The town's centerpiece, this church on the Plaza de Armas was started by the Jesuits in 1754 but left unfinished until 1859. Rebuilt in the neoclassical style, the church is now a national monument. An unusually ornate arcade with five arches fronts the church, and inside are an intricately carved altar and wooden columns. The church contains Chonchi's most prized relic, a statue of the Virgen de la Candelaria. According to tradition, this image of the Virgin Mary protected the town from the Dutch pirates who destroyed neighboring Castro in 1600. Townspeople celebrate the event every February 2 with fireworks and gunpowder symbolizing the pirate attack. The building is open for mass Sunday at 11 am.
Plaza de Armas, at Centenario and Francisco Corral, Chonchi, 5770000, Chile