Off the coast of Chile, a group of about thirty islands belonging to the Chiloé Archipelago make up a fiercely independent community with its own distinct identity visible in the islanders’ folklore, mythology, cuisine and unique architecture. So proud the islanders are of their culture that they strongly protested when the government offered to connect the remote islands to the mainland with what would have been Latin America's longest bridge, fearing that tourism would forever erode the uniqueness of their community, and pollute their land and water.
But sometimes contact with the outside world is a good thing, as evident from the magnificent churches that stand on the archipelago's biggest island Chiloé. They are a fusion of European and indigenous architecture.
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The Church of Nercón in Chiloé. Photo credit: Srikanth Jandhyala/Flickr