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Chiloe Churches, Chile World Heritage

The Archipelago of Chiloe is located in the extreme South of Chile and has a rainy and cool weather in summer, but it rains all year. To catch a plane from the capital of Chile, Santiago, its approximately two-hour flight to the southern city of Puerto Montt, where it reaches land Chiloé route is to the point where you take a ferry, which go to people in Chacao. There are also Catamarans and Cruise ships and tour the channels and have a sightseeing view of the Big Island of Chiloé.


The Isla Grande de Chiloe is about 180 kms long and 50 kms wide. Today, the Archipelago has over 154,700 inhabitants. Within its biggest attractions are the 5 island groups surrounding it and of course the amazing channels, that are very important to connect land and sea with the circulation of sailors of the early days and today, with the different points of the island. We have the Canal de Chacao, channel located at the northern part of the Island with its 3-ports, and where the small boats sail to Castro, Tenaún and Achao.


It’s important to mention its attractive fauna and flora. The result of the constant rains and thaws,, there are extensive forests of Arrayanes or Myrtles, oaks and avellanos or hazels, together with the large fern forests. The Pudu, one of the world's smallest deer, and that is protected and the Mampato or small horse, which was brought by the Spanish the early sixteenth century. The Toninas or dolphins, sea lions and the seasonal visit of different species of whales, particularly the Blue Whale, make their coasts unique, and that will be protected area in the near future.


The story goes back to 1540s where the island of Chiloe was viewed by the early Spanish explorers. And in 1553 Francisco de Ulloa is the first Spanish explorer who comes to the Island, being the official discoverer sent by Pedro de Valdivia.


During the seventeenth century the Catholic order of Jesuits arrived in Chiloé to evangelize the 3 Indian colonies that existed on the island, the Chono, Caucahué and Huilliche, those living on agriculture and fishing. Most died out by strong pests such as smallpox and typhoid among others.


These catholic religious perform the so called "massive-circular evangelism groups", and where over more than 80 chapels were built around Chiloé. Spiritually, this is reflected in the modus operandi of the circular task, held by the Jesuits to evangelize this sparsely populated, semi-sedentary, community and that were connected together by the sea so they built a religious community participation, making the local natives have a spiritual and community work, which they called "fiscales". Later on, the San Franciscans arrived and also had their religious communities established by the Jesuits earlier.


On December 2000, all the built and remaining fourteen churches were recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage. Subsequently, in 2001, added to its World Heritage list two other churches having a total of 16 churches scattered throughout the archipelago.


The recognition of the exceptional universal value that these churches represent and the main characteristic was that they were built of wood and the data of foundation goes back to the XVIII century. The churches that remained and were nominated are: Achao Aldachildo, Caguach, Castro, Shilling, Chonchi, Colo., Dalcahue, Detif, Ichuac, Nercón, Quinchao Rilán, San Juan, Tenaún and Vilupulli.


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