People & History - Fuerteventura: History of the Church of Pájara
Pájara is one of the oldest towns in Fuerteventura and was a very early settlement from Betancuria. It survived complete destruction during the Arab invasion of 1593 when all of Betancuria was reduced to dust. The town takes its name from the hen pheasant, as the coat of arms shows. Look carefully and you will see a very ancient symbol, the 2 serpents. These have been slightly adapted but are named Oroborus or tale devourer. It shows a snake eating its own tale, which has a mystic meaning of “the circle of death and re-birth”, which is thousands of years old.In the centre of the town you will find the church of Nuestra Señora de la Regla. Directly above the door you can find the symbol of the snakes and inside their coiled bodies you will see the suns from the coat of arms. Somewhat higher, there are many more Aztec type symbols like a trinity of Indian Chiefs, Jaguars, the hen Pheasant, Serpents with tongues and an exposed heart. And when you have a close look you will find many more.
The church was built from 1687 and took 25 years to complete. Planning permission took longer those days!!! Much of the building was funded by an immigrant merchant from the New World who influenced the carvings and reputedly brought the image of the Madonna from his homeland. The Virgen de la Regla was created by St.Augustine in the 4th century. He set the regulations for his monk’s lives and Mary was to safeguard them. By 1560 they had more than 50 priories in Mexico.
As you wander around and inside the church there are many art works to marvel at and you will be able to work out more of the builder’s message.
Directly over the road is an authentic Tapas Bar, run by a lovely German lady and a bit further up the road to Betancuria you will find a rural restaurant and hotel “Casa Isaïtas” where they serve you succulent home made food. The whole centre is a delightful reminder of the past with many trees to hide from the sun.
To find out more about this and many more stories of the Island, visit Bernie at: The Tindaya Arms bar in Tindaya. Info on www.tindayaarms.com. Phone: 928-865-595.