Tag: BO – Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos

Mission Church of San Xavier; Fortanono; Atlas Obscura

Bolivia – Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos

This gorgeous, colorful 18th-century church is part of one of Bolivia’s few surviving Jesuit missions.

Enter this 18th-century church, and you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of bright colors, intricate patterns, and superb architectural details. It’s a feast for the eyes, made possible by a troubling concoction of Old World colonialism and New World traditions.

The church is part of the mission of San Xavier (sometimes also spelled San Javier). The mission was first established in 1691, but moved around a bit before finding its permanent spot in the 18th century. A Swiss Jesuit architect completed the church that still stands today in 1752.

Missions sprouted up across Bolivia during the 17th and 18th centuries. Each one typically featured a church, workshop, and school, all centered around a courtyard. Jesuits sent by the Spanish Crown to explore the South American frontiers created them to convert the indigenous people to Christianity.

Despite their colonial pasts, which sadly involved removing native people from their homes and forcing them to convert, the missions stand as beautiful examples of New World religious architecture.

Source: Mission Church of San Xavier

The Challenge of Preserving the Last Jesuit Missions in South America; Latin American Herald Tribune

Bolivia – Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos

LA PAZ – Located in the lower eastern zone of Bolivia, far from the arid altiplano, among huge haciendas and isolated communities, are the last functioning Jesuit missions in the Southern Cone, those that survived destruction after the expulsion of the Jesuits in the 18th century.

In Bolivia’s Chiquitania region, located in eastern Santa Cruz province, there are six missions recognized in 1990 as Unesco World Heritage Sites: San Javier, Concepcion, Santa Ana, San Miguel, San Rafael and San Jose de Chiquitos.

Founded by the Jesuits between 1696 and 1760, all have virtually their entire original structures, the facades bearing the characteristic ochre tones and even the paintings that church officials and local residents made during that period.

Currently, local residents continue attending mass inside the missions and listening to the music from the organs there, which have hundreds of years of history.

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Road Trip Driving Route in Brazil, Bolivia & Argentina; Trans-Americas Journey

Bolivia – Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos

2016 was a big year on our little road trip through the Americas with a total of 15,200 miles (24,462 km) on the road. While that pales in comparison to the miles we were putting on annually when we were in North America nearly a decade ago, it’s double the mileage of most recent years.

All those miles really got us around and in 2016 we visited or revisited seven countries: Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina. Our previous record was five countries in one year back in 2011 when we were in Central America. We also had a record eight border crossings in 2016, bringing our total border crossings for the Journey so far to 56. For more amazing road trip stats, visit our freshly updated Facts & Figures page.

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