Mission of San Ignacio Mini
Trip Start Feb 17, 2010
56Trip End Apr 15, 2010
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We crossed into Argentina again this morning. Suddenly there are eucalyptus and pine tree plantations and little lumber mills among the palms . I saw more small villages with random houses not unlike my hometown of Perth, New York. We stopped at the Mission San Ignacio Mini and saw ruins. The mission was founded and managed by two Jesuit priests and 4-5 thousand Guaranis - the local indigenous population. There was a big church, jail, cemetery, widows' houses for widows and orphans and old people, barracks with quarters for each man, wife and their children. The Guarani had to give up polytheism and polygamy - no more 15 wives. When we asked why they had so many wives, our guide told us that the men led dangerous lives so not that many survived and the women had to share the remaining ones.
The ruins were pretty
ruined...but restoration had begun and parts of the walls of the church and the
dormitories were up so you could get an idea of what it had looked like
We camped at a little German-family campground and our cook group made dinner of chicken burgers. They were Lou's inspiration. The potato salad turned to mashed potatoes. One minute we had potato chunks and then when we strained them, they turned to mush. People seemed to like mashed potatoes best anyway.
Here is a description of San Ignacio Mini from Wikipedia:
San Ignacio Miní was one of the many missions founded in 1632 by the Jesuits in the Americas during the Spanish colonial period near present-day San Ignacio valley, some 60km south of Posadas, Misiones Province, Argentina.
The original mission was erected near the year 1610 by priests José Cataldino and Simón Maceta in the region called Guayrá by the natives and La Pinería by the Spanish conquistadores in present Paraná State, Brazil. Because of the constant attacks of the Portuguese Bandeirantes, the mission first moved in 1632, and didn't settle in its current location until 1696, and was called San Ignacio Miní (minor in Guaraní) to distinguish it from its bigger homonym San Ignacio Guazú (great).
In the 18th century the mission had a population of around 3000
people, and a rich cultural and handicraft activity, which was
commercialized through the nearby Paraná RiverSuppression of the Society of Jesus
of 1767, the Jesuits left the mission a year later, and the mission
finally destroyed in 1817, as well as other missions in the area.
The ruins are one of the best preserved among the several build in a territory today belonging to Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, and one of the most visited due to its accessibility. Lost in dense vegetation, the remains of the "Guaraní baroque" stile constructions were found in 1897, and gained the interest of the population after the 1903 expedition by poet Leopoldo Lugones, but its restoration didn't begin until 1940.
The main square was surrounded by the church, a cabildo, a cemetery, a monastery and some houses. The magnificent church with 74 metres length and 24 metres width was designed by Italian priest Juan Brasanelli,
and build using the local red sandstone. The width of the walls are
around 2 metres, what in spite of the fragile material let the
constructions remain standing after over two centuries.
In 1984 the ruins were declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and currently hold the Museo Jesuítico de San Ignacio Miní museum. Other Jesuit missions' ruins in the Misiones Province are Reducción de Santa Ana, Santa María La Mayor, and Nuestra Señora de Loreto. The World Monuments Fund recently completed restoration work on the main portal.