La Ampuyenta is a farming village to the center of the island of Fuerteventura; the village, which has about 200 inhabitants, is part of the municipality of Puerto del Rosario. The resort includes a few cultural attractions such as St. Peter of Alcantara chapel, one of the most beautiful chapels of the island, or the doctor’s house Mena.
La Ampuyenta is located in the middle of a fertile plain enough that crosses the road FV-20 main road of the island’s center, connecting Puerto del Rosario to Antigua. La Ampuyenta is 16 km from Puerto del Rosario, soon after Casillas del Ángel, and 5 km from Antigua.
The Chapel of St. Peter of Alcantara was built in the seventeenth century, founded in 1681 by Don Pedro Medina and his wife Doña Agustina de Bethencourt.
La Ermita de San Pedro de Alcántara is surrounded by a solid wall of protection, or Barbican, painted white. The chapel is a building with a single nave; the front is opened by a portal with round arch surmounted by an oculus. The high bell tower in gray stone, is arranged laterally on the Gospel wall, and not above the portal.
The interior of St. Peter’s chapel contains a rich collection of paintings, both murals that easel paintings; most are allegorical paintings of the life of San Pedro de Alcántara (1499 - 1562), Franciscan monk canonized in 1669 by Pope Clement IX. The murals date from the second half of the eighteenth century (1760) and are the work of an anonymous painter who probably also worked to Betancuria and La Oliva. The mural near the altar uses the technique of trompe l’oeil painting where meddle, architecture and sculpture, with rococo elements; it is considered one of the largest of the Canary Islands for the quality of the art and was nicknamed the St. Peter chapel the "Sistine Chapel of the Canary Islands." The chapel also houses many paintings and canvas paintings, polychrome wooden altarpiece, statues and a wooden pulpit of the eighteenth century.
St. Peter of Alcantara is celebrated on 19 October in La Ampuyenta.
Visit the chapel:
La Ermita de San Pedro de Alcántara is located on the esplanade at the Top of La Ampuyenta just behind the hospital of Dr. Mena.
Hours: in principle Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 18 pm, but unfortunately the chapel is rarely open. It is more likely to find the open chapel before Mass 17 am Saturday.
The house-museum of Dr. Mena is a representative example of a mansion from the mid-nineteenth century. This is the house of Dr. Tomás Mena y Mesa (1802 - 1868), a native of Buen Lugar near La Ampuyenta, the most famous son of the region.
After strong humanistic studies in the diocesan seminary of the Canary Islands Gran Canaria, he went to Havana (Cuba) in 1821, called his brother the priest Conrado Mena y Mesa in influential ecclesiastical position in this city. There he joined the University of Havana and received his doctorate in medicine, specializing in surgery. In 1831, he moved to Paris where he studied for six years at the Sorbonne University to obtain his doctorate in tropical medicine. In 1837 he returned to Havana where he acquired great fame as a physician caring for diseases such as cholera, yellow fever and other tropical diseases. He travels around the United States to update their knowledge and lecturing. In 1846, at the height of his fame, the University of Cadiz named him an honorary member of the faculty. In 1847 he returned to his native island where his mother still lives in La Ampuyenta. There practiced medicine without payment and studying the flora of the Canary Islands; he became the personal physician of Los Coroneles which at that time occupied the positions of power in the island. He died on July 10, 1868 in Santa Cruz de Tenerife where it rests in the cemetery.
In 1999 the Chapter of Fuerteventura acquires the house from the heirs of Dr. Mena into a museum that traces the life of this famous character. The house-museum of Dr. Mena is a house of two levels shaped “U” with a courtyard inside the walls. The tour through the different rooms to understanding what life was affluent Canaries in the mid nineteenth century in the island of Fuerteventura pretty miserable; one is even surprised by the luxury of this villa, curtains, tapestries, tableware of La Cartuja in Seville, large vases and furniture reported from Havana. Before the house a bust of Dr. Mena awaits visitors.
The house of Dr. Mena is normally open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9 am to 17 pm 30 30; free entry. It is currently closed.
The hospital in La Ampuyenta
When crossing La Ampuyenta by VF-20 we see white and red buildings road with the date 1891 inscribed on the pediment. This is the hospital project awarded with funds bequeathed by Dr. Mena who wanted this hospital bore the name “Hospital de Caridad San Conrado y San Gaspar” in tribute and gratitude to his brother and grandfather wore these names. Unfortunately these buildings never served to hospital because of conflicts with various authorities and rivalries with hospitals of Puerto de Cabras.