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World Heritage Jesuit Missions – 4 days

The ancient Jesuit missions of Chiquitos in the department of Santa Cruz (1691-1767) and those of Moxos in the department of Beni (1681-1767) constitute one of the main riches of regional and national cultural heritage. During the process of restoration of the Jesuit temples of these missions a great musical wealth was discovered: in Chiquitos 5,500 and in Moxos 7,000 sheets of sacred music written between the XVII and XVIII centuries, both by European musicians and by the indigenous Zone and that was interpreted daily in these towns until the middle of century XIX.

To this treasure is added the declaration of UNESCO in 1990 that named six villages of Chiquitos as Cultural Heritage of Humanity as “living villages”, since unlike other ancient Jesuit villages that are only ruins, in Chiquitos are still preserved Its beautiful churches, the musical scores, its customs, clothes, parties, ceremonies, manufacture of instruments and many of them the musical tradition. These towns are San Xavier (distant 240 km from Santa Cruz de la Sierra), Concepción (290 km), Santa Ana (520 km), San Rafael (550 km), San Miguel (515 km) and San José de Chiquitos (280 km), but in addition the other missions, although not included in the declaration by UNESCO are part of this circuit and also of extraordinary appeal; These missions are: San Ignacio de Velasco (460 km), Santiago de chiquitos (420 km) and Santo Corazón (640 km). But the Festival also reaches other towns (more than three thousand kilometers of route) that were former Jesuit missions from other regions of the Department of Santa Cruz and Beni as well as Franciscan missions and Mercedarians of the territory of Santa Cruz. This project is unique because it revolves around this lively and dynamic cultural heritage of its peoples who maintain their traditions.

Day 1

After breakfast at 8:00 am transfer to Cotoca and visit this picturesque Villa, we continue to San Javier.

San Javier: This church was built in the style of the Baroque Mestizo (built and designed by Father Martin Schmidt between 1749 and 1752) and restored between 1987 and 1993. It is part of the first Jesuit mission in Chiquitos founded in 1691 and the foundation of the Missions Jesuits. The building invites you to enjoy the artistic beauty of its architecture with carved ornaments in the columns and the wood drawings with yellow, brown and black colors.

Arrived at San Javier and lunch at a local restaurant, after visiting the Sacred Museum and the church.

We continue our trip to Concepción, Concepción: it has a mestizo baroque style church, built with 3 rows of wooden carved columns, altars and paintings by local Indians. This church is considered as the jewel of the region, seeing at sunset is an unforgettable sight (built between 1752 and 1753, restored and reopened between 1978 – 1982. The village was founded in 1706.

Dinner and overnight at Gran Hotel Concepción.

Day 2

Breakfast at the Hotel, at 7:00 am, transfer to the village of Santa Rita for the visit, Santa Rita: is an indigenous community of the Bolivian East, where women weave cotton blankets, dyed with natural dyes; In this way they recover the culture of their ancestors and being able to help their families with their products made with their hands on looms.

We continue trip to San Ignacio, lunch en route, arrival to San Ignacio.

San Ignacio: the town of San Ignacio founded in 1748, unfortunately the original temple was destroyed in 1974. The architectural complex that forms the religious temple, which despite not being original still shows the majesty of its construction, possessing a valuable historical cultural attraction.

After staying at the hotel, transfer to San Miguel.

San Miguel: The town was founded in 1721 by the Jesuits, officially under the name of San Miguel Arcángel. The Jesuit priests conquered and dominated the local tribes who worshiped the Sun God and the Moon Goddess and used the planetary system as their calendar, thus knowing where to plant and harvest their crops.

The local population is rich in popular traditions and legends, still preserving their culture with little outside influence.

The temple of San Miguel, one of the most important buildings in the village, concludes its construction in 1760, nowadays totally restored. Its altar is unique, displaying golden leaves, its ceiling and its carvings. You can visit the workshops of wood carvers artisans in San Pablo and San Miguel – considered as the best carvers of the whole Chiquitania.

San Rafael: It is the second oldest settlement of the mission, was founded in 1696. Translated once in 1701 and again in 1750, shares many of the same characteristics that is close to Santa Ana de Velasco and San Miguel de Velasco possess: a timeless charm , Quit smoking lifestyle and fidelity to their traditions of Jesuit inspiration.

Return to San Ignacio. Dinner at local restaurant and overnight at local hotel in San Ignacio.

Day 3

Breakfast at the Hotel, transfer to Santa Ana. Santa Ana: Santa Ana de Velasco, founded in1775, was founded by an individual, the missionary Jesuit p. Julián Nogler. It is also the only establishment that has its original full church still intact. The church was built after the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767. Santa Ana is a quiet village with just 280souls and a timeless atmosphere.

Continue to San Jose box lunch en route. . San José de Chiquitos, the third of the oldest missions in the Chiquitania, is located 266 kilometers from Santa Cruz and was founded by the Jesuit Fathers Felipe Suarez and Dionisio de Ávila on March 19, 1697. At that time inhabited by the Indigenous groups jamarós and piñocas.

San José has the only fully constructed stone temple showing a typical style of the Misiones of Paraguay and the north of Argentina. The church began to be constructed in 1748, until 1754, is an excellent example of the Hispanic architecture brought by the missionaries of the Company of Jesus. The local population, under the supervision of the Jesuit priests, carried out the construction of this Church.

Arrival visit of the church & the Museum.

Dinner at local restaurant and overnight at local San Jose hotel.

Day 4

After breakfast visit the park Santa Cruz la vieja, the viewpoint of the Valley of the Moon.

National Historical Park “Santa Cruz La Vieja”. Declared National Historical Park on February 22, 1989, including the area where the ruins of the first settlement of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, founded by the Spanish captain Ñuflo de Chavez on February 26, 1561 (Santa Cruz de la Sierra was Transferred in 1592 to its present place, 250km to the west) Lunch at a local restaurant and return to Santa Cruz.


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