Friday, March 12, 2021

The secret crypt in Garachico is to be underpinned and the bones studied

Belfry when the balcony and bells were still in situ.

The secret crypt found at the beginning of last year in the old convent of San Francisco, in Garachico, will be propped up to guarantee the conservation of the building and the safety of the personnel in order to be able to remove the remains found. Director General of Cultural Heritage, Nona Perera, who last month visited the former convent with the mayor, José Heriberto González, has promised to finance the underpinning and the study of the material that has been found as a consequence of the restoration and reform works.

Thus, a team of archaeologists who have already attended the site will make an exhaustive report to be able to consolidate the area, guarantee the safety of the personnel "and also recover the arches that were in the old convent," added the mayor.

This will allow personnel, not only to work in good conditions, but to ensure the preservation of the bones. Perera indicated that if it could be restored "and look good", the ideal thing would be to leave the bones there because some must belong to the old friars. The convent was founded by the Genoese Cristóbal de Ponte in 1524 according to the documentation of the transfer of the land, with which, "the bones are linked to the property and the correct thing is to leave it there since they were buried," said the general director .

“Our responsibility, in addition to guaranteeing the conservation of the building, is to study the remains to find out who they belong to. If they are friars or some wealthy person who was buried there since, it was at the end of the 18th century, when burial was prohibited inside the temple, to be as close as possible to the sacred places”, explained Perera.

The last major restoration of the old convent took place in 1980. Since then, it has not been touched again, although improving accessibility was the pending challenge. One of the priorities was the old belfry, whose balcony was removed in 2015 due to the danger it posed. The structure had cracks underneath that were attempted to be corrected with modern technology.  Also other pieces, among them the two bronze bells, currently in storage. 

"I hope that within one or two months the investigation can begin", declared the mayor of Garachico, José Heriberto González, who does not rule out that the crypt could become another tourist attraction for those who visit the municipality "if in the end something interesting is discovered "