Welcome to Cordoba, Argentina: a city known for playing hub to a number of universities, scientific institutions, and technology-based businesses. True, it may not win any awards for aesthetic urban planning with its oddly dispersed array of skyscrapers, historic districts, graffiti covered buildings and yes, even a large Ferris Wheel. It was, after all, developed industrially as an automobile and aircraft manufacturing metropolis. But for those in search of a young, energetic city that marries 16th century colonial architecture with a modern urban skyline, this is your place.
The Manzana Jesuitica, or Jesuit Square, is by far the most popular cultural attraction in Cordoba. Located just south of the city center, this UNESCO World Heritage Site houses one of the country’s most prestigious universities, and some of Cordoba’s most beautiful architecture. You’ll also want to remember names like Plaza San Martin, with its neighboring cathedral and cabildo, and the protected San Telmo-style Barrio Guemes district. These make great jumping off points for a cultural exploration of a downtown that includes over 20 museums (Carrafa), 12 parks and squares (San Martin, Sarmiento), 7+ theaters (Teatro del Libertador) and a host of historic churches.
Should your eye for cultural intrigue take you out of the immediate Cordoba area, however, you’re still in luck. Just southwest of the city in neighboring Alta Gracia you’ll encounter the childhood home-turned-museum of Che Guevara, one of Argentina’s most recognized and divisive sons. There’s also the Cerro Colorado Cultural Reserve further north, where you can view aboriginal cave paintings and other unique archeological findings. Pair informative day trips like these with a glut of activities inside the city limits and you have a destination well on its way towards establishing itself as Argentina’s cultural heavyweight outside of Buenos Aires.