As in many other cities in Latin America, the oldest buildings in Buenos Aires are Catholic churches. Though linked with religion, the Holy House of Spiritual Exercises is the oldest non-church building in Buenos Aires. It’s located in 1190 Independencia Avenue and its one of the few testimonies left of colonial architecture. Hostel Colonial tells you the story of a special Porteño place.
The construction started in 1795 and finished in 1799 when opened. The association was founded by religious María Antonia de la Paz y Figueroa in 1793 when she decided to bring material and spiritual help to those in need in the old Spanish Viceroyalty capital. In the placed used to work a school for girls and a child shelter. The girls assisted by the institution used to work as seamstresses for the Catholic Church.
Many of those who some years later would become heroes of our independence (in 1810) spent time in this building seeking peace and rest. Among them are: the creator of Argentine flag Manuel Belgrano, the first president Bernardino Rivadavia and one of the most important women of those times Mariquita Sánchez de Thompson.
The building was slightly changed in 1899 but it still preserves the patio with an old well, the chapel, the old sun clock, the galleries and the wooden crosses. In the 1990’s the Holy House of Spiritual Exercises was declared Patrimonial Heritage. If you want to visit this traditional building, there are programmed tours every third Sunday of every month at 3PM.