The Jesuit Missions of Bolivia


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The Jesuit Missions circuit is a tour that consists of seven mission towns; San Javier, Concepción, San Ignacio, Santa Ana, San Miguel, San Rafael, and San José, although many other missions were built in Bolivia. Other towns can be visited, such as San Matías, Santiago de Chiquitos near Robore, Guarayos, Urubichá, and Puerto Suárez.



The Chiquitania region receives its name from the native inhabitants of this area, the chiquitos or chiquitanos. Here Jesuit reductions (mission towns) were settled during the second half of the 17th Century (between 1691 and 1760). They remain in time as an extraordinary legacy because they are the only Jesuit missions in South America which were not destroyed after the Jesuits were expelled from the Spanish colonies.

They are not ruins but villages full of life, with people who still go to mass in the same majestic churches or to enjoy the same baroque music concerts, much in the way they used to when the Jesuits established these missions three centuries ago.

The major attractions of this region are its churches, architectural jewels guarded by different villages which still possess interesting cultural manifestations from the period of the Missions. The Missions represented the voice of the Catholic Church in the middle of this savage world. This region remained hidden for nearly two centuries until the release of the movie "The Mission" featuring Jeremy Irons and Robert DeNiro, which awoke interest in the region and made it internationally known.

Today it is possible to appreciate the beauty of the religious architecture thanks to the German architect Hans Roth and his team of experts who restored the churches of these centuries-old Missions, recovering their ageless splendour.

Another big attraction in this region is the Baroque Music Festival and the Religious Celebrations (Easter and Corpus Christi), that transport us to the age of the Missions with traditional clothing and instruments made by the people of the region.

Use the site map we've created for this section to find hotels, restaurants, tours and more in the Jesuit Missions of Bolivia's Chiquitanía region.

You can read more about the history of this region or life in the mission towns in these articles written by Geoff Groesbeck who is known as one of the top experts in the world on Bolivia's Chiquitania region. Watch this interesting video documentary on the history of baroque music in Bolivia. For more information on this and many other amazing ecotours and tours in Bolivia contact BoliviaBella's prefered tour operator Ruta Verde Bolivia. Owners Gijs and Maria Eugenia speak English, Spanish and Dutch.



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