In the abandonment, the church of San Andrés de Machaca deteriorates

Pagina Siete reports:

In 2016, the Mayor’s Office asked the Ministry of Culture for authorization to repair the atrium. They have not answered yet.

Despite being part of the historical and cultural heritage of Bolivia, the temple of San Andrés de Machaca presents serious damages. Municipal authorities tried to carry out the maintenance of the atrium of the church in 2016, but this did not materialize because it did not have the authorization of the Ministry of Cultures, informed the mayor Pascual Alanoca Conde.

“We want to renovate the atrium, but the ministry does not give us the order. We can not do anything because it is a National Heritage,” said the burgomaster of the municipality of Jesus de Machaca.

The construction of the temple follows the architectural patterns of the Colony. It has a plant in the shape of a Latin cross, half dome and attached tower. In front, the cover has the shape of a semicircular arch, and inside the ornamentation shows the mestizo Baroque style.

“In its interior paintings are preserved with the technique of the School of Collao with beautiful decorations. It is considered one of the sacred places of the indigenous peoples. This temple is linked to the churches of Pucarani, Charazani, Mocomoco, Jesus of Machaca, Copacabana, Tiwanaku and Taraco,” cites a bulletin of the Directorate of Cultures and Tourism of the Government of La Paz.

All these heritage features are at risk, since the roofs have holes and the bell tower has serious damages.

The Mayor reported that, at his request, the ministry told him that “they are seeking financing.” But to date there is no restoration plan.

“When my administration has begun, the President has publicly committed to restoring the church. It is one of the oldest temples and nationally known. Every year we place the order, it is constant. The answer is that there is no financing,” lamented Conde. [Bolivian Thoughts opinion: This lousy government allocates funding for daily helicopter rides for evo to/from his new palace … he wastes money in luxury items and irrelevant, useless green plastic carpet that he puts on soccer fields … those are his priorities …]

In 2016, “with the little money” of its Annual Operative Plan (POA) that municipality of La Paz, assigned 40,000 bolivianos to buy tiles. “I think that should reach for the entire atrium. But they are inside the church, saved. We can not put them without the order,” he added.

After that attempt, the municipal government allocates a lower amount for labor repairs. “It is little that we budget every year, but we can not execute it,” he reiterated. Next year, the mayor’s office ends and the Mayor wants to return the temple to the town of San Andrés de Machaca.

Bolivian Cultural Heritage Law

Law No. 530 of May 23, 2014, approved in the management of President Evo Morales says:

“The management of the Bolivian Cultural Heritage must be a shared and coordinated action between the different autonomous territorial entities, the institutions of the central level of the State and the organized society. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, as the governing body, will promote this coordination.”

The Ministry of Tourism did not officially respond to the information requirement of Pagina Siete. However, sources in that portfolio said that possibly the municipal requirement had some faults, which were not remedied. For this reason the authorization was not given.

Characteristics of the patrimonial temple

  • Antiquity: The church of San Andrés de Machaca located in the town of the same name, was built between 1806 and 1836, at the end of the Colony. It is witness to the Independence and the first years of the Republic.
  • Heritage: It is part of the complex of churches built in the altiplano, which have been declared historical and cultural heritage of Bolivia. The temple is in the category of artistic architecture, for having canvases, sculptures and cultural manifestations.
  • Design: Its construction follows the same architectural patterns of the Colony in its last stage, Baroque mestizo style.
  • Location: The church is located in the department of La Paz, in the province of Ingavi, municipality of San Andrés de Machaca. It was built in the central square of the town. Around it were the spaces destined to the secular and military administration of the locality.
  • Tourist activities: The temple is a destination for religious, cultural tourism, observation activities, study and interpretation of colonial architecture and art.
  • Nearby attractions: Visitors can also visit the town of San Andrés de Machaca and Tiwanaku, which is nearby.

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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