Jesuit Mission Church

Santa Cruz & Gran Chiquitania

The church of San Miguel's spiral pillars, carved wooden altar with a flying San Miguel, extravagant golden pulpit, religious artwork, toy-like bell tower and elaborately painted facade are simply superb. Although not designed by Martin Schmidt, the church does reflect his influence and is often considered the most beautiful of Bolivia’s Jesuit missions.

A unique feature of San Miguel is the presence of no fewer than seven bells in the bell tower. When rung in combination they transmit a complicated code language to the populace. The largest bell rung in tandem with two others signals the departure of a dignitary, rung alone it’s the baptism of a child, while a special bell calls the faithful to prayer.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Santa Cruz & Gran Chiquitania attractions

1. Iglesia de Santa Ana

20.24 MILES

Santa Ana church, with its wooden altar and reed roof, is more rustic than others on the mission circuit and recalls the first churches constructed by the…

2. Jesuit Mission Church

20.39 MILES

The restored interior of this 1747 mission is particularly beautiful, and the original paintings and woodwork remain intact. The pulpit is covered with a…

3. Museo Misional de Ignacio de Velasco

22.25 MILES

Inside the Casa de Cultura is a small museum with photographs of all the churches on the circuit and background information on the missions. The tourist…

4. Iglesia de San Ignacio

22.33 MILES

The first mission church at San Ignacio de Velasco, founded in 1748, was once the largest and most elaborate of all the mission churches. It was…