Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness. -Frank Gehry
It was nearing the end of the day and perhaps Lucy chose to save the best for last. We had time to see just one more set of ruins in Antigua. The spectacular ruins of the church of San Francisco.
The building was constructed in 1542 only to be hit by a series of damaging earthquakes in 1565, 1717, 1751 and 1773. Thankfully a tremendous amount of reconstruction took place and the church remains the oldest functioning church in Antigua today. It’s gorgeous facade is perhaps the best part as it depicts intricately-sculpted saints and friars, who in a sense welcome the visitors inside. However, of course, knowing me and my passion for ruins, I found the ruins behind the church to be the real treasure of this site.
Come, follow me inside the spectacular ruins of Iglesia de San Francisco and judge for yourself….
As Lucy and I approached the Iglesia de San Francisco, we were in for a beautiful surprise. A wedding had just ended and the lovely bride dressed in white magically appeared outside the splendor of the Iglesia de San Francisco facade. It was a delightful scene!
After watching the happily married couple receive congratulations from their guests, it was time for Lucy and I to head back behind the church to the ruins. I was bouncing with excitement and anticipation. After visiting four other ruins and having a field day of photographic moments, I had a feeling this would perhaps be the best. And it was…..
You would think that I would be “ruined” of seeing ruins but I wasn’t at all. Not only do I love them, each one is unique and has its own story to tell about the past. These ruins were indeed quite different as they have a rather tropical-looking jungle growing inside. The contrast between death and destruction with rebirth and life, always fascinates me. Furthermore, there was not a soul in sight. It was just us. The peace and tranquility of the place almost brought me to my knees.
All sorts of tropical flowers and plants could be found growing alongside the ruins.
Sometimes it is hard to see the beauty in ruins. However, if I closed my eyes and let my imagination go wild I could see what it must have looked like hundreds of years before. Unbelievable indeed.
This must have been an enormous ancient fountain full of water.
The greenery of the ruins was startling. I had never seen anything like it and was glad that it was left to Mother Nature and not groomed.
Reaching towards the sun.
That pesky pointed volcano wanted to keep hiding from me behind the clouds. Would I ever see its peak?
Even banana trees were growing freely inside the ruins.
There was always a constant reminder of who was boss…..
Even birds nested and made their homes in the ruins.
As we left the ruins, I felt at peace. It had been a splendid day in Antigua. Beyond my expectations. I thought about all the history in such a place. How the earthquakes had left their footprints along the way. Buildings were rebuilt yet the past remained to remind us of where we’d come from and what we’ve seen. It was quite a surreal place.
Local man having a little lunch. For some reason, I really like this picture.
Stay tuned….There were too many fabulous pictures to put all in one post. Thus I will have more photos of the inside of the beloved San Francisco church coming up next.