Dominating the prospect from Plaza San Martín, one of Argentina’s few notable 17th-century buildings, Córdoba’s cathedral was the work of several architects, most notably Jesuit Andrés Blanqui (who designed the neoclassical facade) and Franciscan Vicente Muñoz (responsible for the Romanesque dome). Begun in 1677, this extended project resulted in contradictory styles—the towers were the work of an anonymous architect and postdated the building’s inauguration in 1758. The richly decorated interior is the work of Catamarca-born painter Emilio Caraffa (1863–1939).
The cathedral is also the final resting place of several distinguished Cordobeses, including priest-politician Gregorio Funes (1749–1829), a key independence figure, and General José María Paz (1791–1854), whose career spanned the wars of independence and the civil wars against Rosas. The most offbeat presence is the literally heartless Fray Mamerto Esquiú (1826–1883)—following his sudden death and an autopsy, the Franciscan bishop left his heart in his Catamarca birthplace (where the pickled-in-alcohol organ was on display in the order’s landmark church before being stolen a few years ago).
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition