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Churches in Chile

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Churches

The most impressive churches in Chile can be found on the archipelago of Chiloé. In fact, their historical and architectural value has led to the creation of a tourist circuit that focuses on the 16 churches that have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Built mainly by Jesuits in the 18th century using local wood and shingles, some are brightly colored and others feature unique representations of saints. For example, the Achao Church was built without a single nail and is the oldest such structure on the archipelago. The Castro Church showcases elements of neo-Gothic style while the Quinchao Church is the oldest on the circuit and offers a glimpse into Chiloé's colonial history.

The country's northern area is known for churches that reflect the culture of the altiplano. Parinacota Church, which is made of adobe and stone, is particularly impressive because of its bell tower and murals that date back to the 18th century.

The small town of Chiu Chiu is home to one of the most beautiful churches in the country. The San Francisco Church reflects the culture of the Atacama region and is known for its roof, which is made from regional cacti. San Pedro de Atacama's colonial church is white and made from adobe.

While you're in Santiago, visit the Plaza de Armas and its sumptuous Cathedral, a haven of tranquility and history in the capital's bustling downtown area. It was designed by the first Spanish conquistadors and built by architect Antonio Acuña with a façade by Italy's Joaquín Toesca. Nearby San Francisco Church features classic colonial architecture from the 16th and 17th centuries and the icon of the Virgin of Socorro that was brought over by the country's founder, Pedro de Valdivia. The church was built by a Franciscan order hailing from Peru and is home to a colonial art museum with a valuable collection.

 

Featured Destinations

aSan Pedro de Atacama bArica
cSantiago dCentral Coast
eChiloé fChillán and Concepcion

 

Tips

01

The Bell Tower of Toconao German Heritage Caguach Church
If you visit peaceful Toconao, a town of pre-Hispanic origin located on an oasis near San Pedro de Atacama, don't skip the local church, which was built using white volcanic rock extracted from a nearby quarry and has a bell tower with a cactus wood roof. Puerto Varas, which sits on the shores of Lake Llanquihue, is home to an imposing and unusual church, the Parroquia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, which reflects the influence of local German colonists. The neo-Romantic and Baroque-style construction was completed in 1918. On the third Sunday in January and August 30, a multi-day religious celebration is held at Caguach's Jesús Nazareno Church on a tiny island in the archipelago of Chiloé. One of the many Chiloé houses of worship to be declared a World Heritage Site, it was built using local wood and larch shingles for the roof.

02

Eiffel in Chile

Built in the 19th century by Gustav Eiffel with a sheet iron structure, the San Marcos Cathedral evinces a European Gothic influence. Declared a National Monument due to its great architectural value, it's located across from a square from which you can marvel at its immensity.

 

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