Jesús de Tavarangüe

Top choice ruins in Misiones

The restored church at Jesús was never finished. It boasts spectacular trefoil arches (a nod to Spain’s Moorish past) and carved motifs of crossed swords and keys. The treble-naved church with green grass underfoot is on a similarly monumental scale as Trinidad and is the most complete structure of any of the Jesuit churches. However, perhaps because it was never used, it lacks decoration and feels less atmospheric than the ragged church at Trinidad.

Entry includes a free guided tour in Spanish, German and a bit of English. If you take the tour you are permitted to climb the tower for views of the surrounding countryside.

It's said that once the Jesuits were expelled the structure was never completed not because the new Franciscan and Dominican administrators lacked plans or materials but because the surrounding town became so depopulated that there was no source of labor.

There's a small museum in front of the entrance with photographs of the restoration and some carved stone and wood pieces retrieved from the site including a wonderful wooden fountain with three carved faces and a massive cylindrical candle holder.