The archipelago of Chiloé is at the point, about half way down, where the coast of Chile seems to break up. It comprises one large island with a fair number of small ones lying on its eastern (mainland) side. I reached in on an overnight bus from the capital, the first and only one I had booked in advance online. In the early morning, the bus took the ferry across to the main island the capital town of which was my base for exploration.
The islands were evangelized by the Jesuits in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the wooden churches in this WHS are sixteen of the remaining ones built during that process. Built by the local people they are said by UNESCO to show “successful fusion of European and indigenous cultural traditions to produce a unique form of wooden architecture”.
The churches are all in a smallish area on the eastern side of the archipelago, centred around the capital Castro. All can be reached by the minibus sized local buses, so after looking at the church in Castro itself, I spent two days hopping between the villages and islands – the bus goes on a short ferry for that. Some buses only run every couple of hours though, so I spent a fair amount of time sitting on grass verges listening to the birdsong and waiting. This was exacerbated by many of the churches not being open to visit: there is only so much time even I can spend looking at the outside of a small building.
Although all different in detail, most of the Chiloé churches have the same general appearance, as you can see here, with portico, gable end and tower on a fairly plain rectangular structure. Some have support beams angling down to the ground outside, but not all.
During my wanders around one tiny village, killing time until the next bus, I encountered this litter of piglets cavorting in a field, from which they then escaped under the fence, snuffled up the fallen apples on the path in front of me before scampering off to mob their poor mother for food.
In total I managed to visit eight of the churches over two days, although one of those had its tower disassembled for restoration work, so I managed to have a quick look behind the hoardings and hop back on the bus as it turned round and went back the way I’d come.
Clearly my Lego model was going to be one of the churches, or a generalised example of them. I built in white rather than brown for unpainted wood as I have more parts to chose from in that colour. So in that respect it most resembles this church:
But the shape is more inspired by some of the others,