Jesuit missions

The Jesuit Missions are a series of villages in the eastern lowlands of Bolivia, known for their dazzling cathedrals of incongruous architecture intending to represent a Christian voice in the wilderness.

The Jesuits came to the region in the 16th Century with the aim of converting the indigenous people to Christianity. The Jesuits worked with the locals rather than forcing religion upon them, built churches in the region, that at the time were the largest in the Americas. Jesuits also taught the indigenous how to play unfamiliar instruments, such as harps and violins and the settlements now have their own orchestras, where operas and concerts take place.

This deep cultural meaning and the high artistic level of the churches motivated UNESCO to declare the Jesuit Missions Cultural Heritage of Mankind.

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