Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis: San Ignacio Mini, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto and Santa Maria Mayor (Argentina), Ruins of Sao Miguel das Missoes (Brazil)
The ruins of São Miguel das Missões in Brazil, and those of San Ignacio Miní, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto and Santa María la Mayor in Argentina, lie at the heart of a tropical forest. They are the impressive remains of five Jesuit missions, built in the land of the Guaranis during the 17th and 18th centuries. Each is characterized by a specific layout and a different state of conservation.
The remains of these Jesuit missions are outstanding examples of a type of building and of an architectural ensemble which illustrate a significant period of the history of Argentina and Brazil. The ruins of Saõ Miguel das Missões in Brazil and those of San Ignacio Miní, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto and Santa María la Mayor in Argentina lie in the heart of a tropical forest. They are impressive remains of five Jesuit missions, built in the land of the Guaranis during the 17th and 18th centuries.
All these Guarani reducciones (settlements) are laid out on the same model: the church, the residence of the Fathers, and the regularly spaced houses of the Indians are laid out around a large square. However, each of the reducciones is characterized by a specific layout and a different state of conservation.
San Ignacio Miní, founded in 1611, was moved on two successive occasions, settling in its present site in 1696. It incorporates important monumental remains: churches, residence of the Fathers, schools. The ruins are accessible and in a relatively good state of preservation. It is the most eminent example of a reduccion preserved on Argentinean territory.
Santa Ana, founded in 1633 on the Sierra del Tape, was removed in 1638 to the bank of the Paraná river and once more to its present site, 45 km from Posadas. The ruins of the church, which are accessible by a monumental stairway, emerge from a forest site. It resisted pillage following the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767.
Nuestra Señora de Loreto, founded in 1610, was moved in 1631 to its present site 53 km from Posadas. The mission included a printing-press. The church and the Fathers' house were built by Brother Bressanelli, as at San Ignacio Miní. The ruins of the Indian village have been partially cleared of vegetation
Santa María la Mayor, founded in 1626, was moved to its present site in 1633. Not far from the ruins of the church, important remains of the residence of the fathers are still standing.
Saõ Miguel, founded on the site of the Itaiaceco in 1632, was transferred first to Concepción, and then in 1687 to its present site on the banks of the Piratini. Of the village not one building remains intact; all that are visible are the foundations of the Fathers' residence, the school, and the walls of the cemetery, along with some vestiges of Indian habitations. In a site that is periodically invaded by vegetation are found the ruins of the church attributed to Father Gian Battista Primoli, a Jesuit architect of Milanese origins, well known for his work in Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Concepción. This Baroque church, finished in 1750, was ravaged 10 years by fire. It was restored in a rather summary manner during the years which preceded the definitive expulsion of the Jesuits in 1768.Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC