Templo Votivo de Maipú
The Templo Votivo (Av. 5 de Abril s/n, Maipú) is open 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, while the museum is open 9:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Tuesday–Friday, and 10 a.m.–1 p.m. and 3–6:30 p.m. weekends and holidays. Any bus with the placard “Templo” goes directly to the site; taxi colectivos leave from Alameda and Amunátegui.
After victory over the Spaniards at the battle of Maipú in 1818, Bernardo O’Higgins himself proposed construction of a tributary temple to the Virgen del Carmen, Chile’s patron saint. Begun shortly thereafter, the original temple went unfinished until 1887, then suffered such serious damage in the earthquakes of 1906 and 1927 that this new modernist—some might say brutalist—church was constructed of reinforced concrete. Architect Juan Martínez Gutiérrez began the project in 1944, dropping out 20 years later, and not until 1974 was it complete.
Still, the Templo Votivo draws throngs of the faithful, especially around July 16 for the Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen. Standing ruins of the earlier church are fenced off; the adjacent Museo del Carmen (tel. 02/5317067) displays patriotic and ecclesiastical artifacts.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition