San Francisco Church (Valparaíso)

San Francisco Church (Spanish: Iglesia de San Francisco) is a Catholic church located in Barón Hill, Valparaíso, Chile. The church served as lighthouse to the navigants who were arriving Valparaíso until the early 20th century, being the first recognizable point of the city. Valparaíso is often nicknamed with the diminutive form of Francisco: Pancho.

San Francisco Church in August 2012.

The church was constructed by the Franciscan community. The construction works ended in 1846. The building was remodeled in 1890 by architect Eduardo Provasoli.

The church was named National Monument of Chile on 19 July 1983.[1] In the middle of a reconstruction process after the 2010 Chile earthquake, the church was severely damaged by a fire in September 2010.[2] It was once again affected by a fire in August 2013 close to its re-inauguration by President Sebastián Piñera.[3]



San Francisco Church, Valparaíso in 1864

San Francisco Church suffered a fire on 4 February 1983. It was reconstructed in the following years.[4]


San Francisco Church suffered a great fire on 2 September 2010, in the middle of a reconstruction process which had started in June 2010.[2][5] The fire was started in the attic of the church, and damaged most of the roofing of the church. It also damaged Luis Beltrán School.[6] The church had been already severely damaged by 27 February 2010 Chile earthquake.[2]

The fire started around 12:00 local time (16:00 UTC), while a priest was performing a mass for around 60 people. The church was immediately evacuated.[5] Around 600 students from the nearby Luis Beltrán School were also evacuated.[5]

The church was scheduled to be re-inaugurated on 15 September, according to priest Javier McMahon.[5] It is believed that the cause of the fire were some welding sparks.[2][5]

The Ministry of Public Works of Chile estimated the damage at around 2.500.000.000 Chilean pesos (5 million US dollars).[6]


The church was, once again, affected by a fire on 2 August 2013. The fire started at 04:30 local time (08:30 UTC) for reasons under investigation, in the Faculty of Mathematics of the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso. Firefighters told La Tercera the building had no risk of collapsing. The church was being repaired at the time, and was close to being inaugurated by President Piñera.[3]


  1. ^ "Nómina de Monumentos Nacionales" (in Spanish). National Monuments Council. 17 August 2010. Archived from the original on 27 February 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d "Iglesia patrimonial de Chile destruida por incendio" (in Spanish). Prensa Latina. 3 September 2010. Archived from the original on 27 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Incendio de gran magnitud destruye gran parte de la iglesia San Francisco de Valparaíso". La Tercera (in Spanish). Santiago, Chile: COPESA. 2 August 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Iglesia de San Francisco" (in Spanish). Ciudad de Valparaíso. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Un incendio daña gravemente la iglesia patrimonial de San Francisco en Valparaíso" (in Spanish). European Pressphoto Agency. 3 September 2010. Archived from the original on 27 February 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  6. ^ a b Tauran, Erasmo (3 September 2010). "MOP sitúa sobre los $2.500 millones preliminarmente los daños en Iglesia San Francisco". Archived from the original on 27 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013.

Coordinates: 33°2′22.18″S 71°36′1.73″W / 33.0394944°S 71.6004806°W / -33.0394944; -71.6004806