The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion), commonly known as the Santa Maria Church, was designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 11, 1993 as part of the four churches (the others being Miag-ao Church in Iloilo, Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, and San Agustin Church in Manila) clumped as the Baroque Churches of the Philippines. This Church was founded in 1769 on a narrow hill surrounded by a defensive wall overlooking the town's proper, this makes Santa Maria Church different from the usual Spanish-era churches in the Philippines, not because of how it looks but rather because of its location. The church is perched on top of a hill encircled with a wall which makes it look like a fortress. It doesn't follow the usual plan of a pueblo which places the Church in center of the town with other structures such as the town hall, and school surrounding it.
The side walls of the church are supported by massive buttresses to protect it from earthquake. The church's facade is devoid of intricate carvings but is a classic example of a beautiful geometric form design. The church is primarily built with red bricks, adding to it the elegance which only red bricks exude. At the lower right side of the facade is the National Historical Marker stating the church's history from its creation. Santa Maria Church's bell tower is built a distance away from the main church, also a precaution to earthquake. The church evokes a Chinese pagoda, where octagonal shapes of decreasing diameter is stacked and then crowned by a small dome.
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