Castro: Truly unique houses

In the heart of the Island of Chiloe, Castro’s architecture, fishing, and farm are local points of pride

Friday, July 24, 2009  
Palafitos Palafitos Foto:Prochile

Castro is situated among the hills and in front of the Lemuy Canal, and is the principal urban center on the island.  It combines strong characteristics of the countryside and ocean in determining the local personality.  These local characteristics are on display every February during the local festival where townspeople showcase their unique cuisine largely based on seafood.

They city was founded in 1567 by Martín Ruiz de Gamboa.  Later, it was briefly claimed by the Dutch before being reclaimed by the Spanish.  In the 20th c., train service arrived on the island, and boosted Castro’s appeal as a place to live and vacation.

Every summer thousands of backpackers visit Castro while passing to the south.  With quality hotels and fine dining, and located only 172 km from Puerto Montt, Castro is a highly recommended place to visit.

Points of Interest in Castro

Palafitos Houses
are distinctive examples of Chilote architecture.  The large houses are located on the shores of the Gamboa River and the Lemuy Canal.  They are supported by thick pieces of wood embedded in the ocean floor and covered in tile roofs.  At low tide, it is possible to see where the support structure anchors into the floor of the ocean; at high tide, the houses seem to float.

The Modern Art Museum opened its doors in 1988 to local and international artists.  The museum has received several architectural design awards for its effective combination of traditional and modern design elements.  It is located adjacent to the Castro City Park, and requires marking a reservation before visiting. (65) 635454.

The San Francisco Church was declared a national monument in 1976 and world heritage site in 2000 by Unesco, along with 15 other nearby churches.  Located on the Plaza de Armas, its height dominates other buildings.  The church was founded by Jesuits in the 16th c., but later adopted by other Christians in the 18th c.  Other parts of the structure date back to the early 20th c., and were designed by Eduardo Provasoli, an Italian architect, and by local carpenters.  Inside, it includes a beautifully carved ceiling and alters, and distinctive image of Christ. 

img_banner