Church of Saint Mary of Betancuria
The Church of Saint Mary of Betancuria (Iglesia de Santa Maria de Betancuria), also known as Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción (Parish of Our Lady of the Conception), is in the town of Betancuria, in inland Fuerteventura.
The Church was initially built in a French Gothic style in 1410 and has quite a tragic history. It was constructed at the behest of Jean de Bethencourt, the Norman colonizer who founded Betancuria.
The idea to found Betancuria in this mountainous area of Fuerteventura originated from the need to protect it from pirate attacks that besieged the island. Even so, in 1593, an attack from the privateer Xaban Arraez managed to push through to Betancuria, destroying a large part of the town and flattening the church. It wasn’t until the end of the next century when the town, captained by Pedro de Párraga, managed to reconstruct what has now become known as the Church of Saint Mary of Betancuria (Iglesia de Santa Maria de Betancuria).
Its turbulent history has moulded it into a combination of styles and materials, which give it personality and make it unique.
Architecturally, it is entirely constructed in white stone, with three naves, a Mudejar-inspired roof, and a square-shaped tower. Upon entering, we are met with a baroque altarpiece from the 17th century, which portrays the image of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción (Immaculate Conception). You can also find other Franciscan-inspired images and a multitude of traditional Christian elements inside.