It didn't look far on the map, so I decided to take a local bus to Yaguarón. I wanted to visit the famous church of Buenaventura, and possibly even some other destination on the way back. I think I have plenty of time before my bus for the north leaves in the evening. But the bus takes its time to leave from the main bus station of Asunción, and when we are finally on the way, it turns out that it serves as a local bus - meaning, it stops for everyone who wants to get in or out. Even in between, it drives slowly, so much so, that after one hour, we have covered less than 15 kilometres. I start wondering how much time I will have to visit the church, and if it even makes sense to continue. I cannot and do not wish to miss my bus that night. When I finally make it to Yaguarón, I set an ultimate time to leave, and promise myself to keep the promise.
A short walk brings me to the side of the Templo de Buenaventura. Yaguarón (big jaguar) was an already existing indigenous town when the Franciscans established themselves here in 1586: two brothers calles Bolaños and San Buenaventura. Construction of the Franciscan church started in 1755, and the temple was named after Buenaventura. From the outside, I see a simple, whitewashed rectangular building. I walk around the terrain, and am fortunate enough to find a small group of Paraguayans who are also heading for the church. We walk the palmtree-lined lane leading to the entrance. At the south side, I see a bell tower. indeed, from a distance, this does not even look like a church. The tower cannot be climbed. A caretaker opens the door for us, and we see a dark interior. Then, he switches on the lights.
Before our eyes, the richness of the interior comes to life immediately. She decorated columns, the paintings, the pulpit, the sculpted chairs, the wooden benches. But our eyes are quickly drawn to the masterpiece of the church of Buenaventura, and indeed, of the country. Under guidance of the caretaker, who tells us about the history of the church and its artwork, we walk towards the altar. Behind it, and above us, we see a ceiling that has been painted in patterns of blue and red. The reredos is simply stunning. We spend quite some time to marvel at the statues, the depiction of saints and angels, the golden, twisted columns on both sides, Mary, and God - every detail is sublimely carved and painted. The group leaves, and the caretaker generously lets me stay with the lights on to enjoy this beauty. It is only when he switches off the light again, that the church slides back into anonymity. I check out the wooden window frames and doors, before catching a bus back to Asunción. I will have to come back one day for the Museum of Dr. Francia, one of Paraguays famous dictators.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Templo de Buenaventura (Paraguay). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Templo de Buenaventura. Read more about this site.