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Visit Cordoba

How to Spend Your Downtime in Cordoba

Córdoba is a city where you can truly get the best of both worlds, whether getting to know a city is for you all about being a culture vulture or if you are more of a night owl, there is something here for you. Two groups in society have played a large role in making Córdoba the place that you see before you today, and they are the Jesuits and the University students. The difference between these two groups (especially if you have in your mind's eye a picture of today's average student, crawling out of bed at noon and falling out of a club at daybreak) is on display as you wander around the city. There are beautiful churches and buzzing cafe terraces and bars in equal measure and each help to give the city a unique and energetic feel.

Cultural Córdoba

Starting off with the influence of the Jesuits; they arrived in Córdoba in 1599 and began to develop what was then a small settlement. They built a church, the 'Colégio Máximo' (Nowadays known as the National University of Córdoba), the prestigious Montserrat College and many other buildings, contained within one block (or 'manzana') in Córdoba city. You can visit most of the buildings today and take a guided tour of part of the University, which shows you the library and the room where post-doctorate students used to have to defend their thesis in the early 19th Century and if they failed to do so they would be pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables as they hung their head in shame. This has all changed nowadays of course. They throw alfajores instead.... The University tours are informative and interesting and give you an insight into the beginnings of the University and how it has developed into one of the most respected institutions in the Americas.

Cordoba Plaza

Whilst some of the oldest buildings in Córdoba are to be found in Plaza San Martín, there are also very pleasant areas to be explored such as Cañada and Nueva Córdoba in general. There are also plenty of zones for heading for a quiet tipple and a snack or a lively night out on the tiles. Güemes, Alta Córdoba and Ex-Abasto are all good spots for this.

If you feel like doing a bit more sight-seeing then some of the Churches that are worth a look are the Cathedral, built by a combined effort of the Jesuits and the Franciscans and boasts a rather lavish interior. Also worth a stop off is Parroquia Sagrado Corazón de Jesús de los Capuchinos, located on the corner of Buenos Aires and Obispo Oro, and whose most prominent feature is its missing spire, left out on purpose to signify human imperfection. Very profound. Be sure to also check out La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesus, a church dating from as far back as 1645 whose interior roof is designed in the shape of an inverted ship's hull. If all of this doesn't overload you with culture then Córdoba also has an abundance of Museums to offer, with everything from modern art, religious art, folk art, fossils, motor bikes, coin collections and meteorology gadgets on display. Some of the most popular Museums include the Museo Iberoamericano de Artesanías on the corner of Belgrano and Rodriguez, the Emilio Caraffa Provincial Fine Arts Museum on Avenida L. Lugones , the Museo Cultural General Paz, Pringles/Catamarca meanwhile a little further afield in Alta Gracia,you will find the Museo Ernesto Che Guevara, previously the family home and now containing items such as the original bike he travelled on on his first journey throughout South America.

For some tranquility and peace, perhaps after a hard day's Spanish studying or maybe a few too many fernets the night before, then head to one of the city's many parks. One of the most frequented is Sarmiento in the Nueva Córdoba area of the city which is great for wildlife watching and has an artificial lake, grassy areas, flower gardens and even a zoo. The city has many other parks and gardens dotted throughout its different neighbourhoods and zones so keep an eye out and maybe go for a stroll through them. It is a pleasant way to relax and maybe even learn some Spanish vocabulary to show off to everyone in class the next day. It is the city of the wise after all!

Music and Maté

Córdoba has quite a warm climate and in summer heatwaves are not uncommon. But, most Spanish schools and cafes and bars are well prepared and equipped with air conditioning. In summer, University students will start to appear in the early evening and fill the plazas and parks, gathering to share some maté and enjoy the cooler temperatures and this time of day. On a Saturday and Sunday evening, from around 6pm there is an arts and crafts fair every week on Paseo de las Artes in Achával Rodríguez at La Cañada. It has a delightful mix-match of jewellery, painting, second hand books and handmade cakes and alfajores.

Cordoba Festival

If you happen to be in Córdoba in and around the month of January then you will be able to experience one of Argentina's largest festivals, the Festival de Doma y Folclore in the small town of Jesús María just 50 minutes outside of Córdoba city. It is a lively affair celebrating Argentinean culture and providing an opportunity to witness horse breaking demonstrations, traditional music and dance and of course, plenty of food. Music and dance, as in most parts of Argentina, plays a large role in the life of the Cordoba people. You can catch a salsa or tango show pretty much any night of the week, and even have a go yourself and learn a few moves. There is even a particular type of dance originating from the city of Córdoba, called El Cuarteto, which is a lively dance, similar to some styles of merengue.

Nightlife

You will certainly have plenty of opportunity to put any moves you learn into practice in one of Cordoba's many nightlife hot spots, where you can dance and be merry right into the small hours without even realising the time go by. There is everything on offer from quiet tapas and drinks bars to raucous electronic clubs, with everything from traditional tango music to reggae and hip hop featuring in between. With some careful planning in and around your Spanish classes and study hours there is a lot out there to be taken advantage of in Córdoba, so go with the University students flow and experience one of Argentina's best nights out on the tiles!