Ruins of San Ignacio Miní

Duration: approx. 4 hours – Check rates.

The ruins of Jesuit Missions have a high standard of conservation and were declared

  • a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The site is located in the town of San Ignacio, Misiones Province, about 120 km away from Puerto Valle. The tour includes a visit to the interpretation center, the museum and the historical site, accompanied by professional guides of the Jesuit Missions.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE

San Ignacio Miní was a Jesuit reduction founded in the early seventeenth century to evangelize the Guaraní natives.

LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY BEHIND THE RUINS OF SAN IGNACIO MINÍ

The Jesuit missionaries arrived in this area escaping the attacks and invasions of bandeirantes and mamelukes that besieged the Jesuit reductions to capture the natives and sell them as slaves. The Peruvian Jesuit priest, missionary and writer Antonio Ruiz de Montoya arrived with 12,000 aborigines at a location near the Yabebiry stream, where he re-founded Loreto and San Ignacio Miní, also known as San Ignacio de Ipaembucú.

The settlement lasted for 150 years, until the Society of Jesus was expelled from the Spanish colonies. The aborigines did not know how to maintain the structure designed by the Jesuits and this led to a rapid demographic decline.

In 1817, the San Ignacio reduction suffered a looting and was burned along with other reductions, by Paraguayan troops, in the midst of the great anarchy prevailing in the country at that time.

The territory of Misiones was annexed in the following years to Corrientes province. The region was practically uninhabited until 1870, when non-indigenous contingents returned to occupy the region bordering the Paraná River and the Yabebirí stream.

This occupation coincided with the end of the War of the Triple Alliance and the beginning of the definitive separation of Misiones from Corrientes province.

Recent history begins with the measurement made by National Surveyor Don Juan Queirel, who delineated the urban center of San Ignacio by order of the Corrientes provincial authorities, on September 25, 1877. The new town was founded on January 18, 1907 with the arrival of the first settlers, among them Marcelino Boix, Pablo Allain, Joaquín Alcaraz, Pablo Martín, Adolfo Lanusse, and the Palacios brothers, among others.

The Missions of San Ignacio Miní have an Interpretation Center, including descriptions of the daily lives of the Guaraní aboriginal group until the arrival of the Jesuits, and an account of the arrival of the conquerors and the cultural symbiosis that resulted from coexistence. The tour ends with a model of the mission, representing what San Ignacio Miní looked like at the culminating moment of its history.

HOUSE OF HORACIO QUIROGA MUSEUM

The excursion also includes a visit to the House of Horacio Quiroga, a museum that has on display the belongings and testimonies of the work of the Uruguayan writer who settled in San Ignacio in the early twentieth century.

MIGUEL NADASDY MUSEUM

The Miguel Nadasdy Museum was founded by a Romanian citizen who brought some private collections from Europe. Objects on display include a censer that belonged to the Reductions of San Ignacio Miní; a Christ of Patience and the model of Moses, an original piece supposedly crafted by Michelangelo.

Numerous pieces from the Guaranitic and Jesuit Guaraní periods are also on display. Furthermore, the collection includes religious imagery, chandeliers; a Jesuit column in stone bas-relief; farming elements, enameled ceramics, utensils, and numerous documents.