The city of Córdoba was founded in the late sixteenth century and owes much of its early development to the presence of Jesuits settlers. Currently, it is the second largest city in Argentina with a population of nearly 1.5 million inhabitants. It is located in the center of the country, about 700km (430mi) away from the capital, Buenos Aires, and 650km (400mi) from Mendoza. The border with Uruguay, in Fray Bentos, also is 700km (430mi) away, while the closest border with Chile, near the Elqui Valley, is over 750km (460mi) away and the border with Brazil, in Uruguaiana, is at a distance of some 800km (500mi).
Córdoba is an important university town and seat of the second oldest university in South America, the National University of Córdoba, founded in 1613 by the Jesuits. Also built by the Jesuits, the Cathedral of Córdoba is the oldest still standing in Argentine soil. Next to the cathedral, still in the San Martín Square, the heart of the city, you will find the old Cabildo, currently transformed into the City Museum, which houses exhibits about the Cordovan past and some archaeological finds. Nearby, the Monastery of the Barefoot Carmelites of St. Teresa de Jesús, completed in 1770, plays host for a museum that usually features temporary exhibits. Also in the neighborhood, just two blocks south from Plaza San Martín, the Manzana de los Jesuitas (Jesuits’ Block) features the Temple of the Society of Jesus, the rectorate of the National University of Córdoba and the Colegio Nacional de Montserrat.
Other points of interest in the city center include the building of the Provincial Legislature, located one block away from the Cabildo, the Museum of Fine Arts, that displays works belonging mainly to the Cordovan school of painting, located another block away, and the Jesuit Crypt, two blocks north of the Legislature or the Museum of Fine Arts, where the newly discovered ruins of an old novitiate can be visited. Just a few blocks west of the core of the city, a walk along the stream channeled by stone walls in a structure known as La Cañada is a pleasant way to spend some leisure time.
There are several tour options around Córdoba. The most sought after destinations among locals are the resort town of Villa Carlos Paz, located on the banks of Lake San Roque, 35km (22mi) from the city center, popular especially in summer, and the more interesting Path of History, which follows Route 9 for 150km (90mi) north of Córdoba. A more original alternative may be to head south towards the Calamuchita Valley, where the Champaquí Hill, the highest peak of the province, allows for a beautiful getaway among the nature, 200km (125mi) away from Córdoba.