Churches in the North
La Serena Cathedral
It was declared a National Monument in 1981. It is situated on the northeast corner of the main square, the Plaza de Armas, in Cordovez Street. The first temple was erected for the foundation of la Serena (1544).
After it had been damaged on various occasions, the present day church was built around 1844, with the French architect Juan Herbage in charge of the project. The structure consists of limestone walls made of blocks which were cut in Peñuelas as well as lime mortar; the stone foundations were not cut to measurements.
The columns are made of wood and have been plastered with cement mortar and ground limestone. The ceiling has barrel vaults covered in wooden panels. The floor is covered in black and white marble just like a chess board. The roof frame is wooden and it is covered with corrugated galvanized iron.
It is a National Monument and it dates back to the 18th century. It is located in Guaviña town. Like other churches in the area, it has a baroque design. The doorway is a carved stone arch. It used to be administered by the Iglesia de San Nicolás de Tolentino.
San Gerónimo Church
It was the first church built in the township of Arica. It was founded in 1605 and had to be rebuilt in adobe, adding two wooden bell towers.
San Lucas Church and Belfry
You have to go through a bell tower to get into this church. The church is surrounded by a wall with two levels. It was built before 1641, using stone blocks which were later pasted with a layer of mud applied on top of cactus boards. It was declared a National Monument in 1951.
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Church
It is located in the town called Ayquina. A celebration in honour of the Virgin of Guadalupe is held here every year on 7th and 8th September as it is believed to be a place of miracles. It is completely surrounded by walls. It was built with stone and plastered a red colour. The festival usually attracts approximately 12 thousand people and the dancers multi-coloured, extravagant costumes are eye catching.
San Francisco Church
It was built around 1675 and adobe was used to build the walls. The roof is made of cactus boards which have been covered with a layer of mud and straw. The style is characteristic of the atacameña culture.
It was declared a National Monument in 1977 and is located in Guayacán in Bahía de la Herradura. It belonged to the Urmeneta family who settled in the town during the 19th century. Its entirely metallic structure was erected in 1889 by a Belgian company.
Up until the end of the 19th century, the church represented the urban centre for residents who worked in the copper smelting industry, owned by the Urmeneta Errázuriz family. The copper smelting no longer exists but the church which is now a chapel, depicts this type of metallic architecture in Chile.
It was declared a National Monument in 1981 and is situated in Andacollo’s town square. It was founded in 1893. It has an Italian neoclassical design with 5 naves and a crowned transept.
It was made with Oregon pine and the walls are filled in with adobe and covered with sheets of galvanized iron. It holds 10 000 people. Processions and groups of dancers meet here twice a year in October and December to greet the Virgin of the Rosary.
San Antonio de Barraza Church
It was declared a National Monument in 1977. It is located in San Antonio de Barraza, 3 km north of the crossing on the road to Ovalle. This church was founded in 1680 and built between 1692 and 1700, on land belonging to the captain Antonio de Barraza.
The structure consists of 1 m thick adobe walls, the tower has stone foundations and the roof and floor are made of wood. The roof slates have been replaced by galvanized iron. The furnishings are a modest wooden pulpit and altarpiece.