Ecuador — Iglesia de Balbanera; Oldest Mission in Ecuador

Iglesia de Balbanera — Oldest mission in Ecuador

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.

Iglesia de Balbanera founded August 15, 1534

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:

Iglesia de Balbanera

Iglesia de Balbanera

The walls are incredibly thick, as you can see in this photograph of a window:

Thick walls of Iglesia de Balbanera

The relatively narrow entry side of the church is deceptive. Stepping inside you can see that this church is quite long:

Iglesia de Balbanera

Two final views of the interior of this historic structure:

Iglesia de Balbanera

Iglesia de Balbanera


Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, travel, vacation

2 responses to “Ecuador — Iglesia de Balbanera; Oldest Mission in Ecuador

  1. Roy Longo

    Sorry Doug, this comment doesn’t have to do with your photo series. I’m just hoping you and family are ok. Not sure if the storm hit as far west as El Paso. Good luck through all this.

    • Many, many thanks for thinking of us, Roy. El Paso is, fortunately, well west of the storm-associated rains, so we’re doing fine.

      We’re certainly concerned about those to the east less fortunate than ourselves, though.