Churches of the island of Chiloé

Chiloé is very different from what you will see elsewhere...

It is a particular and culturally rich region, the result of the encounter between the Amerindian ethnic groups and the Spanish colonists.

Wood has always been the resource of the island and has allowed the development of Chiloé while conditioning the life of its inhabitants. Houses, tools, locks are made of wood, as is the road that connected the towns of Ancud and Castro in the 19th century.

It is in this singular setting that you will discover the churches and chapels of Chiloé, made of the same material, one of the most important architectural complexes in Chile.

The oldest ones date from the beginning of the 18th century, such as the church of Santa María de Loreto in Achao, built before 1740. The chapel of Tey, built in 1962, has continued the tradition following the traditional architectural scheme.

If the plan of the Jesuit churches has inspired the architecture of the monuments, this original plan has undergone different transformations, which give the churches of Chiloé such a singular style.

The best example of this Chilean school is undoubtedly the church of Achao, with its basilical plan, its three naves and its tower centered on the portico. The building impresses by its construction that assembles large pieces of wood without any nails or iron pieces!

The structure of these monuments has not changed over the last two centuries, although from one church to another there are differences in ornaments and influences.

A patron saint was assigned to each church, which was visited once a year, during the celebration of this saint, by a missionary.

Since 2000 sixteen churches in Chiloé are now protected as Cultural Heritage of Mankind by UNESCO: the churches of Achao, Caguach and Quinchao in Quinchao, San Francisco, Rilán and Nercón and Chelín in Castro, Aldachildo, Ichuac and Detif in Puqueldón, Villupulli and Chonchi in Chonchi, Tenaún, San Juan and Dalcahue in Dalcahue.

Among the most important not to be missed are Achao, Chonchi, Tenaún, Dalcahue and Caguash.

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