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Destination Details

Santa Cruz De La Sierra, Bolivia

JESUIT MISSIONS, CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY. The Jesuit Missions established in the Chiquitania territory constitute a valuable architectural and historic legacy, which has stood the test of time, very deserving of being named a Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Currently, they preserve temples in a baroque style, the urban layout of its streets and the memory of folkloric and religious customs that are revived on occasions like Holy Week and other religious festivities. Also of importance are the Renaissance and Baroque American Music Festival of “Chiquitos” missions, which attracts the attention of tourists and musicologists every two years. The missionary circuit includes:

SAN JAVIER: This mission has a temple in a baroque style notable for its campaign and wood carved columns. In 1730 the first music school in the region was established. This school is known for the fabrication of violins, harps and other musical instruments.

CONCEPCIÓN: Its church is one of the most beautiful in the area, made up of three sections, artistic wooden columns, altars and paintings made by the locals. Other highlights are its main façade and the wooden tower.

SAN IGNACIO DE VELASCO: This is the largest township in the missionary route. The indigenous traditions are still kept alive in this beautiful land, where one can see work done in ceramics, as well as objects in the purest missionary style, embroidered and leather objects.

SAN MIGUEL: The temple is one of the most important buildings in town, with a unique altar displaying golden leaves, a clear sky and carvings. The local population is rich in traditions and popular legends.

SAN RAFAEL: This recently restored church still conserves its enormous cloth paintings, and carved furniture embedded in the walls. The pulpit is decorated with silver and the image of Saint Rafael.

SANTA ANA: The community built this church, which is why it has rural characteristics and smaller dimensions in relation to the others.

SAN JOSÉ DE CHIQUITOS: This mission has the only temple built entirely out of stone, due to the existence of stone and lime deposits. It’s an excellent example of Hispanic architecture brought by missionaries of the Jesus campaign.

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