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Jesuit missions
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What are they?
Historic ruins of the missions built by Jesuit priests in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

What is there to do?
Visit the ruins and churches of the Jesuit Missions reveals part of the splendor of European art taken to the Southern Cone by Jesuit priests. Native Guarani people lived in the Jesuit missions, attracted by the preaching of the Gospel. The missions were veritable cities nestled in the jungle between the 17th and 18th centuries. Besides the church, which was the center of everything, there was a hospital, a home for the elderly, schools, housing and food, workshops, and even small industries. The missions were the place where people first started manufacturing iron, making the first fabrics and raising cattle in the continent. In Paraguay and Argentina alone, it is estimated that over 100 thousand Guaranis were taken to the missions. Late in the 18th century, after major conflicts resulting in thousands of deaths, especially on the natives' side, Portugal and Spain cast out the Jesuits. The natives ended up exterminated, while the missions lost part of their former wealth throughout the battles.

When?
Year-round. Travel agencies offer packages leaving from Foz do Iguaçu. Tourists visit the seven Paraguayan missions and 14 sites on Argentinean territory. The tour lasts a whole day.

Where?
From the 30 Jesuit missions identified in the Southern Cone, seven are located in eastern Paraguay and 14 in northern Argentina, very close to the border with Foz do Iguaçu, and within a 300 kilometer radius.