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San Ignacio Mini: ruins of a Jesuit Guarani mission

Located in the north of Argentina. In the part of Argentine territory that is wedged between Paraguay and Brazil up to the Iguazu Falls. San Ignacio Miní was one of the many missions founded by the Jesuits in South America in the 17th century. At that time they founded about 30 missions in the territory which is today a border between the states of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.

Many ruins of the ancient Jesuit missions are found in the Argentine state of Missiones. Among these we can mention Candelaria, Loreto, Santa Ana, Santa María and finally San Ignacio Mini. The latter is the best preserved of all. Here the artistic and sculptural details that made it the symbol of the style known as Baroque Guaraní are wonderful.

A UNIQUE BAROQUE STYLE

The main building of the mission is its monumental church designed by the Italian Jesuit architect Giuseppe (José) Brasanelli. The church measures 74 meters long and 24 meters wide, has 2 meter thick red sandstone walls and ceramic tile flooring.

In the main square of the San Ignacio Miní settlement, decorated like the rest of the mission by Guaraní artists, in addition to the church there are also the buildings of the kitchen, the dining room, the school, the Jesuit quarter with the cemetery and more 200 houses of the Guaraní Indians.

At the height of the mission’s development, in 1733, the population hosted in the San Ignacio mission reached 4,000 people.

San Ignacio Miní, Misiones, Argentina. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini..

San Ignacio Miní, Misiones, Argentina. Author Marco Ramerini..

Following the defeat that the missionary militias inflicted on the Paulist gangs (bandeirantes) in Mbororé, on the Rio Uruguay in March 1641. The Jesuit reducciones had a constant increase and expansion that lasted until 1732, the year in which the population of the 30 missions then existed reached the remarkable figure of 141.182 inhabitants. Just eight years later, in 1740, the population had shrunk to 73,910 inhabitants due to epidemics. In 1767 the Jesuit order was suppressed by the Pope and the missions were abandoned.

San Ignacio Miní, Misiones, Argentina. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini..

San Ignacio Miní, Misiones, Argentina. Author Marco Ramerini..

The ruins of San Ignacio today also house an interesting museum on the history of the mission and the Guaraní Indians, the Museo Jesuítico de San Ignacio Miní.

Since 1984 San Ignacio Miní together with other missions (San Ignacio Mini, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto and Santa Maria Mayor (Argentina), and the ruins of Sao Miguel das Missoes (in Brazil)) has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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