Churches of Chiloé - World Heritage Site
The churches of Chiloé, built mainly in wood, are an exceptional example of religious architecture in Latin America. The temples stand out for the combination of a variety of knowledge, the harmonious relationship that they hold with the environment and the validity of their spiritual importance to the communities. In the year 2000, 16 of these churches were included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

The criteria for Outstanding Universal Value by which these churches are considered a World Heritage Site are related to the successful merger between European and Indigenous cultural traditions, which produced a unique form of architecture in wood (criterion ii). On the other hand, the mestizo culture resulting from the missionary activities by the Jesuit in the XVII and XVIII centuries is also crucial. This culture has survived in the Chiloé archipelago and it reaches its highest expression in these exceptional wooden churches (criterion iii).

The essential attributes of these temples are precisely their materiality: wood, building systems and the skill of Chilote carpentry. Added to the architectural design of tower-façade, basilica floor plan, and vault, are the essential components of interior decoration, color and religious imagery, particularly that of colonial roots.

The orientation and location are also relevant attributes, in addition to their surrounding landscape. The churches were constructed in accordance with the sea, set on hills with the aim of being seen by sailors, and to avoid floods. The esplanades are components of great value since they materialize the communication with the sea, being a stage for the religious festivities and the arrival of missionaries during the Circular Mission.

The relationship between the communities and the temples is an intangible attribute of great relevance, giving the temples a good part of their meaning through devotional and communal practices such as religious festivities and solidary collective activities.

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Sources of Information on the World Heritage Site:, and the National Center for World Heritage Sites.
Churches of Chilote School
World Heritage Churches
Other Churches