Luis and I went from Villa General Belgrano to Alta Gracia.
In our way from Villa General Belgrano
Alta Gracia, considered World Heritage, is a city located in the north-centre of the province of CÃ³rdoba, situated at 35 kilometres from the capital city of CÃ³rdoba.
Its name means “High Grace”. It is built upon the Sierras Chicas. It has about 43,000 inhabitants.
The origin of the city brings one back to the time of the spanish colonization. In the 17th century Alta Gracia was as a large agricultural ranch (an estancia) operated by Jesuits.
Later Alta Gracia became a town, and the place where Che Guevaraâ€™s parents relocated in hopes of relieving their sonâ€™s chronic asthma. Jesuit monuments in excellent repair grace the main plaza, and a German group is bidding to restore the historic Hotel Sierras (Avenida VÃ©lez Sarsfield s/n), once the destination of choice for the socially prominent from around the country (which John F. Kennedy has visited.), as a casino.
Alta Gracia has a rich historical heritage.
The following Jesuit monuments are the main reason to come here:
The antique Jesuit residence: (what is nowadays “Museo de la Estancia JesuÃtica de Alta Gracia). This is the place where the parents who administered the estancia lived, and where the students of “Colegio Mayor de CÃ³rdoba ” (first university of the present Argentinean territory) stayed during the summer. In 1810 this place belonged to Don Santiago de Liniers, resistance hero during the British invasions of Buenos Aires whose royalist convictions brought about his execution during the wars of independence. With 17 permanent exhibit rooms on topics ranging from Comechingones ethnology to daily life and customs in the province. Itâ€™s open 9 a.m.â€“8 p.m. weekdays except Monday, 9:30 a.m.â€“8 p.m. weekends and holidays in summer; the rest of the year hours are 9 a.m.â€“1 p.m. and 3â€“7 p.m. weekdays except Monday, 9:30 a.m.â€“12:30 p.m. and 3:30â€“6:30 p.m. the rest of the year. During winter holidays, however, it does not close at midday. For more information, visit www.museoliniers.org.ar
The following photo was taken from inside the residence. Luis says that it represents very well how he feels in marriage. Can you believe that he can feel something like that having a wife like me?!
The Jesuit residence has beautiful parks:
The church with its Baroque style, was built in the XVIII century. The ground floor has got the shape of the Roman cross and its altar is made of oil painting. The remains of the founder of the village of Alt Garcia, Don Manuel Solares, are buried at the foot of the church.
The Obraje: it is the place where the old chapel and the looms were placed. School of arts and crafts. El Obraje (1643) survives as a public school.
The Tajamar, built in 1659, is the oldest ditch of the province. It has got a wall of 80 metres long made of stone, lime and san. It was an artificial lake with a hydraulic system that included a series of dams that regulated water irrigation for irrigating the Jesuit vineyards and orchards. Itâ€™s now a city park.
La Hornilla y los Paredones: (a lime stove and thick walls). Both located 4 kms far from the city centre, la hornilla is a stove made of lime and was used to make that was used to make Los Paredones (thick walls) which were part of the irrigation system and dam of the religious men.
And there are also other attractions:
The public clock: it is a big clock at the top of a tower that made in remembrance of the 350 anniversary of the first owner of these lands. It represents the passing of time and historic stages of the city. Nowadays the tourist office is placed there and part of the city can be watched from the top of it.
The public clock seen from the Jesuit residence.
Museum Casa de Ernesto â€œCheâ€ Guevara: (house museum). â€œEl Cheâ€ lived in Alta Gracia 11 years, the place in the owrld where he lived the longest. The house shows how he was as a child, his parents, friends, games,â€¦ his history. You can breathe his presence and his essence.
(Avellaneda 501, 9 a.m.â€“7 p.m. daily).
Luis admired CheÂ´s motorbike…
…and I was playing chess with Che!
Museum Manuel de Falla: (house museum). It is located in the chalet â€œLos espinillosâ€ (Avenida Pellegrini 1011). The most distinguished contemporany composer, innovator of Spanish music fled the Franco dictatorship after the Spanish Civil War and chose this detached house to spend his last years of life. It still contains the composerâ€™s Eavestaff minipiano and other personal items. Hours are 3â€“8 p.m. daily except Monday and Saturday; in February only, there are weekday morning hours (9:30 a.m.â€“12:30 p.m. except Monday) and Saturday afternoon hours (3â€“8 p.m.). Immediately opposite Fallaâ€™s house, Che frequented the Club de Golf, acquiring a taste for the game that lasted into his Cuban years.
Gruta (cave) Virgen de Lourdes: it is located 3 kms far from the city center. It was built in 1916, it is a replica of the cave of the Montes of the Pirineos (France). It was built in the rock, under a natural frame.
When we came back to Villa General Belgrano, a group of goats came up quickly to us…
they were looking for tourist with tasty cookies… And surely they felt very disappointed when they discovered that we didnÂ´have any cookies…
Itâ€™s an easy day trip from the capital, but worth considering for an overnight.
Departing from this place, one can visit nearby cities like RÃo Cuarto, La Cumbrecita, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, Villa El Dique or Villa General Belgrano.
For more information, visit http://www.altagracia.gov.ar