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Allison: Santo Domingo Yanhuitlan

April 1, 2009

This past Friday our Mexican instructor, Daniel Lopez, took our group on a 12 hour day trip to the Mixteca Region of Oaxaca. Mixteca is about 100 miles north of Oaxaca City and is known for its churches from the XVI c. built by the Dominicans following the Gothic tradition of construction.

The first site we visited was Santo Domingo Yanhuitlan. It sits upon a hill in a small village in the countryside. The church is currently under construction, therefore we needed a guide to lead us through the scaffolding and plastic tarps. However, the construction was not in the least a distraction. The interior vaults were beautiful and everything looked fresh from the current restoration project.

This photo was taken facing the church entrance. You can see light coming from above behind the choir loft. The church was long, narrow and tall. Being built upon a hill in the countryside, so much light was let in through the few windows and doors. It was 10:00 in the morning and the entire nave was lit up so beautifully. Yanhuitlan is one of very few XVI century gothic style churches in the Americas.

To the left is a view from the base of the altarpiece in the front of the church. It is beautifully crafted and stands out with great contrast to the creamy white walls of the interior. Statues and paintings towered from floor to ceiling on the golden altarpiece.

We were lucky enough to go behind the altarpiece through a small side door hidden in the structure. behind they were making minor repairs to the structure holding up the decorated front.
We also visited two other churches of the Mixteca Region. They are just as wonderful as Yanhuitlan… so check back for these posts!

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