Route of the Missions: Travel is Sacred

Cultural Landscape of the Andean churches of Arica and Parinacota

On the Route

Find the Andean entrepreneurs associated with the Network of Friends of the Route of the Missions and book directly with them.

Territory

The Andean churches of Arica and Parinacota are the main landmarks of the Cultural Landscape of Arica and Parinacota, built with stone, earth and Peruvian feather grass (Stipa ichu) in the midst of the amazing landscapes of the valleys, mountains and altiplano. Originating from the end of the XVI century and built around the Silver Route of Potosí, which connected the legendary mineral with the port of Arica, the churches are the result of the Spanish occupation in the southern Andean territory, whose original inhabitants date back to the Tiwanacu and Inca Empires. To this day the humble temples reflect the complex encounter of the ancestral south Andean culture with the European religious and cultural influence. These missionary temples, sporadically visited by parish priests and other clergymen, have been guarded as treasures by their communities via the traditional occupations of majordomos, churchwardens and singers; becoming bastions of rich spirituality and ancestral Andean culture. To this day the temples are the focal point of the Andean community life, where births, deaths, saints’ festivities and many other religious festivities associated with the annual agricultural cycle are celebrated. The Andean churches are the major landmarks and living heritage of the territory of Arica and Parinacota, the Cultural Landscape of America.

Arica and Parinacota, Cultural Landscape of America

The Andean churches of Arica and Parinacota are the main treasures of the Cultural Landscape of Arica and Parinacota, constructed by their communities with stone, earth and Peruvian feather grass (Stipa ichu) in the midst of the amazing landscapes of the valleys, mountains and altiplano. See Arica and Parinacota, Cultural Landscape of America.

Meaning

The Route of the Missions is a proposal of Responsible Tourism: A traveler who visits the territory effectively contributes to the conservation of natural and cultural treasures, which are guarded by the Andean communities. The Route of the Missions was born as a sustainability mechanism for the Restoration Plan of the Andean Churches of Arica and Parinacota, and has been promoted since 2003 to the present day by the Altiplano Foundation, Andean Communities, Bishopric of Arica, Regional Government and other collaborators. In order to advance community management of the tourism circuit, the Senior Committee of the Route of the Missions has been created, which promotes the participation and governance of the communities themselves and the contributory role of responsible tourism as a mechanism for heritage conservation and sustainable development.

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About Us

The Altiplano Foundation was born in 1999 to accompany Andean and rural communities in the challenge of preserving their temples and ancestral heritage. Its purpose is to achieve a more joyful and sustainable world through heritage conservation. The work is executed according to the model Because I fell in love with you, which promotes heritage conservation in community as an alternative for sustainable development of the planet. The Network Enamorad@s integrates people and institutions who share a common purpose of conservation and sustainable development and whose efforts help sustain the work of the Altiplano Foundation.

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