In November of 2008 I went up into the mountains of Peru for a month. There I saw over fifteen towns and villages, traveling by a combination of train, bus, minivan, station wagon, motorcycle, and my own two feet. Much of my transportation was older than I am, and had a disturbing tendency to stall. Yet even as I watched the miles go by, it seemed as if time as well were slipping by. In those areas of desperate poverty, I saw houses built from adobe mud without windows or doors, streets with no paving, and people pulling plows in fields. Men with typewriters set up business in the streets to produce letters, and knife sharpeners wandered with their wheels on their backs. At the center of almost every village, and often enough the village life, was a Catholic church, usually from the colonial period, with its original altarpieces, pulpits, and decorations. As the weeks went by, I noticed extraordinary similarities between them on several levels. While at first glance, they seemed similar to Spanish churches, I quickly saw I was wrong, and that these were Andean churches: particular products of convulsive shifts in Christianity, architecture, global balances of power, and Andean building traditions and religious customs.
Hans S. B. Roegele
Hans Roegele graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in History and Architecture. He received a Masters in Architecture from the University of Notre Dame, where he wrote his thesis on the development of town planning and ecclesiastical architecture in New England.