On May 20, but 1591, the Spanish Riojan Juan Ramírez de la Piscina de Velasco y Ábalos, 52 years old, founded the City of Todos los Santos de La Nueva Rioja , which is today the capital of the province of La Nueva Rioja homonymous in Argentina.
The conqueror was one of Philip II's favorite in this part of the continent. Juan before arriving in the Indias had a high military activity in Europe. The first recognition was to appoint him governor of Tucumán . With that charge he arrives at the foot of a hill that eventually would carry his surname and, as required by the Laws of the Indias , he walks the Royal Banner in the area where the Plaza Mayor would rise, nailed the roll into it and declared founded the city, which he baptized with the aforementioned name in memory of his terroir.
The conquering caravan consisted of 500 soldiers and native Calchaquis, 750 horses, 4000 heads of cattle, and four Dominican friars. Among them Friar Alonso Trueno . In the founding act Ramirez de Velazco puts the village under the protection of the martyr of the Order San Pedro de Verona, first patron saint of La Rioja.
Since then, with some brief interruptions, Dominican friars were present in the life of the people of Rioja , exercising their missionary vocation as preachers of the Gospel. Recently the Order left the territory of the province and all its temples passed to the secular clergy.
Getting to know the temple
From the most important square of the capital of Rioja, take along Pelagio Luna street and after walking two blocks, at the crossroads of Lamadrid street, you reach the place where the convent is located.
The old walls of Calicanto built by the natives next to the tiled carob frame of the entrance portal are the only thing that remains in the early seventeenth century . That is enough to be considered the oldest church in Argentina.
The rest of the structure underwent modifications through the various parts carried out. The most important was the one that repaired the damage caused by the 1894 earthquake.
In what was formerly the sacristy there are sacred ornaments from the colonial era . Also a Silver Processional Cross made in 1671. In addition, an embroidered silk tablecloth, donated by General Angel Vicente Peñaloza to the Virgen del Rosario . The military was a warlord of these lands in unitary and federal times, the name given to the civil war in this country.
The nave of the oldest church in Argentina is rectangular in plan. It measures only 47 meters and its width does not reach seven meters. What surprised me most is the great thickness of its side walls, made of stones and adobe , they measure 1.25 meters.
In the simple altarpiece is the image of the Virgin of the Naturals (Our Lady of the Rosary), next to that of Santo Domingo de Guzmán , founder of the Order of Dominicans, and that of St. Francis of Assisi .
Opening hours : The temple is open from Monday to Saturday, from 9:00 to 12:30 and from 18:00 to 22:00. On Sundays, their doors open only in the morning.
Patron saint festivities : they are held on August 8. On that occasion, the dress image of Santo Domingo de Guzmán is carried in procession.
Visiting the huge Neo-Byzantine Cathedral of 1899, with sober tones, contains the image of the patron saint Nicholas of Bari. It is an object of devotion for both the Riojans and the inhabitants of the neighboring provinces.
We suggest you continue reading the following notes:
Periodista desde 1988, especializado en turismo. Escribe para medios gráficos y digitales de nuestro país y el extranjero. Fundador de LOS CABRERA Comunicación.