Walk around 6 Jesuit missions: San Javier, Concepción, San Ignacio de Velasco, San Miguel, San Rafael and Santa Ana (4 days and 3 nights)

Architectural canons and spatial distribution of missions continued outline of the Jesuits was repeated with variations in other missionary reductions as an expression of the relationship with God, nature, life and the socio-economic activities through the carved woodwork, ceramics, seeds, music, bakery, confectionery and food in general.

The Jesuit Mission expresses a political and religious organization, with modular structure including at Church complex, offices, workshops, quarters for the clergy and a large space environment, which focused church, cemetery, schools, shops, homes and in front of the office space is representative of the political power of the Spanish colony; villages left behind a rustic architecture with local materials of native chiquitanos.

In the construction of the church emphasizes the use of natural local materials such as wood, which was used in the carved columns. The carving of the images was a labor of natives with baroque-style integration is a representation of nature around religious representation. On each front door of the church is the inscription “House of God – Puerta del Cielo”.

The Churches, composed of three ships, they have a simple wooden roof slab supported by columns of carved wood “Cuchi” and pitchforks in the aisles, with a structural system almost independent wooden walls. The “Cuchi” is a type of wood has a high resistance. Other elements, such as gypsum, used in the decoration of flat, corrugated and false to resemble the baroque building with scrolls, friezes and plaster shells. The use of volcanic rock is featured in some enclaves.

San Javier was the first missionary settlement established by the Jesuits in the region chiquitana. With the construction of this modest temple, which was completed on December 31, 1691  Brother Antonio Rivas began the missionary work in the region of Chiquitos, for which was used as a  Central base to this mission. From San Javier they would leave the following founding mission towns, where Jesuit missionaries had their residence until the expulsion of the Jesuits.

The present church of San Javier was designed and built by Father Martin Schmidt, of Austrian origin, who began the work in 1749 and ended four years later, in 1752.

The temple of San Javier is part of a complete architectural ensemble, consisting of a chapel and school area. In the front stand the impressive wooden columns carved in the style locally called “string”. The walls are beautifully decorated with drawings of ocher tones, which stand in yellow and brown colors made from these lands and other natural substances.

The care of the church of San Javier passed to the Diocesan Clergy of Santa Cruz in 1767, who were in charge for 163 years, then move to the care of the Franciscan Mission of Chiquitos in 1930.

The restoration of the temple of San Javier begun in 1987 on the initiative of Monsignor Antonio Eduardo Bösl, under the direction of architect Hans Roth and Brother Joseph Herzog, as a builder, counting this work with specialists in carpentry, carving and restoration workshop Conception of the Vicariate of workers and the town of San Javier.
The restoration work was completed five years later, in 1991. On 3 December 1991 that the temple was re-drawing bless compliance with the three hundred years of missionary work have started in the land of little ones. The church was restored in its entirety, including the beautiful indoor and outdoor decoration and mural painting.

The foundation of Concepcion was between the years 1708-1709, the Spanish Jesuit priest Father Lucas Caballero who considered him as the martyr of Chiquitos.

In the village of Concepcion tribes settled, which is devoted to agriculture, livestock, workshops and built their homes in their own way and according to their customs.

Mission Concepcion was considered as a community where two managers who were Jesuits existed: one was in charge of religion and music and the other was in charge of the organization of work.

The municipality of Concepcion is the first municipal section of the province Ñuflo Chavez. It is located in the northwest of the department of Santa Cruz to 290 Km. of the city and 60 Km. from San Javier, becomes part of what today is called La Gran Chiquitania.

Mission Concepcion has one of the most attractive churches in the region. This architectural gem was built by Jesuit missionaries between 1752 and 1753 and completely restored in 1982. One of its main features is the work done in “gold leaf”, besides the Baroque style. Inside you can appreciate the extraordinary carved wood made by artisans of the community.

On the facade of the church of Concepción you can see the structure of the cathedral as a chiquitana home. Currently, communities, stays home such as pitchforks first made, beams, scissors and then the ceiling. After the walls are made either mud or partition and, thus, it prevents heavy rains drag walls. First the roof is built to protect the rest of the construction of the water, and that’s how the cathedral was built, first the roof and then the walls like a real chiquitana home, but, yes, bigger and more decorated.

The architectural complex of San Ignacio de Velasco forming the religious temple, although not original, has the majesty of Chiquitana other churches. Church San Ignacio de Velasco still has a valuable historical cultural appeal, which consists of the beautiful set of altars was initiated by the great Martin Schmidt, before being expelled with other Jesuits of America, and finishes by the Indians. These religious shrines are considered the most beautiful of its kind in Chiquitos.
The pulpit of San Ignacio de Velasco, the confessionals and a lot of sculptures and sacred ornaments missionary era have great value.

The Jesuit church “San Miguel Archangel”, built in 1748 opened in 1760, an architectural complex of the most beautiful. The difference being about 1 to 1.5 meters higher, relative to the road, which in turn takes greater sense of grandeur to the temple of San Miguel.

The temple of San Miguel is considered one of the most important of the Chiquitania. Inside it contains extensive anterior and posterior spacious patios and galleries. The temple itself has a high altar decorated with mica and filigree inlaid wood. The roof, wooden beams, forming crosses scissors, making it particularly special. Some pieces have been preserved the original floor, pieces of religious art, glass, bells and furniture that impress by its large size and carving.

San Miguel was founded in 1721 and is a small town with less than 5,000 inhabitants. Similar to other communities of Santa Ana, San Rafael and San Miguel mode is a quiet place where time seems for the past three centuries have stopped. His church is considered the most historically accurate of all the restored Jesuit churches.

Mission San Rafael was founded in 1696. The mission of San Rafael was moved in 1701. The roof of the new church of San Rafael was built in 1747 by Martin Schmidt. The temple is one of the most impressive of the Jesuit missions. The pulpit is reversed with silvery mica. The altar of the Temple of San Rafael also has a pink mica coverage. The roof, which is very different from other missionary churches, maintains its original construction using cane and wood.
The mission of Santa Ana was founded in 1755 to say only 12 years before the expulsion of the Jesuits, when religious were removed, the building of the church had just started and was completed by indigenous people, the church has a country look and small size relative to other churches.

The church of Santa Ana is surrounded by simple houses in a small town where, as in the days of the Jesuits the responsibility of caring for the churches is an honor that is passed from parent to child.

The program for the next sightseeing tour is to visit the missions mentioned Chiquitania. It is part of Santa Cruz de la Sierra towards San Javier to know his church, museums and the walk of the apostles. In the afternoon after lunch trip to Concepción where we participate in the Mass and then go to dinner is undertaken. The next morning the hotel orchids and young children are observed Chiquitanas Ayoreo and visiting homes. Then he leaves for San Ignacio de Velasco where we visit the church and the dam of the cave Guapomó with plaster, the organic coffee project “Minga”. After sleeping in San Ignacio de Velasco. The next morning we visit the pottery workshop in Sutuniquiña then go to San Miguel and San Rafael to visit its beautiful churches. In San Rafael we have lunch and then goes to Santa Ana where we visit the baroque church and the small town. After that it gets to San Ignacio de Velasco to have a good rest and the next day returned to Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

The cost of the tour includes:

Private transport – back
Food (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Refreshments during the rides (water and fruit)
Tickets tickets listed visits to tourist sites
Interaction with the locals to take pictures,
Depending on visitors, there is a guide in Spanish, French, English, German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese.

The cost of the trip does not include:

waterproof poncho
Cap sun protection
thick and warm clothes against the cold and wind
Towel, swimsuit
Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
Personal expenses

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