Matilla town in the Big North

Matilla town in the Big North

Matilla, that means squeezings, has an altitude of 3.805 feet: it is an old and prosperous oasis, whose town dates from 1760, year in which outstanding families of Pica took root here. The main product of Matilla was the wine, elaborated from the important vineyards in the gorge of Quisma (Quebrada de Quisma). Since 1912, the water of that gorge has been turned aside towards Iquique, worsening the shortage of liquid in the town and drying the cultivations. The beautiful buildings of Matilla have been repaired, thanks to the effort of the neighbors.

In Matilla is located the Church of San Antonio and the Campanario of baroque style, that is constructed with small blocks of anhydrite and borax. Its foundations date since century XVIII and are original of the primitive church, destroyed by an earthquake. The present church of Matilla was constructed in 1887, and has a neoclassic facade and has a ceiling with a vault in cross and is mud covered. In its interior emphasizes the altar, the altarpiece and a Holy Supper with bulk personages of natural size, all conserved of the first church. From its atrium is dominated the town. In order to visit the Church, it is possible to attend it from 10:00 AM, requesting the keys in the store of the Church San Antonio of Padua (Iglesia San Antonio de Padua) itself, where they sell delicious juices. The Celebration of San Antonio of Padua is 13 of June.

To the flank of the church, it is the Lagar of Matilla , a site museum of a wine industry that worked in the earliest decades of 1700. It conserves its equipments, earthenware jar and a big press. Didactic explanations are offered. For visits, the schedule is from 10:00 A.M, requesting the keys in the same store of the church of San Antonio.

While there, you should taste the delicious alfajores  with fruits marmalade. From the seat of Matilla, return to the main way. Following the east, take the deflection signalized to the Gólgota of the Re-encounter (Gólgota del Rencuentro). It is a sanctuary with remarkable representations of scenes of the Jesus Christ life, made by Aldo Rojas since 1992. He has finished the Crucifixion (Crucifixión), Holy Grave (Santo Sepulcro), the Birth of Christ (el Nacimiento de Cristo) and is planning to construct the Baptism (El Bautismo) and the Last Supper (La Ultima Cena). For visits, the schedule is from Mondays through Fridays, from 10:00 A.M. to 14:00 P.M. and from18:00 P.M. to 22:00 P.M., and the entrance is released.

Following through the paved way to Pica, you cross to a small square where the retorts of a Stegosaurus and a Giganto carolini are in natural size, two of the seven species of dinosaurs whose tracks were found in the gorge of Chacarilla (quebrada de Chacarilla).

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