The last far-away destination that I visited in Argentina was the city of Córdoba, which is the capital city of the province of Córdoba. It is the second biggest city in Argentina by population after Buenos Aires.
The first thing I did when I arrived was go on a walking tour where I learned a great deal about the history of the province and the city itself. The history of the name of Córdoba is pretty simple. The founder, a Spaniard named Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera, named it after the city of Córdoba in Andalusia, Spain because that was his wife’s birthplace. In actuality the full name is “Córdoba de la Nueva Andalucía” (Córdoba of the New Andalusia).
The tour started in Plaza San Martin which is the name of many places in Argentina. For example, there is also a “Plaza San Martin” in Buenos Aires. José de San Martin is an important figure in South American history. He is known as the liberator of Argentina, as well as Peru and Chile. For this reason, his name appears in many areas of Argentina. My tour guide said that if you are lost in any of these countries, just ask someone where the Plaza San Martin is and you’ll probably end up in the city center. The plaza also has a beautiful cathedral and the city hall or “cabildo.”
Then we went to see the first university of Argentina, the National University of Córdoba. Because of this, Córdoba has the nickname of “La Docta” which translates to “The Scholar” or “The Learned Person” in Spanish. It was founded in 1613, originally by the Jesuits who have played a big role in the Argentinian history. The very location of the university is located in what is known as the “Jesuit Block” which also includes a church and other buildings. In addition, their history is easily seen in much of the amazing architecture around Córdoba. However, they were expelled before making their return years later. The city of Córdoba is a great mixture of new and old architecture. In that way, it reminded me of Buenos Aires but so different at the same time. I felt like being there for only 4 days was not enough!
Outside of the capital, the next place I visited was “La Cumbrecita” which is a little town in the sierras of Córdoba Province that was founded by Germans. Just walking through the path surrounded by the buildings, I felt like I took a little trip to Germany. I’m sure I could show someone my photos and fool them into thinking I went to Europe! The path is full of German restaurants and souvenir shops that sell German-style clothing and objects with the German and Argentinian flags conjoined. There are even workers offering samples in traditional German clothes. It was a very different feeling to being in Buenos Aires or even Córdoba, which was only a couple of hours away!
Another drive away is the Villa General Belgrano, another small village in the valley with more amazing German style buildings and tourist sites. With my time there, I was able to eat and buy some lovely souvenirs. I never thought I’d feel like I was in Europe when I was really in the middle of Argentina!