Luján, between faith and history

The view of the basilica, with its looming spires, never fails to impress. It’s Luján, Argentina’s epicentre of Catholic faith, where miracles are prayed for and where thousands go on pilgrimage every year hoping that Our Lady of Luján will hear their pleas.

View of the basilica and colonial arcades

This time round we skipped the basilica and headed to the History Museum (Complejo Museográfico Enrique Udaondo). It consists of a series of historical buildings such as the old Town Hall (Cabildo) and prison, chapel, and so on and it covers an area of three and a half city blocks.

The Cabildo and the Viceroy’s house date back to the late 18th century. I was excited that we have such old buildings (I know it sounds lame but ours is a relatively new country!). These buildings are a fine example of the Spanish colonial architectural style. I adored the courtyards with their water wells capped with elaborate wrought iron railings.

Each room is devoted to a theme, like the British Invasions of 1806/07 (and the creole victory over the invaders), the Wars of Independence from Spain, the Civil War or the Confederation Era. On display are personal belongings of our Independence heroes. That was very interesting.

Spanish Colonial architecture

It was a glorious but cold day so we decided to shorten our visit since one needs to walk between buildings and the staircases are on the outside of the buildings. We hurried to the Transport Museum, where we saw really cool things like a Popemobile (I remember seeing Pope John Paul II riding in it when he came to Argentina in the early eighties), stagecoaches, the first steam locomotive, the first hydroplane to cross the South Atlantic, and even a Victorian hearse.

It is always a treat to spend time with my parents and to see familiar places like Luján through the eyes of a tourist.

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How to get there:

By car: Autopista del Oeste and then follow the signs to Basilica de Lujan (it’s 67 km from Buenos Aires).

By bus: from Palermo, Transportes Atlantida (Plaza Italia)

By train: from Estacion Once to Moreno and tranfer to the train to Lujan

What to see and do

Basilica

Complejo Museografico Enrique Udaondo

Picnic by the river

There are many cafes and restaurants in the area.

Some visitors should be taught not to litter. Such a pity.

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