Misiones Jesuíticas de la Chiquitania
The Jesuit Missions (“Reducciones”) of Chiquitania, declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, witness of the incredible Jesuit adventure in this part of South America.
Only those villages are recognized as such that have kept their missionary churches intact, while also maintaining the specific cultural life of the Jesuit Mission tradition. These are San Javier, Conception, San Miguel, San Rafael, Santa Ana and, obviously, San José de Chiquitos.
Built in the 17th and 18th centuries, these “Reducciones” were models of community life between Jesuits and the Indian population. The Jesuits, among others, taught the Indians how to work wood, or build harps and violins. The latter turned out to be excellent musicians and already gave concerts in those long past days, a tradition that continues with the bi-annual Baroque Music Festival.
Many are the Music schools in the Missions where young virtuosi ardently study their scores in the afternoon.
The mission buildings in their Chiquitano baroque style were restored in the 1970s by the Swiss architect Hans Roth. The village churches maintain this heritage alive by celebrating mass and organizing baroque music concerts; they are decorated with magnificent wooden sculptures of local saints.
A visit of these Missions will show their various identities, their history and the way they were restored, as well as allowing the discovery of these charming Chiquitano villages with their traditions and culture.