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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Mexico Part 13

    Tuesday, October 10, 2017
    Oaxaca City, Mexico

    The Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman lit up by sunset in Oaxaca City, Mexico.
    The Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman lit up by sunset in Oaxaca City, Mexico.

    About a half hour after I woke up, the bus arrived in Oaxaca City. I was happy that this town sits at a higher elevation, which means it’s considerably cooler, so I’ll sweat less. Departing the ADO bus terminal on foot, I schlepped a half mile south past several examples of nice street art to Hostal Casa del Sol. Despite the fact there was no sign out front, I knocked on the door anyway. No answer. After I knocked again a couple of minutes later, a lady yelled something in Spanish without opening the door. I took that to mean it was closed for low season, if not permanently.

    The ornate ceiling inside the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman in Oaxaca City, Mexico.
    The ornate ceiling inside the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman in Oaxaca City, Mexico.

    So, I walked another half mile or so over to the next choice on my list, Casa Angel, which is one of those popular backpacker hostels that is always chock-full of young travelers coming and going. The place was clean with fast wi-fi everywhere, so I checked into a deluxe dorm room with “pods,” also known as fancy bunk beds, each of which is outfitted with its own power outlet, USB outlet, reading light and privacy curtain. It cost around $18 per night, which is twice the usual rate for a dorm room, but I felt like it was worth it.

    Distressed street art in Oaxaca City, Mexico.
    Distressed street art in Oaxaca City, Mexico.

    After somehow managing to sneak in a nap amid a bunch of hammering, pounding and grinding noise that was going on somewhere nearby, I paid a visit to one of Oaxaca City’s most outstanding features, the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman. This church is “a Baroque ecclesiastical building complex that includes a substantial sanctuary and an extensive system of courtyards, cloisters and rooms that formerly constituted the monastery. As its name implies, the church and monastery were founded by the Dominican Order.

    Green curry vegatables and hot chocolate at La Jicara in Oaxaca City, Mexico.
    Green curry vegatables and hot chocolate at La Jicara in Oaxaca City, Mexico.

    “Begun in 1575, they were constructed over a period of 200 years, between the 16th and 18th centuries. The monastery was active from 1608 to 1857. In the period of the revolutionary wars, the buildings were turned over to military use, and from 1866 to 1902, they served as a barracks. The church was restored to religious use in 1938, but the monastery was made available to the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca.

    A beautiful sunset in Oaxaca City, Mexico.
    A beautiful sunset in Oaxaca City, Mexico.

    “In 1972, the monastery became a regional museum, and in 1993, the decision was made to undertake a full restoration, which was completed in 1999. It is an exceptional example of conservation architecture. The church has also been fully restored. Its highly decorated interior includes the use of more than 60,000 sheets of 23.5-karat gold leaf.

    A skull-festooned wall in Oaxaca City, Mexico.
    A skull-festooned wall in Oaxaca City, Mexico.

    “The rooms that formerly constituted the monastery now house the Cultural Centre of Oaxaca. This museum includes an important collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, among them the contents of Tomb 7 from the nearby Zapotec ruins of Monte Albán. The former monastery garden is now an ethnobotanical garden, containing a large collection of plants native to the region.

    This green city rains down on me. Blocks of foam at rest in Oaxaca City, Mexico.
    This green city rains down on me. Blocks of foam at rest in Oaxaca City, Mexico.

    “The entrance to both the church and the museum is across a wide plaza that acts as a center for local fiestas and other entertainment. It is located about a half kilometer north of the central squares of the city, the Zócalo and the Alameda, connected by a pedestrian street, so it’s a popular place for both tourists and local residents to stroll.”–Wikipedia

    Distressed walls in Oaxaca City, Mexico.
    Distressed walls in Oaxaca City, Mexico.

    Words and photos ©2017 Arcane Candy.

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