San Miguel de Velasco mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck
San Miguel de Velasco mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck

San Miguel de Velasco Mission: Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos (Eastern Bolivia)

Written by Marco Ramerini. Photos by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck 

This mission is located in the town of  San Miguel de Velasco which is located in Eastern Bolivia, about 30 km south of the city of San Ignacio de Velasco. The city lies at an altitude of 485 meters in the region of Chiquitanía, an unspoilt area of Bolivia between the cities of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and the Brazilian border.

The mission of San Miguel de Velasco was founded in 1722 by the Jesuits Fr. Felipe Suarez and Fr. Francisco Hervás. In the mission were settled inhabitants of the mission of San Rafael de Velasco, whose population had become too abundant.

This mission was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990. The mission church is famous for its very elaborate and richly decorated interior.

San Miguel de Velasco mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck

San Miguel de Velasco mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck

Detail of the Altar Major, San Miguel de Velasco mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck

Detail of the Altar Major, San Miguel de Velasco mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck

San Miguel de Velasco mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck..

San Miguel de Velasco mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck..

San Miguel de Velasco mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck..

San Miguel de Velasco mission, Bolivia. Photo Copyright by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck..

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