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Photo Journal: UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bolivia – The Jesuit Missions.

Clearly, I haven’t had a lot of time lately to devote the deserved attention to our family’s travel blog. Shame on me! :o But really: we’re getting ready for an upcoming pack-out/home leave in the US/next country assignment – Brazil. All that, while still working as a full-time professional, around-the-clock mom, wife and friend! Well, will do my best from this point on! Here’s a ‘photo jounal’ of our week-long trip to the Department of Santa Cruz, including several worldly recognized cultural and ecological sites:

[Placeholder] Visiting the Jesuit Missions in Bolivia.

Trying to offer a bit of ‘catch up’ with our travel posts [before many more begin pilling up !] Our family still has a big trip planned before we depart Bolivia – somewhere around the school Easter break, but for now, let me share a bit of our visits to some of the Bolivian UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The first one refers to the Jesuit Missions [Misiones Jesuiticas] in Santa Cruz de La Sierra.
In a very near future, I’ll aim to tackle another heritage site: the wilderness and unique culture of Samaipata, also located in the Department of Santa Cruz.

The Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos are located in Santa Cruz department in eastern Bolivia. Six of these former missions (all now secular municipalities) collectively were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. Distinguished by a unique fusion of European and Amerindian cultural influences, the missions were founded as reductions or reducciones de indios by Jesuits in the 17th and 18th centuries to convert local tribes to Christianity.

Between 1696 and 1760, six ensembles of settlements of Christianized Indians, also called “reducciones” inspired by the 16th-century philosophers idea of an urban community, were founded by the Jesuits in a style that married Catholic architecture with local traditions.

 

The six that remain – San Francisco Javier, Concepción, Santa Ana, San Miguel, San Rafael and San José – make up a living heritage on the former territory of the Chiquitos [Source: WHC UNESCO].

 

The interior region bordering Spanish and Portuguese territories in South America was largely unexplored at the end of the 17th century. Dispatched by the Spanish government at the time [towards the New World], Jesuits explored and founded 11 settlements in 76 years in the remote Chiquitania – then known as Chiquitos – on the frontier of Spanish America. Our family flew from our home, La Paz to Santa Cruz de La Sierra. From there, we drove some 1,500 km in order to visit most of the Jesuitic Missions still standing – only one was left unseen, due to been too far from our planned route – close to the Northeastern boarder with Brazil – the Jesuit Mission of San Jose.

They built templos with unique and distinct styles, which combined elements of native and European architecture. The indigenous inhabitants of the missions were taught European music as a means of conversion. Obviously, when we remember learning about the Jesuitic times in school, there’s the controversy around the Jesuits original goals – some would believe in a not-so-positive influence; others still remain faithful to the good-hearted intentions praised by the Spanishmen… I, for one, admire the work and teaching left here – and invite to continue the journey with us!

The missions were self-sufficient, with thriving economies, and virtually autonomous from the Spanish crown.

After the expulsion of the Jesuit order from Spanish territories in 1767, most Jesuit reductions in South America were abandoned and fell into ruins. The former Jesuit missions of Chiquitos are unique because these settlements and their associated culture have survived largely intact.


A large restoration project of the missionary churches began with the arrival of the former Swiss Jesuit and architect Hans Roth in 1972. Since 1990, these former Jesuit missions have experienced some measure of popularity, and have become a tourist destination. A popular biennial international musical festival put on by the nonprofit organization Asociación Pro Arte y Cultura, to be held this coming April 2014, along with other cultural activities within the mission towns, contribute to the popularity of these settlements.

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Posted by on March 15, 2014 in BOLIVIA, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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Gallery

Photography] Visiting the Inca Ruins in Samaipata, Bolivia.

DSC_0131 DSC_0132 IMG_1424 DSC_0133 DSC_0134 DSC_0135 DSC_0136 DSC_0137 DSC_0138 IMG_1429 IMG_1432

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in ART, BOLIVIA, TRAVEL

 

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Image

[Placeholder] Visiting the Jesuit Missions in Bolivia.

[Placeholder] Visiting the Jesuit Missions in Bolivia.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in TRAVEL

 

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Great Bidding Victory! Guess where we’re going?!

The illusion of two hands together reaching up to the sky creates the Metropolitan Cathedral

The founder, President JK

This city is well-known for its unique architecture, and the use of other media, like the water, to create architectural and sculptural illusions. Here is a bit of the city, showing that, even with the lack of focus on the main feature, the city constructions and its urban art remain unique, powerful and fabulous!

The Cultural Center

Have you guessed where will be heading out to next Summer? :o

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in BRASIL, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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2012 in review, according to the WordPress stats helper monkeys…

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 68,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

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It’s time to be Thankful…

little things that make me happy… click here for this week’s ‘Happy’ post!

Less than one day until our Thanksgiving is here! Be Thankful. It’s the word for the Season. Thanks to This mom’s got something to say for letting me share this fantastic post. It’s about being grateful, which I’m sure many of us need to be.

“Thanks. And a whole lot more.” Just in time for this Friday’s photo challenge: Thankful!

“It’s Thanksgiving. The perfect time to reflect and say thank-you for all of the things you have been blessed with in your life. A time to hug your loved ones and let them know how much they mean to you. It’s a time to step out of yourself…”
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in FAMILY

 

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Illustrated ‘Bolivian-style’ adapted cooking: Green Bean Casserole!

Now, updated with the promised images! Great fit for this week’s photo theme, as well. How I love coincidences!

Enjoy!

Here is my ‘adapted’ recipe:

Green Bean Casserole, “Bolivian-Style”, totally vegetarian!

Ingredients:

1 cup and some 5 oz of 1 can CAMPBELL’S® Miranda Family’s Kitchen homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

3/4 cup milk

1/8 tsp. black pepper

2 (9 oz. each) pkgs. frozen cut green beans, thawed* 1/2 kg (1 pound and some 4 oz) of freshly cut, cooked [with a bit of salt] green beans

1 1/3 cups FRENCH’S® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions homemade onion rings (yeah, that one, where you beat one egg with 3 Tb spoons of all-purpouse flour, and a bit of salt!) [hopefully, it’ll do the trick… gotta be original, at least!] :o

Directions:

MIX soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 – qt. baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup homemade onion rings (see the images for a real shock on my recently-discovered cooking skills!) :o

BAKE at 350°F 375°F for 30 35 min.

STIR. Top with remaining 2/3 cup of onion chips/rings. Bake for some 5 min. or until onion chips are golden.

Liked the results? What about my first-time homemade onion rings for the topping? ♥

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