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Baroque Temples of Collao

Date de soumission : 05/08/2019
Critères: (ii)(iv)
Catégorie : Culturel
Soumis par :
Ministry for Culture
État, province ou région :
Puno Region, Melgar, Azángaro, Lampa, Puno and Chucuito Provinces, Ayaviri, Asillo, Lampa, Puno, Juli, Pomata and Zepita Districts
Ref.: 6410

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Les noms des biens figurent dans la langue dans laquelle les États parties les ont soumis.


Dept Province District Temple Latitude (Degrees, Min, Sec) Longitude (Degrees, Min, Sec)




S14 52 51.8 W70 35 23.0


S14 47 12.5 W70 21 17.2


S15 21 53.7 W70 22 01.0


S15 50 27.2 W70 01 43.7


S16 21 45.3 W69 27 37.9


S16 12 37.3 W69 27 40.2


S16 16 19.9 W69 17 31.0


S16 29 56.0 W69 06 05.3

The presence of the church in the new colonies was of enormous importance for the Spanish Empire, which, arguing that the political unity of the Empire should be based on religious unity, determined that the conquest of the new territories was made not only by the sword but also by the cross. Later, this presence would be reaffirmed with the establishment of the Royal Patronage, in which the Church and the State will be closely linked in the formation and development of the new colonies. The church in America was not only supported by the protection of the crown but also had an advantageous position in Hispanic society, all of which was reflected in the spiritual, intellectual and material (temples, convents, schools, universities, agricultural farms, residences, etc.).

From the Spanish colonization until the late eighteenth century, the Viceroyalty of Peru was the most important political and cultural center of South America having its peak in the seventeenth century. The arts and architecture in general will achieve important accomplishments in this period, declining markedly in the second half of the eighteenth century, with some exceptions, until the beginning of the nineteenth century in which the independence takes place.

The architecture was one of the fields in which the church was notable by the number, magnitude and elaboration of the works, becoming the temples in the examples of greater artistic and architectonic magnitude and of tangible demonstration of its imposing presence as a spiritual institution and representative of the Spanish domain. Although the viceroyalty architecture can be considered as an extension of Spanish architecture and to a lesser extent of European architecture from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, in American lands it found decisive factors of a social, political, economic, cultural, geographical and climatological aspects that strongly influenced in the design of the works and granted significance and local identification. The Collao region or Andean high plateau were not excluded from these trends given its large population and economic importance (mining, livestock, agriculture), as well as being on the route that connected Lima and Cusco with Potosí, the main mining center and large commercial market of the viceroyalty in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Description of the property:

The Collao or Andean high plateau, is an extensive plain located at an average altitude of 3600 (m.a.s.l) that covers part of northern Argentina, western Bolivia, northern part of Chile and southern part of Peru, characterized by its great height (puna), relief, aridity, cold and dry weather with large thermal variations during the day and the presence of Lake Titicaca, which have influenced the development of flora and fauna and have made possible its continuous occupation for more than 5000 years, being an area of origin of numerous pre-Hispanic cultures, such as Tiahuanaco that reached a high degree of social, military and religious organization and in the transformation of the territory due mainly to the development of agriculture and the domestication of camelids, influencing notoriously in the development of various social formations in the region. During the first years of the viceroyalty, due to the high presence of dispersed indigenous population, it was considered very necessary to establish indigenous reductions to enable the work of evangelization and conversion of the indigenous population and facilitate the collection of taxes, censuses among others aspects, in which large temples of a single nave with Renaissance façade and ornamentation and Mudejar coffered ceilings were built prevailing for the area in the second half of the sixteenth century and the first third of the seventeenth century, several of which are still conserved while many others were gradually replaced and equipped in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by new buildings and works of art in the current baroque style, due to the rise of mining in the region, the development of livestock and trade with Potosí.

The Collao region in the Andean high plateau (current department of Puno), is a remarkable testimony of the development and evolution of the Andean Baroque architecture of the last third of the seventeenth century and in the eighteenth century, influenced by the artistic and architectural tendencies of Cusco and Arequipa, two of the main regional schools of architecture and art of the viceroyalty, and by the great mobility of master builders and craftsmen, acquiring the new religious constructions which particular characteristics also influenced other regions of the current Peruvian-Bolivian high plateau.

The architecture of Baroque temples of Collao is characterized at first sight by the notorious monumentality and quality of its manufacture, as well as by the strength that gives it the use of stone as a building material. Also common characteristics are the use of Latin-cross layout of a single nave, in some cases with lateral niche chapels, the use of the barrel vault, may either be of  stone or quincha, the elaborate altarpiece façade with abundant ornamentation, sober interior decorated with series of canvases of big size with large marquetry that characterize the ritual space, among other aspects, as well as the hierarchy of its urban location that spectacularly dominates the sights from its surroundings, contrasting markedly with the reduced scale and great simplicity building of populated centers and the flat or slightly sinuous landscape, stripped of  high plateau  vegetation that averages 3,800 (m.a.s.l)

This is how two architectural tendencies marked in the region during the Baroque are evidenced: the developed from the transmission of European canons within the limits of the populations of Quechua origin, in the plains of the high plateau lacking in vegetation far from Lake Titicaca and of rigid weather, like San Francisco de Assis de Ayaviri, San Geronimo de Asillo and Santiago Apostol de Lampa, whose influence was determined by the geographical proximity and administrative-religious dependency with the city of Cusco, as well as the decisive intervention of the Bishop of Cusco and great patron Manuel de Mollinedo y Angulo after the earthquake of 1650; and the one developed in the Aymara area near the shores of Lake Titicaca, linked to the Bishopric of Charcas (present-day Bolivia) from the eighteenth century as Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Pomata, San Pedro de Zepita, San Carlos de Puno (Minor Basilica Cathedral), as well as the temples of Juli San Pedro Martir and Santa Cruz de Jerusalen, where the monumentality and sobriety of the architecture of Cusco are combined with the planiform decoration of Arequipa origin applied to the façade and some interior elements to which they are added, without modifying their schemes and in an archaizing and extensive manner, elements of the Andean and tropical flora and fauna, of classical mythology such as mermaids and masks, and pre-Hispanic motifs such as the sun, the moon, the puma, etc., all these elements present in the worldview of the local inhabitants, identifying also the representation of myths and legends.

In particular, the existence of two or more temples frequently found in the Aymara populated centers, which respond to the organization of the population based on ayllus (extended family community) forming neighborhoods, being Juli the most notable case in having four large temples corresponding to the four ayllus existing in the reduction, whose Renaissance buildings in origin were transformed in the eighteenth century in the Baroque style by the Jesuits, who had been in charge of this doctrine since 1576 establishing the first permanent mission of this religious order in the continent, which also served as a training center for the missions of Paraguay, maintaining a unique status and constituting a relevant center of culture in Collao during the viceroyalty.

Brief historical overview:

SAN FRANCISCO DE ASIS TEMPLE. Ayaviri. The temple of San Francisco de Asís de Ayaviri is one of the most representative baroque works of the seventeenth century located in the current department of Puno. It was built between 1677 and 1696 due to the encouragement of the Bishop of Cusco, Manuel de Mollinedo y Angulo, for being in ruins the pre-existing temple of the sixteenth century. The new temple has a Latin cross plan with a barrel vault roof with transverse arches and a vault over a dome in the transept. The beautiful main façade, located on the wall of feet flanked by the towers of the bell towers, is characterized by its profuse composition and baroque ornamentation. The whole church's manufacture is made of sedimentary (sandstone) and igneous stone. Inside, large canvases are highlighted with an eighteenth-century marquetry of great artistic value that almost completely cover the walls of the faithful area, as well as the altarpieces and the pulpit of great artistic quality.

SAN GERONIMO TEMPLE. Asillo. It is considered one of the most important architecture of Collao; chronologically it belongs to the first phase of the baroque of Collao. Its construction began around 1678 by the Bishop of Cusco, Manuel de Mollinedo y Angulo, to replace the previous sixteenth century temple that was in ruins, concluding it in 1696. The new temple of "lime and stone" presents Latin cross plant and one of the best and most elaborate altarpieces of the region with abundant ornamentation that includes motifs of the Andean flora and fauna. The interior conserves several altarpieces, a pulpit and a series of large canvases with eighteenth century marquetry that cover a large part of the walls of the faithful area.

SANTIAGO APOSTOL TEMPLE. Lampa. Its construction began in 1678 by order of the Bishop of Cusco, Manuel de Mollinedo y Angulo, replacing the previous temple of the sixteenth century, concluding the work in 1685 that presents a Latin cross plan with two baroque façades of great design and workmanship. Later, it was renovated in the second half of the eighteenth century with the construction of the current vaults and the pitched roof with colored glazed roof tiles. The temple, which covers an entire block located between two large squares, stands out for its monumentality, being visible from any place distant from the city. Inside, as in Ayaviri and Asillo, it preserves a series of huge canvases with marquetries, as well as altarpieces, pulpit and various ornaments.

SAN CARLOS BORROMEO TEMPLE - MINOR BASILICA CATHEDRAL. Puno. The date of beginning of its construction is unknown, nevertheless it is possible that it replaced progressively a previous temple of the seventeenth century, concluding the beautiful main façade in 1757, work of the indigenous Stonemason Master Simón de Asto, even when the temple was not finished. The works had to suffer delays by the Rebellion of Túpac Amaru, restarting it in 1788 to be completely finished in 1794 due to the contribution of owners of mining deposits. The factory of stone masonry, presents Latin cross plant with barrel vaults and dome over the transept. A fire in 1933 destroyed the altarpiece of the High Altar being designed a new one by the Arch. Emilio Hart-Terré.

SAN PEDRO MARTIR TEMPLE. Juli. It was built under the patronage of Santo Tomás by the Dominican order in 1565, concluding in 1567 next to the convent of San Pedro Mártir. The present temple was built by progressively replacing the original building from the beginning of the eighteenth century, extending until the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767; It has a Latin cross plan with a barrel vault roof with transverse arches and a dome over the transept. The main façade is sober and contrasts with the profuse ornamental carving of its unique bell tower. Inside it is one of the best Baroque spaces of the Collao, together with Pomata, which also conserves its interior equipment of altarpieces, pulpit, canvasses, etc. from the eighteenth century and some works by Bernardo Bitti from the sixteenth century.

SANTA CRUZ DE JERUSALEN TEMPLE. Juli. Originally called San Idelfonso and then Santa Cruz de Jerusalén, the original temple collapsed in 1741 and was rebuilt almost in its entirety, opening in 1753.  It has a Latin cross and highlights the profuse carving of its altarpiece and interior cover, mainly in the sector of the transept and the presbytery, with mestizo ornamentation. At present the temple is in the process of restoration after several decades of abandonment and partial ruin, having lost the vaults of quincha and the belfry tower, nevertheless retains most of its high-quality manufacture.

NUESTRA SEÑORA DE ROSARIO OR SANTIAGO APOSTOL TEMPLE. Pomata. The construction of the current temple dates from the second half of the eighteenth century, which has a Latin cross plan with side chapels, a barrel vault with a dome over the transept, a bell tower and an atrium surrounded by an entrance arch, among other aspects. It is one of the best temples of Collao for its architecture and especially for the profuse ornamentation mestizo of its two covers and the interior of great spatial quality, highlighting the fine carvings of stonework in the dome, pendentives, windows, pillars, covers of the sacristy and counter-sacristy, etc., which denote the highest level of composition of its type in the region. It conserves its interior equipment of altarpieces, pulpit, canvasses, etc. of the eighteenth century.

SAN PEDRO TEMPLE. Zepita. The date of beginning of the construction work of the current temple is unknown, but it is assumed that by 1725 it was in execution, concluding in the second half of the same century. It would be one of the first works of mestizo architecture in this region. The plant is of Latin cross with vaults of cannon, emphasizing its cover side altarpiece under shelter arch, that shows profuse ornamentation with reasons of the flora and Andean fauna, as well as its undulating profile by the configuration of the vaults, arriving until our days like a work of singular quality and interest.

Justification de la Valeur Universelle Exceptionnelle

The baroque style entered in the high plateau of Collao towards the last third of the seventeenth century for the works promoted by the Bishop of Cusco Manuel de Mollinedo y Angulo in the construction of the temples of Ayaviri, Asillo and Lampa, consolidating in a special way in the eighteenth century in which remarkable works of religious architecture were developed, achieving what no previous style had achieved until that moment: to enter in the idiosyncrasy and feeling of the local population, becoming the trade of making architecture and art in almost exclusive patrimony of masters builders and indigenous and mestizo craftsmen who interpreted with their own abilities the architectural schemes and parties that had received of inheritance.

As a result of the interaction and coexistence in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries between Spanish Masters Builders with mestizos and Indigenous who were trained in the work of masonry, stonework, carpentry, sculptors of stone and wood carving, smelters, etc. and of diverse arts, and due to the impulse of the church in the promotion and costing of the works in order to continue with the evangelization of the indigenous population, numerous temples were built in the Collao region that constitute outstanding examples of architecture and Andean Baroque art that preside notoriously the small doctrines located in a rural environment close to 4,000 (m.a.s.l), where the scarcity of wood and other materials, was a technical and logistical challenge, denoting the capacity of use and mobility of various components as forms for the execution of vaults in various works of the Peruvian and possibly Bolivian altiplano (Gutiérrez, 1978: 110).

Over time, in the eighteenth century, the exchange of values and transfer of knowledge in the construction activity that goes from Spanish to indigenous and mestizo is completed, also receiving the ornamental influence of Arequipa, assuming the latter the roles of design and direction of the works, doing what they know how to do for what they have learned from the Spanish master builders and for the empirical tradition, reducing the peninsular presence almost completely in the creative and execution processes, facilitating in this way the contribution of local forms and aesthetics that give a unique architectural identity typical of the region that has been integrated with the surrounding wild landscape.

Criterion (ii): The baroque temples of Collao are remarkable testimonies of the confluence of architectural and artistic currents from Cusco and Arequipa, two of the most important centers of cultural diffusion and production of the ancient viceroyalty of Peru that constituted regional schools derived from the Spanish architectural tradition but with a strong regionalist interpretation, developing particular characteristics in the high plateau region, both formal and decorative by the local contributions of the hands of the indigenous and mestizo builders and craftsmen, who learned and made own the knowledge of design and constructive techniques transferred by the Spanish Master Builders works in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and whose influence on the transmission of architectural models developed in the region and original ornamental concepts spread strongly in the high plateau to the regions of La Paz, Oruro and Potosí in the former Audiencia de Charcas (current Bolivia) enriching itself with the local contributions.

Criterion (iv):  The baroque temples of the Collao region represent the fusion of the design and construction of temples under the influence of the regional schools of Cusco and Arequipa, using materials, architectural forms and local ornamental motifs with a high symbolic content, comprising a legacy of approximately nine temples built due to the promotion and direction of religious orders, secular priest priests and bishops of the Catholic Church between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, during the period of the viceroyalty of Peru, with the purpose of evangelizing the local indigenous population, both Quechua and Aymara, and supporting its incorporation into the Spanish administrative and productive process.

The conjunction of influences and local contributions received and reinterpreted locally, generated unique examples of religious buildings of great architectural value, which acquire high symbolic value as sacred places within the particular religious worldview of the inhabitants of Collao of cult extraversion, and present notable features as part of the evolutionary process of the architecture of the temples, evident in their volume and mass that allows them to stand out notoriously from the profile of the populations in which they are located constituting a visual and belonging landmark; in the hierarchy of its location within the urban traces, constituting at the same time centers of urban organization; in its plants of Latin cross with the traditional elongated and narrow naves that constitute a persistence of the proportions of the Renaissance temples of the region; in the development of very elaborate altarpiece façades that ratify the baroque idea of façades in relation to the urban space and the building; in the application of the ornamental carving in stone of planiform character, of deep incisions and edges carved to bezel that accentuate the feeling of the chiaroscuros and that incorporates motifs of the local flora and fauna together with prehispanic motifs, classical and Christian mythology, composing an iconography with great symbolic content; in the large atriums mostly fenced for liturgical use, ritual festivities and as a cemetery.

By these means, the temples of San Francisco de Asis de Ayaviri, San Geronimo de Asillo and Santiago Apóstol de Lampa, San Carlos de Puno, San Pedro Mártir de Juli, Santa Cruz de Jerusalén de Juli, Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Pomata and San Pedro de Zepita are architectural icons of the history of Andean art and architecture, standing out for their particular building configuration, constructive quality and ornamental originality, among other aspects.

Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité


All the original attributes of form and design, materials, construction techniques, location and landscape environment that characterize the religious architecture developed in the Collao region and illustrate its evolutionary process are present in the set of the nine selected temples from the influences received in the seventeenth century from the regional schools of Cusco and Arequipa, as well as the knowledge of design and construction techniques transmitted by the Spanish Master Builders to the indigenous and mestizos, and the local aesthetic contributions that defined in the eighteenth century a fusion of trends and architectural and artistic knowledge and the transfer of aesthetic criteria to other regions of the Peruvian and Bolivian high plateau.

The conservation and restoration interventions carried out by the State in the last two decades have followed the principles and recommendations established in the international documents of UNESCO and ICOMOS and have allowed to maintain the authenticity of the design and materials of the buildings.

Only San Pedro Martir de Juli temple presents interventions in its vaults and dome executed in the 1940-50 decade, however these interventions are clearly legible, having not affected other components or diminished the individual and the whole image.

Likewise, most temples maintain their use and function as places of cult, having converted a few to other uses due to the extinction of the cult in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as is the case of the temples of Juli Santa Cruz de Jerusalem and San Juan de Letran.


The baroque temples of Collao maintain in general complete their typological, constructive, formal and original location characteristics that express their architectural, artistic, historical and urbanistic values, as well as religious uses and functions in most cases, being present together all the exceptional attributes that allow its recognition and reading, as well as having sufficient size to adequately guarantee the representation of the Outstanding Universal Value.

In general, there is a good state of preservation and physical integrity has been maintained in all the temples, except for Santa Cruz de Jerusalem de Juli whose abandonment at the end of the nineteenth century caused the progressive fall of vaults and the belfry tower, as well like the bell tower of the temple of San Pedro de Zepita that collapsed due to the impact of a lightning strike, however both buildings are stabilized and in the process of being restored by the Ministry of Culture.

All the temples are now part of the Cultural Patrimony of the Nation, declared as Monuments by Law No. 9342 of 02/20/1941 (Santiago Apostol de Lampa), Law No. 9400 of 10/15/1941 (San Francisco de Asis de Ayaviri, San Geronimo de Asillo), Supreme Resolution No. 515 of 12/01/1959 (San Pedro Martir de Juli, Santa Cruz de Jerusalem de Juli) Supreme Resolution No. 2900 of 12/28/1972 (San Carlos de Puno, Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Pomata, San Pedro de Zepita), and legally protected by the State through Law No. 28296 General Law of the Cultural Heritage of the Nation, its Regulation (Supreme Decree No. 011-2006-ED) and by the Political Constitution of Peru, in addition to other complementary norms. The protection and supervision of the temples is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture through its Decentralized Directorate of Culture of Puno, sharing responsibilities with local governments (municipalities) and the Regional Government of Puno, according to Law No. 28296, Law No. 27972 Organic Law of Municipalities and Law No. 27867 Organic Law of Regional Governments.

Comparaison avec d’autres biens similaires

Christian religious architecture constitutes one of the most represented categories on the World Heritage List, due to the high profusion, variety and quality of individual buildings, as well as sets of temples, convents, missions and estates, which are exemplified in various parts of the world the historical importance, great variety of typologies and architectonic and artistic styles developed along several centuries in different geopolitical and cultural conditions.

Although it can be understood that the category is sufficiently represented worldwide, a lack of balance may be noted in the distribution by regions of the registered properties, which is not necessarily due to the absence of relevant examples or that the existing ones lack of Exceptional Universal Value. Thus, the total of religious properties registered worldwide (27 properties), only 19% (05 properties) correspond to South America, increasing to 30% (08 properties) as examples at the continental level.

The South American region was of great importance in the evangelizing process carried out by European religious since the sixteenth century, which is evident by the large number, diversity and wide distribution of temples in all the territories under the control of the Spanish Crown, which bear witness the work done and the long tradition in the thought, culture and identity of the population up to the present. These temples present numerous regional peculiarities of design, material and function that differentiate between them and from other regions of the world. To this is added that the totality of serial temples registered in Europe correspond to buildings prior to the sixteenth century, whose design, typology, construction technology and even use of materials are different from the Andean temples. Similarly, the serial properties of North America registered on the World Heritage List (Mexico, USA) have particular design characteristics, being more linked compositionally and stylistically to each other than to the South American examples that had an independent development and very different from Mexico and its area of influence.

Finally, the South American serial properties registered in the World Heritage List are mainly related to the Jesuit missions (Jesuit Missions of the Guaranies - Argentina and Brazil, Jesuit Missions of the Holy Trinity of Paraná and Jesus of Tavarangue - Paraguay, and Jesuit Missions of Los Chiquitos - Bolivia), to estancias (Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba - Argentina) and to wooden temples (Chiloe Churches - Chile), all of them present particular formal, aesthetic, functional and symbolic characteristics that differentiate them from each other and with the baroque parish temples of Collao, while the serial temples registered in the Indicative Lists of the State Parties denote a concern to represent the rural architecture of the doctrines in the Andes (Churches of the high plateau - Chile and Temples of the Catholic Doctrine - Colombia) , those that differ from the one proposed by its simple typology, smaller scale, different constituent materials, architectural styles and less design complexity, each case being a particular response to the establishment of doctrines in each region. The proposal of the baroque temples of Collao is situated in this aspect, as representative examples of the rural religious architecture of the baroque period in the Andes.