Founded in 1573, Córdoba is Argentina's second largest city and although there has been massive development in recent years, much of the old colonial vestiges remain. A fine collection of churches and colonial buildings survive from this period including the 17th century Town Hall (El Cabildo), the Romanesque Iglesia Cathedral and the Jesuit Iglesia de la Compañía, the oldest surviving church in Argentina, dating from 1622. The Museo Histórico Provincial Marqués de Sobremonte is one of the most important historical museums in the country. The Jesuit influence is clear within the scenic mountain interior, which is scattered with colonial churches, hermitages and interesting towns. Many are well-prepared for tourists, with hotels, restaurants and festivals keeping alive the Jesuit and gaucho traditions.
Cordoba has long been considered the cultural centre of Argentina, being the home of famous Argentian writers from the last century such as Leopoldo Lugones, Arturo Capdevila and Marcos Aguinis. The city is also home to the Caraffa Fine Arts Museum and the Evita Fine Arts Museum, as well as the Paseo del Buen Pastor, a cultural centre containing an art gallery, a fine wine shop, artisanal cheese shop, and other craf and artisan stalls. The city is home to several universities, including the National Technological University.