On and around Plaza San Martín, Córdoba’s compact center lends itself to walking. For US$13 pp, the Servicio de Guías de Turismo (Rosario de Santa Fe 39, tel. 0351/428-5600, guiasdecordoba [at] gmail [dot] com) conducts two-hour city tours, including the city’s Jesuit heritage, at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday and at 9:30 a.m. Sunday and holidays, as well as a subterranean tour at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday–Friday; foreign-language tours cost US$5 more.
Another option is a London bus excursion (US$3.50 pp) with Córdoba City Tour (Chacabuco 325, tel. 0351/424-6605, www.cordobacitytour.com.ar), leaving from the cathedral once or twice daily.
On the plaza’s west side, the colonial Cabildo de Córdoba (Independencia 30) dates from 1775. Immediately south, several architects needed more than a century to complete the Iglesia Catedral (1758). On the north side, dating from 1700, the Casa del Obispo Mercadillo (Rosario de Santa Fe 39) was home to the bishop who transferred the episcopate from Tucumán to Córdoba, reinforcing Córdoba’s religious primacy; note the baroque facade and forged-iron balcony.
Two blocks east, the Museo Histórico Provincial Marqués de Sobremonte (Rosario de Santa Fe 218) is the provincial history museum, in an 18th-century house distinguished by its balcony and corner pillar. One block farther east, dating from 1763, the Hospital San Roque (Rosario de Santa Fe and Salguero) stands alongside the better-preserved Iglesia San Roque (1764).
Half a block south of the plaza, the 18th-century Iglesia de Santa Teresa y Convento de Carmelitas Descalzas de San José houses the Museo de Arte Religioso Juan de Tejeda (Independencia 122, tel. 0351/570-2545, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Wed.–Sat., US$2.50). One block west is the Legislatura Provincial (Provincial Legislature, Rivera Indarte and Rosario de Santa Fe).
Two blocks north, beneath Avenida Colón, neophyte priests studied at the Cripta Jesuítica del Noviciado Viejo. To the south, the pedestrian mall of Obispo Trejo was Córdoba’s Manzana Jesuítica, also known as Manzana de las Luces (Block of Enlightenment). Together with other Jesuit establishments throughout the province, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site; its standout landmark is the 17th-century Iglesia de La Compañía.
In Nueva Córdoba, the Almacén de la Memoria (Rivera 287) is a former general store recycled as a space for young (and talented) provincial artists to show their work. Popularly known as the Casa de Pepino for its original owner, José Tucci, its quirky corner balcony resembles the prow of a steamship. Hours are 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday; admission is free.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition