Second part of our tour discovering one of the most beautiful island of the Canaries: last time we stopped in La Pared for a beautiful sunset. Reaching La Pared you could already notice that the hinterland of the island is rocky and arid.
THE HINTERLAND TOUR
The hinterland of Fuerteventura presents some tiny rural villages to visit, and it’s a panoramic road that will brings you up and down through the mountains of the island. One of the small town you’ll meet first – coming from the south – is Pajara.
The picturesque little town of Pajara only has a small population despite its administrative importance on the tourist centres of the Jandia peninsula. Just outside the Town Hall sits a fine old disused ‘donkey driven’ waterwheel, and close to that is the leafy church square. The church (Iglesia Nuestra Senora de la Regla) was built between 1687 and 1711 and is one of the most beautiful on the island. There are many different motifs decorating the great stone doorway and the Virgin that stands at the altar was brought to the island by a wealthy emigrant from Mexico.
The village and protected zone of Tindaya sits at the foot of the 401m mountain of the same name. Tindaya was once regarded as a very religious place and the mountain was considered sacred. This can still be seen today in more than hundred carvings of ‘feet’ in the smooth rock. These strange carvings located at the very top of the mountain, were only recently discovered in 1978. On a clear day it’s possible to see mount Teide – the highest mountain volcano on Tenerife – from the top of Tindaya. Old inhabitants used to see mount Teide as the residence of the devil and all the carvings face in that direction.
Antigua is one of the oldest villages on the island. Built in the 18th century Antigua was once the capital of Fuerteventura but only for one year. Then the honour was passed on to La Oliva (the capital today is Puerto del Rosario). The picturesque church (Cruz de los Caldos) that dominates the town was built in 1785 and stands amongst well kept trees and shrubbery. Antigua also has a fully restored windmill which is now a cultural centre and a tourist attraction.After passing by Antigua, Fuerteventura’s former capital Betancuria attends us, lying in a picturesque valley next to a dried up stream which flowed up until the 16th century.
Founded in 1405 by the Norman conqueror Jean de Bethencourt – hence the name Betancuria – has a fair amount of history behind it.The reason for its location was to protect the capital from pirate attacks, although in 1593 the pirate Jaban penetrated the Betancuria and reduced everything including the Santa Maria church to a pile of rubble and ash.The church was not rebuilt until 1691. Nowadays is a well-groomed small village which attracts many tourists.
In the municipality of La Oliva, the main attraction to visit is surely the Casa de los Coroneles, or House of Colonels. This was where the military governors of the islands used to reside and is now used mainly for many wonderful exhibitions.
Above the main entrance is the family coat of arms with a crown a tree and a goat. The wooden balconies are decorated with carvings. Located just between the church and the Casa de los Coroneles, is the ‘Casa Mane’ art centre (Centro de Arte Canario Casa Mane). Here you can visit the exhibition halls that house works from well know Canarian artists. On the ground level there are rooms for current exhibitions and a sculpture courtyard, while the basement contains a large contemporary art gallery. Among the permanent exhibits are the works of Alberto Manrique.