Southern Cone Under the British
Cordova, in central Argentina, is the capital and largest city of the province of the same name and is 710 kilometres from Buenos Aires, having 1,670,000 people in the metropolitan area. This applies almost as much to Auchmuty-Whitelocke World (AWW) as to our world. It is known as Córdoba in Spanish, and is about midway between the River Plate and the Chilean border. At the foot of the Central Sierra at 400 metres above sea level, it is a crossroads for movement of goods and people within the country. The local area code for calling is 0351 (formerly 051), within the +54 country code.
Founded in 1573, it served as a major centre of colonial-era Argentina, located as it is nearer to Peru, the hub of Spanish South America, than Buenos Aires is. Unlike in our world, control of Cordova City passed over to the British from the Spaniards and Creoles in 1809 after fierce fighting between the British and the Spanish-speakers. Ever since, Cordova has been a centre of resistance to the federal Argentine government, and has been a headquarters of the Hispano-Argentine independence movement. There were nationalist riots in 1969 and subsequently in 1971; the former inspired similar riots in much of the country. These riots were known as the Cordobazos. In the 1970s, radical nationalists mainly with the ERO (Western Revolutionary Army) and Montonero groups attacked angloparlant targets in the city; the situation has since stabilized.
A century earlier, in 1871, it was the home of the British South American Exposition; in 1997, it hosted the World Games for the Deaf (now the Deaflympics). There has been a rivalry with Rosario in being the second-largest city in Argentina.
The city has a hispanoparlant, or Spanish-speaking, majority – at almost three-fifths of the total population. They are descendants of pre-British Creoles or mestizos, and also of more recent immigrants from Spain (mixed in with recent immigration from elsewhere in Latin America, particularly Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay). In fact, Cordova has the biggest hispanoparlant population in the country outside Buenos Aires. The rest is either angloparlant (English-speakers), comprising nearly one-third of the residents, or those whose mother tongue is neither Spanish nor English. Cordova houses the second-largest Arab, Armenian, and Sephardic Jewish communities in Argentina, with only Buenos Aires being bigger. There are relatively few others from most of the other ethnicities. The predominant religion there is Roman Catholicism, though there are some Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Jews, and Muslims. The people in Cordova are called Cordovans in English, and cordobeses in Spanish.
The city is the leading transportation centre of central Argentina. It is served by Pajas Blancas International Airport (the busiest in Argentina outside Buenos Aires, with 15 million passengers annually), a bus station, and Cordova Central train station. Public transit within Cordova includes a city bus network and a trolleybus system, plus a metro system that opened in 1999 and a light rail line that opened two years later.
Cordova, being a very old Spanish-colonial city, offers a wealth of things to see and do, and is a contrast between the old and the new. The most prominent Catholic cathedral is Cordova Cathedral; the leading Protestant one in the city is Saint Luke’s Anglican Cathedral. The densest place for sightseeing is the Jesuit Block (in Spanish, Manzana Jesuítica; also known as the Block of Enlightenment). Among the old churches there are the Iglesia Compañía de Jesús and the Capilla Domestica. The Jesuit Block is a hive of educational activity, with the original part of the Universidad de Córdoba (Argentina’s oldest university) and Colegio de Montserrat (a prestigious high school) taking the lead. (Most of the Universidad de Córdoba moved to the south of the city in the 20th century.) Other sites in the Block include the Cordova Historical Museum, the Jesuit Crypt, the Dr. Genaro Perez Museum of Fine Arts, and San Martin Square (with various churches, museums, and the provincial legislature).
Also in downtown, amongst the skyscrapers lies the 230-foot Central Argentine Tower, in the shape of the CN Tower or Space Needle. Elsewhere, in the New Cordova neighbourhood (south of the old city), you have the Palacio Ferreyra, the Corazon de Jesus Holy Parish, and the Emilio Caraffa Provincial Museum of Modern Art. There is another section, Güemes (goo-AY-mes), which used to be working-class but is now filled with eclectic antique stores and artisan shops; that has a weekend artisans’ fair and the La Cañada stone canal (floodway). Queen's Park provides a refreshing oasis in the heart of the city, and just west of the city, the Central Sierra serves as a retreat for city residents and tourists alike.
Some of the main celebrations are Founding Day (July 6) and the Book Fair (in mid-September), as well as a large crafts market in early April. Others include the SCM International Theatre Festival (drawing in actors from all over the Southern Common Market, aka Mercosur), the Flamenco Festival, and the Cordova Fringe Festival.
By far the favourite sport in Cordova City is soccer, represented there by the Instituto Atletico Central de Cordoba and Talleres de Cordoba (both hispanoparlant). Cricket and rugby are not as important as in the Pampas and Patagonia, though the Cordova Rugby Club is present. Basketball is played by the Atenios.
Although Cordova has a stock exchange of its own, it is no match for Buenos Aires or even Montevideo. The most important industries in Cordova City are automobile, truck, train, and aircraft manufacturing – in effect, the Detroit of Argentina. Other industries exist in the city also, such as information technology and software (one of the most important such centres in the country).
Cordova’s two main theatres/concert halls are the San Martin Theatre and the Royal Theatre; classical-music lovers will appreciate the Cordova Symphony Orchestra and the Cordova Symphonic Band. There is plenty of shopping at the Garden Shopping Centre, and the Olmos Plaza, New Centre, and Dinosaur Malls as well as at markets at or near the city centre.
In Cordova, there are five main hospitals, plus many minor ones. The Hospital de Urgencias and Hospital San Roque serve the Spanish-speaking population, while Cordova City Hospital and Cordova Children's Hospital cater to an English-speaking clientele; the Allende Sanitorium is bilingual.
The main newspapers in Cordova are the hispanoparlant La Voz del Interior and the angloparlant Post.
Since Cordova City is predominantly Spanish-speaking, much education is provided in that language, though there are some English-language offerings. The best English-language private schools in the city are Manson College, Saint George’s School, and the Cordova School for Girls; as previously mentioned, the most famous Spanish private school is the Colegio Nacional de Montserrat. Most higher education in Cordova is done in Spanish, with the Universidad de Córdoba (founded in 1613) leading the way. Other such schools include the Universidad Católica de Córdoba, Universidad Blas Pascal, and Universidad Empresarial Siglo 21 (business). There is also one English-language university – Graham Williams University. Cordova also has one branch of the National Technological University of Argentina, as well as the Cordova Institute of Technology and the Aeronautical University Institute. The only angloparlant liberal-arts college in Cordova is Anniston College.
Luxury hotels in Cordova include the Hotel de la Cañada, NH Panorama Hotel, and the Ducal Suites.
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Around Cordova City, especially in the highlands to the west, there is plenty to do. A good start is the resort town of Paisley, in the Central Sierras; that attracts so many vacationers during the day and night that it is second only to Platesea in terms of the numbers of tourists during the summer. That town has a small Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. Paisley, plus many quieter locales in the Sierras, is filled with fresh mountain air to escape from the city, plus lots of outdoor activities.
One of the smaller towns, Summit, was settled by English immigrants and has manicured gardens and big brick buildings, and is also known for its trout fishing and reputation as a writers’ haven; it is 1142 metres above sea level. Another such village, El Sauce, proudly celebrates its German heritage in many ways, including a big Oktoberfest.
Also near Cordova, in Cosquín and in La Falda, there are folk music festivals. The vicinity of Cordova also hosts graceful pre-British colonial towns like Alta Gracia and Jesús María.
Much of the information on this page, especially about the tourist attractions, shopping, hospitals, theatres, and hotels, is derived from the Lonely Planet Guide - Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay, Lonely Planet Publications, 4th edition, 2002, and other sources, and is altered for AWW conditions.
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