About Nuestra Señora de Loreto
Reducción de Nuestra Señora de Loreto was an important Argentinean Jesuit mission founded in 1610.
History of Nuestra Señora de Loreto
Founded in 1610 by Jesuits, the mission was one of the first founded in the Province of Paraguay. Unlike many of its counterparts which had to move several times due to ongoing attacks from slave traders, Nuestra Señora de Loreto only moved once. This resettlement occurred in 1631, when the mission transferred to its present location near Posadas.
The Jesuits wanted to evangelize the indigenous populations: they learn indigenous languages so that they could better teach them Spanish, and even established a printing press to translate the Bible into Spanish, Latin and occasionally indigenous languages.
The most famous resident of the reduction was the Spanish Jesuit, Father Antonio Garriga, who was a particularly good linguist and dedicated missionary. He printed the book Practical Instruction to Order One’s Life According to Saintly Precepts around 1713, making it the second book to be printed there.
The Jesuits were expelled from the area in 1767, and the mission was abandoned by the early 19th century.
Nuestra Señora de Loreto today
Much of the site is covered in vegetation, and only the ruins are left. You’ll need an active imagination to picture the site as it would once have been, but the jungle-clad ruins remain evocative of times past.
The site is open every day, with summer and winter hours, so check before you visit. If you can, hop on a free guided tour of the site – it’s extremely valuable and brings the ruins to life.
Tickets to the missions in the area are combined, so it makes sense to follow up with a visit to the better preserved San Ignacio Mini.
Getting to Nuestra Señora de Loreto
The Misiones province is just across the border from Paraguay. The site itself is just off Ruta 12 – you should be able to drive there easily, or get a bus from Posadas or Obera towards San Ignacio, and hop off at the ruins.