Around 700km northwest of Buenos Aires, the bustling, modern metropolis of CÓRDOBA sits on a curve in the Río Suquía, at its confluence with the tamed La Cañada brook. The jagged silhouettes visible at the western end of its broad avenues announce that the cool heights of the sierras are not far away, and it’s here that many of the 1.3 million Cordobeses take refuge from the valley’s sweltering heat during summer. Because it lacks the dynamism and style of Rosario, its rival for the title of Argentina’s second city, many people spend only an hour or two here before sprinting off to the nearby resorts. But Córdoba has a wide range of services, and its excellent location makes it an ideal base for exploring the region, while the colonial architecture at its heart remains an attraction in its own right. Moreover, the city is reputed nationwide for its hospitable, elegant population and its caustically ironic sense of humour, something you’ll come to appreciate the longer you stay.

Brief history

On July 6, 1573, Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera, Governor of Tucumán, declared a new city founded at the fork in the main routes from Chile and Alto Perú to Buenos Aires, calling it Córdoba la Llana de la Nueva Andalucía, after the city of his Spanish ancestors. The Monolito de la Fundación, on the north bank of the Río Suquía nearly a kilometre northeast of the Plaza San Martín, supposedly marks the precise spot where the city was founded and commands panoramic views.

Almost from the outset the Society of Jesus played a crucial role in Córdoba’s development, and King Carlos III of Spain’s order to expel the Jesuits from the Spanish empire in 1767 inevitably dealt Córdoba a serious body blow. That, plus the decision in 1776 to make Buenos Aires the headquarters of the newly created Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, might well have condemned the city to terminal decline had it not then been made the administrative centre of a huge Intendencia, or viceregal province, stretching all the way to Mendoza and La Rioja. Like so many Argentine cities, Córdoba benefited from the arrival of the railways in 1870 and a period of prosperity followed, still visible in some of the city’s lavishly decorated banks and theatres. By the close of the nineteenth century, Córdoba had begun to spread south, with European-influenced urban planning on a huge scale, including the Parque Sarmiento. This all coincided with a huge influx of immigrants from Europe and the Middle East.

In the first half of the twentieth century Córdoba emerged as one of the country’s main manufacturing centres. Sadly, the post-2001 crisis boom that occurred in other parts of the country never reached Córdoba, and the industries that once ruled here are now shadows of their former selves. However, despite the recent global economic downturn, the local government has invested heavily in arts and culture in the last few years, with the opening of several new museums and cultural spaces, such as the Museo Superior de Bellas Artes Evita and the Paseo del Buen Pastor.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Argentina features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Mendoza: 9 outdoor activities in Argentina's adventure capital

Mendoza: 9 outdoor activities in Argentina's adventure capital

Travellers on a tour of Argentina often zip through the city of Mendoza, pausing only long enough to down a glass of Malbec at the famed vineyards before rushin…

29 Aug 2018 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
On the trail of Bruce Chatwin in Patagonia

On the trail of Bruce Chatwin in Patagonia

Bruce Chatwin's In Patagonia has served as a bible for those travelling through South America since its publication 40 years ago. Four decades on, Stephen Kee…

08 Nov 2017 • Stephen Keeling insert_drive_file Article
Reaching new heights: what does it take to be a mountain guide?

Reaching new heights: what does it take to be a mountain guide?

For anyone who loves the outdoors, being a mountain guide might seem like the world’s coolest job – in both senses of the word. To find out what it’s rea…

08 Aug 2017 • Ros Walford local_activity Special feature
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs