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.
broad valley, low clouds
We started with the oldest and largest of the colonial churches. Yanhuitlan.
looking up the stairs at the main door
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.
three of many
Some of the details are inspiring. Like this natty fellow.
nice clothes on this gentleman
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.
some new, some old
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.
the biggest building for 50 miles (or so)
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 seem to make people giggle uncontrollably
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.
small farmsterad and hillside plantings
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.
approaching the church from the main street
The interior is still brightly painted. This is part of the archway around the entrance to a side chapel.
a small part of the archway
Other parts of the cloister haven’t fared as well as the main church but there is restoration work in progress.
no paint yet — just perfectly smooth plaster and restored windows
This stairway was featured in a PSA for the federal archeology and history institute.