The Church of San Francisco, Chiu Chiu

This church is located about 30 km from Calama in the small village of Chiu Chiu about 2,525 meters above sea level, and is considered the most beautiful church of the region.

It was built around 1675 using adobe for the walls. Its ceiling is made of cactus laths, over which there is a layer of mud and straw. Its style is typical of the Atacameño culture.

It contains a number of interesting pieces of religious imagery; two of the most outstanding are a painting of “The Passion of Christ” painted on both sides, and a crucifix with folding arms so it can be carried in processions. The patron saint is St Francis of Asissi, whose feast is celebrated on the 4th October every year.

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