Church of Santo Domingo, Culture Center of Oaxaca, and the Botanical Garden
The church is part of a complex that includes the former monastery of Santo Domingo de Guzmán which now houses the Cultural Center of Oaxaca, and the Botanical Garden. There is an extensive system of courtyards, cloisters and rooms in the former monastery.
The church is covered with exquisite details. The domed ceiling in the photos below has the images of 104 saints and martyrs. This is the first time we've seen something like this where the figures are three dimensional, not just painted on the ceiling.
Our guide pointed out that several of the figures had been be-headed, and were carrying their heads.
Much of the church was constructed by indigenous people, and the Dominicans made a side chapel to appeal to them. The Virgin is dark-skinned and dressed in indigenous clothing
Another side chapel called the Rosary Chapel was the last to be finished in 1720. It's extremely ornate and also has a dark-skinned virgin. Today all baptisms take place in this chapel
Another gilded side chapel
Quite an experience to visit this church. We've seen many in our travels and this one was pretty breath taking, as promised.
Following our church tour we walked next door to the Cultural Center. It's an impressive building, and the exhibits offer an overview of local Indian cultures. Many of the artifacts come from Monte Alban, an archaeological site we hope to visit in the coming days.
Mercado de Artesanias
During the holiday season there is a special craft market, or Mercado, in Oaxaca. Many of the local villages are known for specific skills and crafts, and send representatives to the Mercado. The booths had signs telling what village the artisans and vendors were from,
This gentleman had a selection of black pottery from the village of San Bartolo Coyotpec which is known for its black pottery.
The village of Santa Maria Atzompa is known for terra cotta, green glazed, and multi-colored glazed pottery. I bought a virgin similar to the one on the left of the three displayed. Always nice to buy directly from the artist.
I love the colorful, hand-carved and painted figures called alebrijes, or monsters. Although some artists do create monsters, many pieces are centered around themes of natural beauty, religion, and fantasy. One village known for the alebrijes is San Antonio Arrazola - we're hoping to go there soon.
We saw many alebrijes on our walk - these were kind of fun.
Busy day in Oaxaca Centro - we put in a few miles.