Buildings and Architecture in South America
Built on a bridge over a deep gorge with nearby waterfalls plunging into the river far below, this neo-Gothic church surely is an impressive sight from a distance. A closer look though reveals religious kitsch that pilgrim destinations sometimes suffer from, like souvenir stands, wood lookalike cement fence and odd picnic tables. The church itself, though, is beautiful and the alter inside is formed from the bare rock face, where the image of the Virgin Mary apparently has appeared. Despite the tourist junk (well, it is not that bad), it is definitely worth doing the short side trip from Ipiales.
Sometimes when travelling, it can seem a bit like a church is a church is a church. But every once and a while, there is a special one to visit. Such is the case of the Santuario de la Virgen del Rocío, in the village of Biblian. The church seems more like a fairy-tale castle than a place of worship. Not only is the architecture atypical, but the hillside setting give it a sense of almost military strategics. Possibly the best part of a visit are the charmingly horrible loud speakers which blast nearly inaudible hymns. It makes the odd building into an even stranger experience as the wonder of the place is almost transformed into a low-budget concert.