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article imagePhoto Essay: The old colonial Church of St. Augustine Special

By Igor I. Solar     Aug 7, 2013 in Travel
La Serena - The city of La Serena in north-central Chile is known as the "City of Campaniles" because along its history it has housed several religious orders all of which possessed their own convent and bell tower to spread the faith and religious knowledge.
Historically, there have been as many as 29 church buildings in the downtown section of the city of La Serena. Several of them have been recognized as national monuments because of their historical significance and architectural value.
One of the oldest churches in the city is the Temple of St. Augustine. This church dates from 1672 and was founded by the Jesuit order. In 1767, the Jesuits were expelled from the Spanish colonies in South America, and the church building was given to the Augustinian Order, thus it became known as St. Augustine’s Parish. Among the requirements of the transfer was that the Augustinian friars, besides maintaining the teaching of religion, would continue providing education of art, philosophy and Latin.
For a long time the clock installed in this church’s bell tower governed the activities of the town’s people until in 1798 the tower was brought down by a storm. Attacks by pirates, earthquakes and fires destroyed the church several times. In the first half of the twentieth century the church was rebuilt with limestone walls with three navels in the shape of a cross and a bell tower of stone reinforced with concrete. The bell tower can be seen from various points of the city. Its last restoration, striving to keep a resemblance to the original structure, was completed in 1994 on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the founding of La Serena.
The old church  of St. Augustine in the city of La Serena  Chile  is surrounded by colonial style bu...
The old church of St. Augustine in the city of La Serena, Chile, is surrounded by colonial style buildings with wood carved balconies.
The central nave of the unpretentious colonial-style building of St. Augustine s Parish of La Serena...
The central nave of the unpretentious colonial-style building of St. Augustine's Parish of La Serena. This is one of the many church buildings with bell tower in this 476 year-old-city in central-northern Chile.
Interior of St. Augustine s Church in La Serena  Chile.  All walls are of thick limestone masonry.
Interior of St. Augustine's Church in La Serena, Chile. All walls are of thick limestone masonry.
Given the variety of stylistic elements that compose its architecture, the style of the church is described as “eclectic”. This ancient Church worships the image of the “Our Lady of Mount Carmel”, patron saint of Chile. Because of its antiquity and architectural significance the St. Augustine's Church was declared a National Monument in 1981.
The churches of La Serena attract many domestic and foreign visitors interested in discovering and appreciating the beauty and architectural details of ancient religious monuments keeping part of the history and traditions of a nearly 500-year-old city.
Wood panelling doors at the entrance of St. Augustine  Church in La Serena  Chile.
Wood panelling doors at the entrance of St. Augustine' Church in La Serena, Chile.
One of the several stained glass windows with religious scenes adorning the walls of St. Augustine C...
One of the several stained glass windows with religious scenes adorning the walls of St. Augustine Church in La Serena.
St. Augustine s Parish. Side view of the bell tower and the stone church building with  Spanish  sty...
St. Augustine's Parish. Side view of the bell tower and the stone church building with "Spanish" style ceramic tile roof.
More about St Augustine Church, La Serena Chile, catholic religion, bell tower, Jesuit order
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