This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to the southern part of Paraguay to see the Jesuit ruins. They tell the story of when the Jesuits came to Paraguay to educate the indigenous tribes in self sufficient towns, or 'missions', on culture, society, literacy, agriculture, and of course, a little bit of evangelicalism. However, in the eighteenth century the Jesuits were forced to leave when Portugal, Spain, and the Catholic Church began to think they were becoming too powerful. Later on in the nineteenth century, some of the ruins were partially restored by the germans, such as the ruins at Cosme y Damian.
The Jesuit ruins in Paraguay aren't a very popular trip among foreigners, even with two of the sites being UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so walking around as a tourist was an interesting experience. There weren't any tours, or tour guides, only a handful of visitors, no signs, and no sound except for the birds in the sky. The ruins are situated away from any busy roads and towns allowing you to stroll through the ruins with ease.
Upon arrival to this site I was in complete awe. The grand size, the architecture, the color of the brick, it was all incredibly beautiful. Though this was only a day trip, these ruins were by far my favorite.
Cosme y Damian, Paraguay
These ruins have been partially restored by the germans in the 90's, the church still in active use. Though it is much smaller than the ruins at Trinidad, it was still a beautiful site to see.
When I saw this by the roadside I had to stop and take a picture, intrigued by the large, carved, stone heads. This was along highway 1, still a far distance from Trinidad and any other ruins, making the sight a spectacle to be seen.
Most people wouldn't choose to visit Paraguay to see these ruins, but I'm glad I was able to walk through them myself. It's a different kind of history than what we normally learn and see about, making this experience one of a kind. And funnily enough, I'm going again in November to see the other sites I didn't have time for, plus a few extra spots, so stay tuned for that trip!
If you want to see more, go watch my travel vlog of this trip on my youtube channel!