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Manzana de las Luces

This name was first given to this historical block on September 1, 1821 in one edition of a newspaper of that time, “El Argos”.

It was due to the intellectual institutions of the area.

The Manzana de las Luces is surrounded by the following streets,

  • Bolívar
  • Moreno
  • Alsina
  • Avenida Julio A. Roca (Diagonal Sur)
  • Perú

In 1608, the first jesuitic mission arrived in Buenos Aires, and on May 25, 1661 they settled down where it is known today as Manzana de las Luces.

The following historic buildings are located within this area,

  • Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires
  • San Ignacio Church
  • Old building of Buenos Aires University
  • In 1981 the hole group of buildings and monuments located among the streets Moreno, Perú, Alsina and Bolívar was declared Historic Place.

The following are the most important buildings that were within the Manzana de la Luces,

  • Colegio de San Ignacio (San Ignacio School).
  • Real Colegio de San Carlos, innaugurated in 1772, renamed in 1783 as Colegio Convictorio Carolino, where nowadays if the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires.
  • The Procuraduría de las Misiones, administered commercial benefits of the Mission, as well as the dwelling for the aboriginals of the reductions, who came to carry on different tasks.
  • The first theatre of Buenos Aires was built.
  • The first Real Printing of Niños Expósitos started its business.
  • The Examining Board of physicians in the area of the former jesutic law office was founded. The Examining Board of Physicians was created in the XV century in Spain to struggle against the illegal practice of the medicine.
  • The General Archive.
  • The Accounts Court.
  • The Public Library.
  • The Vaccine Administration.
  • The Schools Department.
  • The Topographic Department.
  • The Bank of the Province of Buenos Aires.
  • The Trade Court.
  • The General Notary Public Office of Government.
  • Buenos Aires Customs.
  • "La Prensa" Newspaper.
  • The Town Council of the City of Buenos Aires.
  • The National Academy of History.
  • Faculties of Exact Sciences and Architecture of the University of Buenos Aires.
  • The Patricios Regiment had its provisional quarter in an area of the Colegio Convictorio Carolino.

Different educational institutions at different times were at the building of Colegio de San Ignacio

  • In 1817 Juan Martín de Pueyrredón organized the Colegio Unión del Sud.
  • In 1823 it turned into the Colegio de Ciencias Morales (School of Moral Sciences), institution where different important people such as Esteban Echeverría, Vicente López, Juan María Gutiérrez, Miguel Cané (father), José Mármol, Félix Frías, Marcos Paz and Juan Bautista Alberdi attended.
  • A group of jesuit monks took over and the institution changed its name to Colegio de San Ignacio.
  • After the expulsion of the jesuits, the school was renamed as Colegio Republicano Federal.
  • After Caseros Battle a quarter was settled down, and then the Colegio Eclesiástico.
  • Finally on March 14, 1863, by a decree of president Bartolomé Mitre, the present name of Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires is given.

La Manzana de las Luces has a system of hidden arteries: tunnels that went through different areas of the city, at five meters deep.

It is believed that these tunnels, built back in the XVII and XVIII centuries, were part of a web that linked churches and public buildings with the Fort.

There were two tunnels that ran with direction north-south, and other running from east to west. They could have been used for the defense of the city, when besieged by pirates and corsaries.

As time went by, and with the city growth, these tunnels started getting unused and lost, but in 1983 three parts were consolidated, one with running east, other running west, and the last one running southeast.

Manzana de las Luces