The Manzana de las Luces, or block of enlightenment, is one of the main historic landmarks in Buenos Aires and home to some of the city's oldest contructions, including the Baroque San Ignacio church.
The church was built by the Jesuit order of monks between 1686 and 1722, and followed by an adjoining school, museum, library, administrative offices and the city's first pharmacy,
The mission was closed in 1767 due to Spain's suppression of the Jesuits, but the school was converted into the Royal College of San Carlos, the church turned into a cathedral, and the pharmacy into Argentina's first medical college. Spanish Viceroy Juan José de Vértiz established the city's first printing press at the site in 1780, as well as an orphanage.
A network of underground tunnels intersecting beneath the block of enlightenment are believed to have helped safeguard ammunitions during Argentina's war of independence.
A visit to the block of enlightenment offers a chance to glimpse colonial-era Buenos Aires. Guided tours are available in Spanish. For more information visit: www.manzanadelasluces.gob.ar