Jesuit Mission Church

Church in San José de Chiquitos

San José has the only stone Jesuit mission church and merits a visit even if you miss all the others. Although the main altar is nearly identical to those in other nearby missions and has vague similarities to churches in Poland and Belgium, the reason behind its unusual exterior design remains unclear.

The church compound consists of four principal buildings arranged around the courtyard and occupying an entire city block. Construction began prior to 1731 with the bell tower finished in 1748, the funerario (death chapel) dated 1752 and the parroquio (living area) completed in 1754. It is believed, however, that only the facades were finished before the Jesuits were expelled in 1767. All construction work was done by the Chiquitano people under Jesuit direction.