Churches of Chiloé (2000)

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Chile 1993. Chiloé. Scott 1037. Castro. Chile 1993. Chiloé. Scott 1036. Achao.

The Churches of Chiloé represent a unique example in Latin America of an outstanding form of ecclesiastical wooden architecture. They represent a tradition initiated by the Jesuit Peripatetic Mission in the 17th and 18th centuries, continued and enriched by the Franciscans during the 19th century and still prevailing today. These churches embody the intangible richness of the Chiloé Archipelago, and bear witness to a successful fusion of indigenous and European culture, the full integration of its architecture in the landscape and environment, as well as to the spiritual values of the communities. 

Chile 1993. Chiloé. Scott 1055. Llau-Llao. Chile 1993. Chiloé. Scott 1056. Deleahue. Chile 1993. Chiloé. Scott 1057. Tenaun.
Chile 1993. Chiloé. Scott 1053. Conchi. Chile 1993. Chiloé. Scott 1054. Vilupulli.

Chiloé in southern Chile is the second largest island in South America. The Spanish arrived there in 1553; Franciscans and other missionaries came in the 16th century, but the distinctive hallmark of the island churches was struck with the arrival of the Jesuits in 1608. 

The Jesuits established an itinerant mission, in which groups of Jesuit missionaries would make annual trips around the archipelago, staying for a few days in areas where they built these wooden chapels, and around which hamlets grew up. A layman was appointed to work in each area during the rest of the year. The system was continued by the Franciscans after the Jesuits were expelled in 1767. 

Chile 1993. Chiloé. Scott 1058. Guinchao. Chile 1993. Chiloé. Scott 1059. Quehuo. Chile 1993. Chiloé. Scott 1097. Nercon.

In its justification for inscription the UNESCO states that the churches of Chiloé are outstanding examples of the successful fusion of European and indigenous cultural traditions to produce a unique form of wooden architecture. The mestizo culture resulting from Jesuit missionary activities in the 17th and 18th centuries has survived intact in the Chiloé archipelago, and achieves its highest expression in the outstanding wooden churches. 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Chile (on this site). Inactive links are not described on postage stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Chile-section, for further information on the individual properties. 

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Revised 03 aug 2006  
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