The estancias around Jesus Maria

Cordoba Travel Blog

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Exterior view of Estancia Jesus Maria.

Had another day of Jesuits today!  Took a mini-bus to the town of Jesus Maria, and found ourselves in the company of a lovely man called David who hails from Charleston in the US (we saw him on our wanders around Alta Gracia yesterday).  We all walked about 15 minutes out to the Estancia Jesus Maria, where we got in for free (think it´s something to do with a week for museums).  One section of the building had an exhibition of modern Byzantine-style icons - not quite sure why, but interesting to see the ones depicting an Inca-style Jesus.  This estancia was famous for its wine production, and the cellar here produced the first bottle of American wine to be drunk in Europe, sent to the Spanish royal table.  The old bodega now houses an exhibition of the local indigenous cultures and their relationship with the land.

Interior courtyard of Estancia Jesus Maria.
 Some old winemaking equipment is on display in the grounds outside for those interested.  This estancia was quite run down when taken over by the state, it had squatters living in it and needed quite a bit of restoration work, but once again the government seems to have spent the money well and the results are impressive.  This site is fairly small, but the setting is lovely in a big park through which you can wander or picnic.

Next stop (after a detour for lunch) was Estancia Caroya, about a 30 minute walk from Jesus Maria.  There are no English translations at this museum, but the lady in charge spoke clearly and slowly to ensure that we could grasp her explanation so with some basica Spanish you would get the general idea.

View from the gardens of Estancia Jesus Maria, with the chapel in the far left.
  The rooms are set out in wings, the first contains Jesuit exhibits, the second focuses on the small arms factory that existed here for a time, and the third is all about the estancia´s time as a hostel for Italian immigrants in the 1870s.  The paddock leading in to the estancia from the road also contains remains of the old farm buildings, and there are signs explaining what they were at the relevant places, so also quite interesting. 

Our very helpful lady here then called us a taxi so that we could make the 20km journey out to our last stop, Estancia Santa Catalina.  She negotiated us a good price of 55 pesos, so between three of us that wasn´t too bad for a round trip and up to one hour at the site.  We arrived fairly late at this site, so our tour was fairly perfunctory, but this estancia is certainly one of the most visually spectacular and in a wonderful setting.

Bell tower at Estancia Jesus Maria.
  It is the only estancia remaining in private ownership and has been in the same family for 300 years - five members of the family still actually live on the site, so many rooms and areas are inaccessible to the public.

After our return to the township of Jesus Maria, we stopped in a pub for a drink and to recover from our walks (getting quite fond of Fernet and coke!), before returning to Cordoba on the mini-bus.  As we walked up the hill to our hotel, we noticed a ´per kilo´restaurant where you help yourself to food which is then weighed and priced accordingly.  Food was quite nice, and the plates were pretty reasonable, although the got you on the desserts, which were paid per portion.  Nice, though, and could fill up on vegies or salad, which is often sadly lacking in the restaurant meals here.

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Exterior view of Estancia Jesus Ma…
Exterior view of Estancia Jesus M…
Interior courtyard of Estancia Jes…
Interior courtyard of Estancia Je…
View from the gardens of Estancia …
View from the gardens of Estancia…
Bell tower at Estancia Jesus Maria.
Bell tower at Estancia Jesus Maria.
Entrance to Estancia Caroya.
Entrance to Estancia Caroya.
Interior courtyard of Estancia Car…
Interior courtyard of Estancia Ca…
Exterior view of Estanca Santa Cat…
Exterior view of Estanca Santa Ca…
First courtyard of Estancia Santa …
First courtyard of Estancia Santa…
Back courtyard of Estancia Santa C…
Back courtyard of Estancia Santa …
One of the two ratters at Estancia…
One of the two ratters at Estanci…
The old slave quarters at Estancia…
The old slave quarters at Estanci…
Cordoba
photo by: sissanoel