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Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, all in stone. / Photo: Flickr user Nataliagoca.
Don Francisco Padilla y Ayerbe heard the story of the miracle of the Virgin who appeared one day, carved perfectly into a rock; and the local peasants immediately started a cult for her. He decided to found a village in her honor, to look out over the desert-like plain there. He did so in 1705, and a number of houses were built around that church, forming what is today Barichara.
Over time, the influence of the indigenous Guanes changed the name of the place to Barichara, “the place for rest”. On August 3, 1978 recognition arrived for the village and its architectural heritage, and it became a National Monument.
At first, the village was part of San Gil 8which also has a fine church carved out of the local yellow stone. But on January 13, 1800 it became independent.
The dome is inspired by the Sistine Chapel. / Photo Flickr user zug55.
Most of the houses and churches were built stone by stone, mostly adorned by their white facades. Some churches are small, others not so small, all over the town, all looking the same but all different.
The mother of them all is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, on the main square. It was built to honor the Virgin of the Rocks, which people say miraculously appeared, perfectly carved in a stone. Day and night the cathedral watches of the square, also of yellow stone, and the trees that give it shade.
Barichara´s architecture has Moorish and Andalusian influence in the beautiful yellow stone of the region.
Like the cathedral, there is the Chapel of Jesús next to the Cemetery, Santa Bárbara, with its giant Ceiba for shade, and San Antonio to the south, all in that yellow stone that comes from local quarries.
The cemetery is a haven of peace carved in stone and brightened by the flowers that remember the dead. The sheer beauty of the scene invites nostalgia with a touch of melancholy to appreciate it all.
There are touches of the Moors, of Andalucía and of the rest of Spain here: a feast for the photographer and the architect alike.