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Coming from the north, just before you enter the small town of Betancuria lies the historic remains of the Convent of San Buenaventura.
Authorised by Pope Benedict XIII, planning of the construction began in 1416. But it was fraught with delays, extensions and reconstructions in the beginning, and it wasn’t until 1423 that it was finally constructed. At that time, Betancuria was the centre of the island’s political and administrative life, so it was logical the convent be built there.
The convent served as a base for the Franciscan friars, who were sent to “evangelize” the inhabitants of the island during the conquest. In addition to preaching, the monks who lived in the convent dedicated themselves to teaching and helping the sick. San Diego de Alcalá and Fray Juan de Santorcaz, who had connections with the history of La Virgen de La Peña, patron saint of Fuerteventura, were among the Franciscans living at the convent.
In the church lies the tomb of Diego Garcia de Herrera, Lord of Fuerteventura, who died in 1485, and had chosen to be buried at the convent. Diego was one of the conquerors of Fuerteventura, and had invested in construction and extension of the Convent of San Buenaventura.
Another distinguished figure that is buried there is D. Claudio de Lila, engineer of the King. It was Claudio who built the fortresses of Toston in El Cotillo and San Buenaventura in Caleta de Fuste.
Today, only the walls of the church remains, and sadly nothing remains of the convent, and the only songs now heard from the inhabitants, the many nesting birds within the walls and gardens.