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The 16th Century Church of San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya

San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya is located 10 miles southeast of Oaxaca

by Mary Jane Gagnier of Rancho Pitaya

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Church of San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya   More Photos

This delightfully charming church was built in the late 16th century by the Dominicans, an order founded by Santo Domingo.

The Virgen del Rosario, the Virgin Mary in her aspect of holding the Rosario, is well represented in Dominican churches as she appeared in the 13th century to Santo Domingo and asked him to spread throughout Christendom the custom of saying the rosary.

The church in Tlacochahuaya in now almost completely restored using the original pigments and techniques. The tones of blue are achieved with natural indigo (a legume like plant similar to alfalfa) and the rose tones with cochineal (a small insect that lives on the nopal cactus and produces Carmine red). The abundance of flower and cherub motifs make this church both inviting and visually stunning.

The baroque side altars or retablos on the south side or the church narrate the lives and miracles of saints beginning with Santa Rita de Lima, the first canonized saint of the new world, next the Virgen de Guadalupe, the patroness of Mexico, and lastly San Joaquin, the father of the Virgin Mary.

Make a point of climbing the steep and narrow spiral staircase to the organ loft. The four corners of the loft are decorated with frescos of the archangels, Miguel, Gabriel, Rafael and Uriel. The organ itself dates to about 1730 and is both an incredible musical instrument with stops that make the sounds of chirping birds and babbling brooks but is also a splendid work of art, with faces painted on the organ pipes.

Occasionally, organ recitals are held at this church, See Instituto de Organos Historicos de Oaxaca for concert calendar. The church is open from 10 am to 2 pm and from 4-6 pm daily. There are collectivo taxis that depart from behind the east side of Estado de Besbol in the city of Oaxaca directly for Tlacochahauya. Cost approx 20 pesos.

Mary Jane Gagnier operates Rancho Pitaya, a bed and breakfast located 8 miles southeast of Oaxaca, offering horseback riding, cycling, hiking and birding to guests. horsebackmexico@mac.com

This page has been visited times since November 12, 2012.

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