Monday, October 27, 2014

At a corner of my Panama: San Francisco de la Montaña

Some weeks ago, I went with my family to the province of Veraguas, in central Panama.  After attending some social events, we decided to spent some spare time knowing a new town for us... we headed to San Francisco de la Montaña.  This town is just 17 kilometers to the north of Santiago, the province's capital, on route to the foothills and highlands.  This is a tiny town, home of my beloved grandpa, and famous by its church.
San Francisco de la Montaña church
Yes, the famous San Francisco de la Montaña church is a modest building.  The exact date of construction is not known... several references indicates dates from 1621 to 1727... more probably in 1630.  Some wonder if it was a private chapel for a rich landowner due to its small size and the remote location; however, historical records show that the Spaniard conquerors built this church in this place because of the growing importance of this population, which eventually became the capital of the province in the 1800s.
San Francisco de la Montaña church
By the time we got there, the church was closed due to some restauration works.  It was a shame because the uniqueness of this church are the baroque groups of altars with hundreds of hand-carved pieces in precious woods.  The motives of these altars show a curious mixture of religious and indigenous motives.  I managed a distant photo with my cel from the front entrance showing these exquisite work.
Baroque altars inside the church
For some reason, the new and modern church is being built just behind this national trust... which in my opinion not fit the site.  Every panoramic photo of the old church will have the huge, new church in the background as you can see in my first photo (and that is not a panoramic photo).  Well, after visiting the church, we headed to another local attraction, El Salto balneary.
El Salto balneary
This beautiful natural pool with two waterfalls is less than a 10 minutes walk from the church!  The water is crystal clear and quite cold... an irresistible way to cool off during the heat of midday.  So, I went directly to the pool with Gabrielle and her cousin Kevin.  It was so nice, and we enjoyed it all.  What a great way to end our visit to San Francisco de la Montaña!
Kevin, Gabrielle and Jan

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