Luján, between faith and history

The view of the basilica, with its looming spires, never fails to impress. It’s Luján, Argentina’s epicentre of Catholic faith, where miracles are prayed for and where thousands go on pilgrimage every year hoping that Our Lady of Luján will hear their pleas.

View of the basilica and colonial arcades

This time round we skipped the basilica and headed to the History Museum (Complejo Museográfico Enrique Udaondo). It consists of a series of historical buildings such as the old Town Hall (Cabildo) and prison, chapel, and so on and it covers an area of three and a half city blocks.

The Cabildo and the Viceroy’s house date back to the late 18th century. I was excited that we have such old buildings (I know it sounds lame but ours is a relatively new country!). These buildings are a fine example of the Spanish colonial architectural style. I adored the courtyards with their water wells capped with elaborate wrought iron railings.

Each room is devoted to a theme, like the British Invasions of 1806/07 (and the creole victory over the invaders), the Wars of Independence from Spain, the Civil War or the Confederation Era. On display are personal belongings of our Independence heroes. That was very interesting.

Spanish Colonial architecture

It was a glorious but cold day so we decided to shorten our visit since one needs to walk between buildings and the staircases are on the outside of the buildings. We hurried to the Transport Museum, where we saw really cool things like a Popemobile (I remember seeing Pope John Paul II riding in it when he came to Argentina in the early eighties), stagecoaches, the first steam locomotive, the first hydroplane to cross the South Atlantic, and even a Victorian hearse.

It is always a treat to spend time with my parents and to see familiar places like Luján through the eyes of a tourist.

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How to get there:

By car: Autopista del Oeste and then follow the signs to Basilica de Lujan (it’s 67 km from Buenos Aires).

By bus: from Palermo, Transportes Atlantida (Plaza Italia)

By train: from Estacion Once to Moreno and tranfer to the train to Lujan

What to see and do

Basilica

Complejo Museografico Enrique Udaondo

Picnic by the river

There are many cafes and restaurants in the area.

Some visitors should be taught not to litter. Such a pity.

About Ana O

Hi, I’m Ana. I’m originally from Argentina but I’m currently living in Dallas (USA) with my British husband. I’d like to share my experiences as an expat and as a traveller.

12 thoughts on “Luján, between faith and history

  1. “I was excited that we have such old buildings (I know it sounds lame but ours is a relatively new country!).”

    This sentence gave me a chuckle. As you know, there isn’t exactly an abundance of 17th and 18th century architecture in the U.S. either, so I understand where you’re coming from! Fortunately, there are quite a few well-preserved buildings from this era in the Philadelphia area. I love old architecture (even if it’s not “old old” like in Europe!).

    I have a visit to the Cathedral of Luján pending. It is, in my opinion, the most stunning church in all of Argentina. The history museum sounds quite interesting, too! Thanks for taking us there virtually, Ana.

    1. Years ago, I told an Irish friend about the Pilar church and how old it was, like 200 years old at least! He looked at me and said “well, that’s not really old” It was for me! 🙂
      I’m glad you enjoyed the virtual visit. Is there any other place I can take you to?

      1. Do you have a post about San Antonio de Areco? I searched the blog, but I couldn’t find one. That’s another place to visit on my list!

      2. No, I was answering your question. You said, “Is there any other place I can take you to?” I’d love for you to take us on a virtual tour of Areco, but I wanted to make sure you hadn’t already written about it. 🙂

  2. I was in Luján when I was 5 or 6 years old which means that I don’t remember anything about the visit. I hope to be able to explore the province of Buenos Aires one day. There are many interesting small towns and nice cities like Luján that deserve attention. The museum sounds really good!

    1. The scenery isn’t as dramatic as that of Cordoba but you’re right, there are many picturesque small towns that deserve attention.

  3. It’s beautiful! And you’re so right, sometimes it’s fun to be tourist at home 🙂 I always enjoy showing Marco stuff in Germany because I get to see it through his eyes.

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