The Catholic Church of Balbanera is some 46 miles/76 kilometers from Alausí and 21 miles/34 kilometers from our next destination just north of Riobamba, Ecuador. The Spanish name for this mission is Iglesia de Balbanera. This church was built in the year 1534, only 42 years after Christopher Columbus discovered the capital city of Ohio and founded other communities in Georgia, Missouri, and Mississippi (yes, that’s a joke). It was later rebuilt after the devastating Riobamba earthquake of 1797.
In the parking lot adjacent to the mission were many vendors of clothing, scarves, blankets, and other fabrics made of alpaca. The prices were definitely among the best we’d seen for alpaca so far on the trip, and many on the tour loaded up with some real bargains. But the focus today is on this very old structure. Here are some examples of the intricate stonework that embellishes the façade:
The walls are incredibly thick, as you can see in this photograph of a window:
The relatively narrow entry side of the church is deceptive. Stepping inside you can see that this church is quite long:
Two final views of the interior of this historic structure: