Well, there we were, on vacation, taking a couple of days off for fireworks and parades. But that’s all over and only the confetti and red, white, and green bunting are left. So it was time to get moving again.
Out to the Mixteca. Once the center of cochineal production and the Spanish Empire’s new world economic engine. Now a sleepy agricultural backwater. The last time we were out here it was Feb or Mar — the height of the dry season. The hills were spectacularly red. Now it’s September and the end of the rainy season. everything is green and growing.
We started with the oldest and largest of the colonial churches. Yanhuitlan.
There has been a lot going on in the church. Interior restorations, roof repair, stonework.
The huge retablo are being moved away from the walls and restored from the back out.
Some of the details are inspiring. Like this natty fellow.
Much of the stone work is repairs — done in such a way as to preserve as much of the existing work as can be saved and them adding new work that looks like the original would have 450 years ago.
Yanhuitlan was once the center of the Dominican’s power and the church probably seem more in scale 400 years ago. But now Yanhuitlan is a farming village and the church looks like a UFO hangar dropped into the middle of Iowa.
We took a little drive out of the village to find a spot to take that picture. We met a couple of charming folks who were pleased to make some new friends. Even if we were a little odd. (And not Catholic, but Nico, who is, was happy to accept their gift of a milagro.)
We talked a little about the weather and a little about where we were from and a bit about the bean crop. Jim took this picture of their farm yard from the top of the hill.
We moved further out from Oaxaca to Coixtlahuac and another church that is nearly as old. This church is smaller and in much more frequent contemporary use.
The interior is still brightly painted. This is part of the archway around the entrance to a side chapel.
Other parts of the cloister haven’t fared as well as the main church but there is restoration work in progress.
This stairway was featured in a PSA for the federal archeology and history institute.