CHURCHES THAT SEEM TO SAIL OVER THE SEA
The churches of Chiloé are a group of temples that are located on the southern Chilein the Chiloé archipelago. The first churches were built by Jesuit missionaries who wanted to provide each village with a church to facilitate attendance at religious services. From the beginning, they were located on flat land next to the beaches to facilitate the access of the faithful by sea using canoes. Later on, inland locations were sought to protect the chapels from the strong winds coming from the sea.
These are some of the most important ones:
San Antonio de Colo / 2. Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio de Tenaún / 3. San Juan Bautista de San Juan / 4- Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de Dalcahue / 5. San Francisco de Castro / 6. Santa María de Loreto de Achao / 7. Our Lady of Grace of Nercón / 11. Our Lady of the Rosary of Chonchi / 12. of Vilipulli / 10. Our Lady of Grace of Nercón / 11. Our Lady of the Rosary of Chonchi / 12. Virgin of Candelaria of Ichuac / 13. Immaculate Conception of Aldachildo / 14. Our Lady of the Rosary of Chelín / 15. Santiago Apostle of Detif / 16.
(map from http://www.revistaenfoque.cl)
THE STYLE OF THE CHURCHES OF CHILOÉ AND THE CHILOÉ SCHOOL
The presence of German Bavarian Jesuits in the area meant that, from the very beginning, these churches received influences of German religious architecture and for more than 200 years churches were built following a specific archetype.
In the initial style two large spaces can be distinguished: the building itself and the esplanade in front of it. They are gable-roofed churches that have, on the side of the facade, a gallery of arches from where, in the past, the missionaries addressed the faithful. On the roof, a tower of volumes that are narrowing and that conclude in a cross rises. In the middle of the 19th century, the cemetery was added next to some of them and, sometimes, a "casemita", a small house destined to the missionary in transit, and new neoclassical style elementsThe new chapels under this style retain very few of their original elements, such as triangular pediments drawn and separated from the tower, friezes on the arches of the façade or flattened or even non-existent arches, which were replaced by lintels. The new chapels under this style conserve very few of their initial elements.
THE CHURCHES OF CHILOÉ TODAY. PROTECTION AND NEW PROJECTS.
In total there are more than 150 Chiloé churches. The oldest, built at the beginning of the 18th century, is located in Achao and marks a very characteristic style of wood construction that inaugurates what would later be known as the "Achao" style. Chilota School of Wood Carpentry
San Francisco de Castro Church (image by © Andrea Manuschevich for www.plataformaurbana.cl)
Interior of the San Francisco de Castro Church (image by © Andrea Manuschevich for www.plataformaurbana.cl).
Our Lady of the Rosary, on the island of Shilling (image from http://patrimoniochilote.picandshare.com)
Of these beautiful churches, a group of sixteen are considered National Historic Monuments and UNESCO World Heritage Sites., for their artistic and cultural value and for the beauty of their stamps and colors. The reality is that they have also been in serious danger for years: the wood is deteriorating and rotting because of the water that floods the ground and there is a risk that the damage will be irreversible.
GRANDA AND THE CHILOTA STYLE
Currently, many efforts are being made to preserve these churches in the best possible condition and even new construction projects are being carried out based on the typology of the Chiloé School.
This is the case of a newly built church in Vodudahue, inspired by the Chilota church of Colo. From our workshops in Spain we are working for the project with several commissions: a set of sculptures, a special Stations of the Cross, a confessional and the ambo and altar, among other things.