The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Sunday, January 26, 2014

San Juan Teposcolula - On the Ruta Dominica

The Ruta Dominica, Dominican Route, is an ongoing governmental project to encourage tourists to visit different areas that often go neglected.  They are improving access by not only restoring many sites, but also by adding amenities and dramatically improving the roads.  I have been heading north to visit Yanhuitlan (pop -800) and San Pedro y Pablo Teposcolula for several years and to watch the steady and impressive progress.  Both of the churches in these village have been restored and are spectacular.  Of course, the work continues, but the bulk of the work is done and well worth the visit.  Yanhuitlan is only an hour's drive and Teposcolula another 25 minutes.  Yesterday, as I drove through the mountains from Yanhuitlan on my way to San P y P, I stopped in San Juan Teposcolula (pop-482) to see the church there.  San Juan is about halfway between the other two places.  One can see the church from the road and it is such a strange structure, I don't know why I never stopped to see it before, but yesterday I did. 
It was obvious that this mid-16th century church was still in mid-restoration, but nonetheless, it was pretty amazing.  I wonder if it ever had steeples.  It does have little flying buttresses in the back, but nothing like the massive ones at Yanhuitlan.
The interior was quite cool and dark with large rustic pillars holding up arches.  It was also obvious, that it was being actively used because it was filled with flowers and decorations.  Everything was nice and clean.
 The vista from the interior shows the rugged and dramatic countryside.
 Looking down the valley from the courtyard.
Like Yanhuitlan and Teposcolula, San Juan has a large exterior plaza and the views looking down the long valley are dramatic.  These large areas were for the indigenous to celebrate masses and other rites as they were not allowed in the church proper or maybe it was just there was not enough room for them.... yeah, right.  Remember, that when the Spanish arrived, there were hundreds of thousands of Mixtecs living in the area, but after fifty years, the kill rate of the locals from the diseases the conquistadores unknowingly introduced, was 95%.  It just went downhill from there.  But the Dominicans just kept building and working on the projects they envisioned and started, including entire village layout plans and aqueducts.  Little did they know that is was going to be a 500-year construction project with a dramatically reduced workforce.  No workers meant no progress. 
I plan on returning and learning more.  It is such an interesting place that encapsulates a good chunk of Mexican history.


Anonymous said...

You should visit Coixtlahuaca. The parroquia there was designed by the same architect as Yanhuitlan. It has a beautiful outdoor chapel.

Christopher Stowens said...

My good friend, Henry Wangeman of Amate Books, says this is one of the best places to visit and he should know. It is next on my list or maybe next after next....