Jesuits, Che and a composer

Alta Gracia Travel Blog

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The church attached to the Museum of the Estancia Alta Gracia.

Spent today in the nearby town of Alta Gracia, founded around a Jesuit Estancia from the 1600s.  The mini-bus driver dropped us off right on the Plaza and gave us a few directions, but seeing as the estancia is right on the other side of the plaza, it wasn´t too hard to find!  The church on the side of the museum is not part of the complex, and is undergoing renovations so not a lot to see, although the founder of the town and one-time owner of the estancia is buried here.  The buildings housing hte Museum of the Jesuit Estancie of Alta Gracia went through various private hands after the Jesuits were expelled and was then expropriated by the state in the late 1960s.

Old blacksmiths in the grounds of Estancia Alta Gracia.
  It has been very well restored and the excavation works are well documented and explained.  Each room has a sheet explaining the exhibits in Spanish, English and French and the life of the estancia has been well presented.  The buildings themselves are lovely and would have been quite a haven from the harsh life outside.  This estancia (and most of the others in the region) were essentially founded to fund the colleges in Cordoba, and were also used as ´holiday homes´for the students in summer.  They were built by slaves, although we are told that the Jesuits did not call them slaves as they were treated better and apparently considered more employees.

After walking around the lake (which was originally the dam for the estancia) and up the hill - and having a most enjoyable lunch in a local restaurant - we stopped in at the ´La casa del Che´, the home where Che Guevara spent his childhood years.

The House of Che - where he spent much of his childhood.
  Apparently he suffered from asthma as a child, and the air in Alta Gracia was supposed to be better for his health.  The house, again, has been very well restored and the exhibits are interesting and thoroughly explained in English.  The exhibition centres on Che´s childhood and his early adult years, including his cycle and motorbike rides through South America.  It touches briefly on his revolutionary days, but that is not the focus of the museum, so you get a different aspect to that normally presented.  He was obviously a charismatic child as well, because no-one had a bad word to say about him!

Our last stop was the house where the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla spent his last years, being cared for by his (we suspect, long suffering!) sister.

Bust of Che with the flags of Argentina and Cuba, in the house museum.
  This is a much small museum, and consists mostly of performance outfits, batons, copies of scores and various family heirlooms.  Unless you are interested in de Falla and his music, this museum may not necessarily be worth the walk.  There are few English translations here, so unless your Spanish is quite good, you will have trouble working out what happened in de Falla´s life.

After getting the mini-bus back to Cordoba, we found our way to a bar near our hotel and enjoyed the local speciality of Fernet and Coke (strikes us as being of a similar taste to Campari) and watched the traffic fight it´s way through an intersection of two busy roads without traffic lights - kept us amused for quite a while!

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The church attached to the Museum …
The church attached to the Museum…
Old blacksmiths in the grounds of …
Old blacksmiths in the grounds of…
The House of Che - where he spent …
The House of Che - where he spent…
Bust of Che with the flags of Arge…
Bust of Che with the flags of Arg…
Alta Gracia
photo by: sissanoel