Iglesia San Atanasio

Church in La Villa de Los Santos

On the east side of Plaza Simón Bolívar, this national treasure was consecrated in 1782, although the foundation stone had been laid more than two centuries earlier. It’s a wonderful example of the baroque style, with lots of intricately carved and gilded wood depicting cherubs, saints, plants and flowers. Almost everything is original, including the six side altars; some objects predate the church itself.

The 12m arch in front of the main altar, for example, bears the date 1733 on the inside. The altar is made of mahogany and rosewood and is covered nearly from base to top in gold leaf. In a glass case below the middle side altar to the left is an almost life-sized wooden statue of Christ that gets carried through the streets of Los Santos in a candlelit procession on Good Friday. The white-and-gold bier used to transport it is at the left as you enter the church.