Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis: San Ignacio Mini, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto and Santa Maria Mayor (Argentina), Ruins of Sao Miguel das Missoes (Brazil)

 Argentina (Posadas, Obera, Eldorado)
 Brazil (Ijui, Santo Angelo, Santa Maria)
State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; Province of Misiones, Argentina
S28 32 36 W54 15 57
Date of Inscription: 1983
Extension: 1984
iv. to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
Ref: 275bis
The impressive remains of these five Jesuit missions, built in the land of the Guaranis during 17th and 18th centuries, are outstanding examples of a type of building and architectural ensemble which illustrate a significant period of Argentina and Brazil history. The ruins of Saõ Miguel das Missões in Brazil and those of San Ignacio Miní, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto and Santa María la Mayor in Argentina lie in the heart of a tropical forest.
These settlements, though characterized by a specific layout and a different conservation state, are laid out on the same model. The communities that Jesuits established there, reducciones, were Jesuit missions designed to house the church, the Jesuit Fathers residence, and regularly spaced Guariani Indians houses laid out around large square. The Jesuit missions to the Guariani peoples also brought education, a university, and publication of books in both Latin and Guarani. These reducciones, or communal mission villages, also to protect them from slavers.
The San Ignacio Miní mission is well-preserved, and incorporates important monumental remains, providing the most eminent example of a settlement preserved on Argentinean territory. The ruins, which are in the Guarani baroque style, was founded in 1611. At the height of activity, around the year 1730, some 4,000 people lived here.
Santa Ana, founded in 1633 and presently 45km from Posadas, resisted pillage following the Jesuits expulsion in 1767. The church ruins, which are accessible by a monumental stairway, emerge from a forest site.
Nuestra Señora de Loreto, founded in 1610, and presently 53km from Posadas, included a printing-press. The church and Fathers’ house were built by Brother Bressanelli, as at San Ignacio Miní, while the Indian village ruins have been partially cleared of vegetation.
Santa María la Mayor, founded in 1626, does have the church ruins and fathers’ residence remains still standing.
Saõ Miguel, founded on the site of the Itaiaceco in 1632, is presently on Piratini banks. The only building remains that are intact are the Fathers’ residence foundation, school, and cemetery walls, along with vestiges of Indian habitations. In a site that is periodically invaded by vegetation are found the baroque church ruins attributed to Father Gian Battista Primoli, a Milanese Jesuit architect, well known for his work in Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Concepción.

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