São Miguel das Missões

São Miguel is one of several missions built by Spanish Jesuits in Guarani territory in southern Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, in the 17th and 18th centuries. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983. This is where I used to play as a child in the 1950s and I had to go see it again. I'm happy to report that the impressive remains are now very well cared for; I assume we were the last generation allowed to climb the venerable walls (but never, ever to carve our names or take home a piece of rock!)...It was completely deserted then, far from everything; the only access was a dirt road and parking was, well, under any available tree. This remote territory was in dispute between the empires of Spain and Portugal for many years and the missions were finally destroyed in the Guarani War of 1756.


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