculiere gebouwen te vinden. De Jezuïtische gebouwen zijn een uitzonderlijk voorbeeld van de fusie tussen Europese en inheemse waarden en culturen. Ze illustreren het unieke religieuze, sociale en economische experiment dat de katholieke orde in de 17e en 18e eeuw meer dan 150 jaar lang uitvoerde in Zuid-Amerika.

Source: unesco.nl

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Santa Catilina, front view of the group © UNESCO
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The 38-ha ensemble of the Jesuit Block and five of its estancias (rural farming and manufacturing establishments) in the province of Córdoba, near the geographical centre of Argentina, contains 17th and 18th century religious and secular buildings that illustrate an unprecedented 150-year-long religious, social, and economic experiment. The Jesuit Block in the city of Córdoba contains the core buildings of the capital of the former Jesuit Province of Paraguay: the church, the Jesuit priests’ residence, the university, and the Colegio Convictorio de Montserrat. The Block’s supporting estancias – comprised of Alta Gracia (located 36 km from the Block), Santa Catalina (70 km from the Block), Jesús María (48 km from the Block), La Candelaria (220 km from the Block), and Caroya (44 km from the Block) – each included a church or chapel, priests’ residence, ranches for slaves and indigenous peoples, work areas (camps, mills, beating mills, etc.), hydraulic systems (breakwaters, irrigation ditches, canals, etc.), farmhouses, and large extents of land for cattle breeding.

The Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba is an exceptional example of a vast religious, political, economic, legal, and cultural system. It is likewise an excellent illustration of the fusion of European and Native American cultures, with the added contributions of African slave labourers, during a seminal period in South America. The ensemble is a particular example of territorial organisation, an economic complement between urban and rural settlements that allowed the Society of Jesus to pursue its educational and missionary goals.

The outstanding nature of this ensemble is illustrated by the convergence of two typologies: on the one hand, the European convent layout, with a main church, residence, and college in the city; and on the other, novel rural settlements, where the church, residence, and trading post merged in a productive and interrelated territory. This kind of articulation, where the various productive specializations in each estancia were supported by the construction of complex hydraulic systems, was unique in the American cultural context.

The outstanding achievements of the Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba include the development of technologies based on local resources, both material and human, and the use of the respective knowledge of the participants – the religious Order and the indigenous and African slave labourers – all of which resulted in a mixture of architectural, technological, and artistic expressions reflecting mannerist and baroque influences adapted to the locality.

Criterion (ii) The Jesuit buildings and ensembles of Córdoba and the estancias are exceptional examples of the fusion of European and indigenous values and cultures during a seminal period in South America.

Criterion (iv) The religious, social and economic experiment carried out in South America for over 150 years by the Society of Jesus produced a unique form of material expression, which is illustrated by the Jesuit buildings and ensembles of Córdoba and the estancias.

Integrity

Within the boundaries of the property are located all the elements necessary to express the Outstanding Universal Value of the Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba. This ensures the complete representation of their significance as architectural and landscape ensembles in their respective settings. The Jesuit Block maintains its original religious, residential, educational, and cultural functions, while the estancias continue operating as cultural, interchange, and regional development centres, even though they have considerably lost their productive nature. Of the five estancias included in the property, two (Santa Catalina and La Candelaria) maintain their original rural settings, another two (Caroya and Jesús María) remain in semi-urban settings, and one (Alta Gracia) became the centre of an urban structure.

Authenticity

The Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba is authentic in terms of the ensemble’s forms and designs, materials and substances, and locations and settings. All the elements of the property have kept their original typologies and constructive, morphological, and spatial characteristics, as well as their referential nature in the local communities.

Various interventions to the components that make up the property have been made since the Society of Jesus was expelled in 1767. Since 1938 and the declaration of these components as national historical monuments, however, actions involving them have been carried out with scientific rigor, according to the standards of each period.

Protection and management requirements

The Jesuit Block in the city of Córdoba and the five estancias of Alta Gracia, Jesús María, Santa Catalina, Caroya, and La Candelaria are variously owned by the federal government, the Province of Córdoba, the Catholic Church, and private owners, and are managed by federal, provincial, ecclesiastical, municipal, and private concerns, and by Presidential Decree (Santa Catalina). All the components of the property have been legally protected at the national level since 1938 (the Colegio Convictorio de Montserrat by Decree 80-860/38) and under Federal Law 12.665 and its Regulating Decree 84-005/41, as amended in 1993, and at the provincial level since 1973 under Provincial Law 5543 for the Protection of the Province’s Cultural Resources, and/or at the municipal level since the 1980s.

The general management plan of the property is under discussion and has not yet been approved. The management plan of each component sets forth measures aimed at preserving the property’s Outstanding Universal Value as well as its integrity and authenticity. There is a general cultural tourism plan that creates a comprehensive framework for the interpretation of the ensemble and promotion of cultural tourism.

Sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property over time will require finalising, approving, and implementing the general management plan; planning territorial and land use; reviewing and updating regulatory frameworks; drafting procedural manuals for conservation and maintenance; planning public use; extending protection of the setting, in consultation with other institutions; developing communication strategies to strengthen local ownership; generating financial resources; and addressing environmental risks. 

Long Description

The Jesuit buildings and ensembles of Córdoba and the estancias are exceptional examples of the fusion of European and indigenous values and cultures during a seminal period in South America. The Jesuits were late in arriving in the Spanish American colonies, having been preceded by other orders such as the Franciscans and Dominicans. However, the southern part of the continent was still being explored in the late 16th century, providing opportunities for the Jesuits. The Spanish monk Diego de Torres was sent by the order to organize the new Province of Paraguay in 1607 (itinerant missions had already been operating in the region since 1588). Missions were sent from Córdoba, the centre of the new province, to set up colleges and preach the Jesuit message. Córdoba itself, established by Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera in 1573, was laid out on the standard Spanish colonial chequerboard pattern. In common with the other orders, the Jesuits were allocated one of the 70 blocks of the original city.

The Jesuit Block in Córdoba contains the core buildings of the Jesuit system: the university, the church and residence of the Society of Jesus, and the college. The National University of Córdoba (formerly the Colegio Máximo of the Society of Jesus) is arranged round a central open space (originally a botanical garden), and constructed in stone and brick, with spacious colonnades around the courtyard. The Society of Jesus Church is a massive domed structure with two squat towers at the west end, built principally in stone, with brick in the upper levels. It is a single-nave building, the interior is richly decorated, the retablo of the main altar and the pulpit being outstanding examples of Baroque. As in the university, the buildings of the Colegio Nacional de Nuestra Señora de Montserrat are disposed round two open spaces. It is built in the same style as the other structures in the Jesuit Block.

The five estancias illustrate the unique religious, social and economic experiment carried out in the world for a period of over 150 years in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Alta Gracia estancia originally comprised a church, the priests' residence, quarters for the slaves and workers (demolished), cattle pens, vegetable gardens (missing), a textile mill, a reservoir and other mills. The estancia is in the heart of the town, with two spacious patios. The two buildings of the residence and the church form three sides of a square patio, the fourth being closed by a high wall pierced by the main entrance.

The Santa Catalina estancia is a rural establishment in the beautiful landscape of the Córdoba sierras, made up of a church, the priests' residence, workers' quarters, the novices' house (now ruined), a mill and a reservoir. The ground plan, the largest of all the estancias , is in the form of three patios, the central of which is the main one. The church, a Latin cross in plan, has an imposing Baroque facade.

The components of the rural Jesús María estancia are identical with those of Santa Catalina. Cloisters enclose two sides of the central patio, the others being formed by a storage building and a high stone wall. Furthest from Córdoba is the rural estancia of Candelaria. Unlike the others, it is located in a sheltered part of the region. It is smaller than the others, consisting of a chapel, priests' residence, workers' quarters (now demolished) and cattle pens. By contrast, the Caroya estancia is an imposing ensemble, in a more luxuriant landscape. Its mill and reservoir are now ruined, but the patio, surrounded by cloisters and quarters for the boarders of the Colegio Nacional de Nuestra Señora de Montserrat, is striking in its proportions and dimensions.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The Society of Jesus was founded in 1540 by St Ignatius Loyola, as part of the Counter-Reformation. The missions established by this hierarchical organization in non-Christian countries had as its principal activities spiritual guidance by means of retreats and teaching. It was governed by its own code of laws.

The Jesuits were late in arriving in the Spanish American colonies, having been preceded by other orders such as the Franciscans and Dominicans. However, the southern part of the continent was still being explored at the end of the 16th century, providing opportunities for the Jesuits. The Spanish monk Diego de Torres was sent by the order to organize the new Province of Paraguay in 1607. Itinerant missions had already been operating in the region since 1588. Missions were sent from Córdoba, the centre of the new Province, to set up colleges and preach the Jesuit message.

The town of Córdoba had been established by Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera in 1573 and laid out on the standard Spanish colonial checkerboard pattern. In common with the other orders, the Jesuits were allocated one of the seventy blocks of the original city, but they did not take possession of it until 1599.

One of the first acts of the Jesuits was to build on this block in 1610 the Colégio Máximo (which was to become the Royal and Pontifical University in the following decade), where teaching was in accordance with the teaching plan Ratio atque Instituto Studiorum Societatis Jesu (Method and System of Studies of the Society of Jesus), created in 1599 and applied throughout the world by the order. Other monastic buildings followed, including the university and the church and residence of the order. These underwent a number of transformations and reconstructions, both before and after the expulsion of the order in 1767.

The estancias, which concentrated on agriculture, textile production, and mule breeding in addition to their spiritual functions, were highly successful economically. They came into the possession of the Society in various ways, including by purchase and as bequests. Alta Gracia was a cattle ranch owned by Alonso Nieto de Herrera who entered the Society, to which he bequeathed it when he died, whilst La Candelaria was created on lands donated by Francisco de Vera y Mujica in 1678. Caroya was purchased in 1616, Jesús María in 1618, and Santa Catalina in 1616. All were sold to private individuals when the property of the Society was auctioned off by the Boards of Temporalities after the expulsion.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation