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Nov, 17/2019
(GMT -3)

Jesuit Missions

About the Jesuit Sites (Reducciones) 
Where in South America?
Urban Planning and Architecture
Is there something left today?
Redução de San Ignácio Mini
How were the missions built?
Where in South America?
click to enlargeThe Jesuits conducted this bold experiment in religious colonization in the 17th and 18th centuries. The area of the reducciones encompassed a vast region of modern day Argentina, Paraguay, southern Brazil, Uruguay and Bolivia. They were one of the most singular creations of Catholic missionary activity.
Urban Planning and Architecture
click to enlargeA single urban model with small variations was used in the construction of all the Missions. The main street always led through the square to the front of the church because the church was considered the most important building. The natives houses, the town council building, and the councilors houses were built around the huge square. The square was the center of each mission. All the processions, military parades, games, festivals, and religious theater occurred in the square. Next to the church there were communal buildings; at one side the monks house, the school and workshops, on the other side the cemetery and the asylum (cotiguassu) where the elders and orphans lived. Behind the church were the vegetable garden (quinta) and the orchard. On the periphery were located fountains, brickworks and leather workshops. There were also pools, chapels, ranches and herb fields. The itacuru stone was often used in the construction of buildings. In some missions, iron was extracted by melting this rock. The buildings were made of stone or stone bricks called ardune. They were covered with clay tile and all of them had a porch. The administrative building always had a big internal courtyard.
click to enlargeThe Baroque style influenced the urban planning, architecture, sculpture, paintings, theater and music of the Missions. The monks brought their artistic knowledge from Europe and together with the Guarani created a style know as Mission Art (Arte Missioneira). The churches were ornamented with stone sculpture and carvings in polychromed wood. Sandstone carvings on the outside walls represented religious themes and native flora and fauna. Native orchestras performed music with American and European instruments.
Is there something left today?
click to enlargeWe are left today with the beautiful ruins of some of the reducciones and the indigenous language, Guarani, which is the native official language in Paraguay. The Guarani Indians have almost disappeared; their numbers now reduced to more than 50.000 people.
Redução de San Ignácio Mini
click to enlargeSan Ignácio Mini foi fundada em 1611 na região Del Guairí atual estado brasileiro do Paraná. Sua populaçãoo abandonou a região em 1631 escapando os ataques dos bandeirantes, na localização definitiva houve um grande desenvolvimento urbano e San Inácio hoje possui o maior conjunto urbano preservado das missões. A igreja e o colégio foram concluídos por volta de 1724, tendo neles trabalhado o irmão jesuíta Pietro Gronse e o famoso escultor Brasanelli. Sua população atingiu 4,300 habitantes em 1731. Na década de 1940 as paredes remanescentes foram reestruturadas permitindo uma compreensão clara dos espaços, praças, ruas, casas dos índios, colégio e oficina. As ruínas na Argentina sãp localizadas 280 Km de Foz do Iguaçu no sentido sul, é necessário um dia inteiro para visitá-la.
How were the missions built?
click to enlargeThe reducciones were centers of community life. The main buildings, the church, the school, and the churchyards, were concentrated on one side of a wide square. The Indian natives houses faced the other three sides of the square. The villages also contained a house for widows and orphans, a hospital, and several warehouses. In the center of the square on a tall base, rose a huge cross and a statue of the patron Saint for which the reduccione was named.

The Jesuit Missions HistoryHow to visit them in Argentina

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