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Community and Architecture


The Jesuit Reductions are built according to the Jesuits' vision of ideal cities. They are trying to establish a Christian social society. The most important element of the reductions is the public square for Christian processions. To the side, there are other Christian elements such as a church, chapels, a cemetery and a rectory. School facilities, workshops and plantations testify to the planned economic viability of the reductions. A sundial is intended to encourage the indigenous people to follow a regular daily routine, because all indigenous people are obliged to work. The locals’ homes are designed for a monogamous family model. Only indigenous people and Jesuits are allowed to enter the reductions.

Their downfall is the envy of the Spanish-colonial landowners. They see the economically successful Jesuit reductions as unwelcome competition.
That is why the Jesuit reductions were called a “holy experiment” admiringly at the time, and later derisively. Then, at the end of the 19th century, they are even seen as an example of successful Christian socialism.

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