FORMER convent of SANTO DOMINGO DE GUZMAN
"Oaxaca is the spiritual reserve of Mexico", because it is the depositary of the ancestral spirit force that comes from the very beginning of times and has been impregnated, not only in its monumental buildings, but primarily in the heart of the daily living of its people.
The Cultural Tangible Heritage, e.g., what refers to the work of the human being in the transformation of the natural state of matter to be used in the construction of the "world and life" of every culture on the planet.
In Oaxaca it is plural and diverse since we have testimonies of human development in the Valley of Diaz Ordaz, with teozintle seeds being converted into corn by human wisdom or pumpkin seeds dating back to the year 8,000 BC.
Through archaeological sites of 1200 BC in San José del Mogote or Monte Alban from 500 BC until colonial architecture of the 16th century as Santo Domingo de Guzman, up to the 18th, or splendid buildings of the 19th century such as the Teatro Macedonio Alcalá or the School of law.
This time AQUIOAXACA has visited the wonderful and splendid former convent of Santo Domingo of Guzman, taking a photographic record, so you enjoy it fully and carefully through Internet.
Because the truth is that we can have two kinds of "perceptions" of a monumental work like this: perceive it through "energy" and "feel" it throughout the body and reverberating in the heart. Or perceive it with the mind through reason.
In general, when one goes to Santo Domingo "fees throughout the body" the energy charges of this wonder and so, sometimes we go out "exhausted" from a convent or an archaeological zone.
But when we can "see" through a picture, using only the mind, we can appreciate only though the brain the other "perspective" of human creation.
That is, we can evade the energy effect and only focus our attention on details that being present the mind we cannot "register" because it is absorbed by the energetic perception.
And here is where the "magic" of photography helps us to perform the miracle of reconfiguring the "reality/lived". Especially in these times when photography is no longer expensive and is within reach of every pocket.
It is appropriate to recall that the Evangelical action of the Catholic Church was in charge of the missionary orders. In the colonial/Hispanic vision of the history of Mexico it was taken as a "civilizing" action.
However, reality is that it was an unjust action, violent and inhumane, because our Anahuaca ancestors never threatened or assaulted the Europeans. Them, without any rights came to enslave, rob and violently change their culture and religion.
Europeans came with a religion alien to them which was born in the Middle East and that just in 350 AD was imposed in Rome, as imperial religion. Not so the Anahuac religion that was at least three thousand years old and had endogenous characteristics.
Thus we must also say that the "missionary" actions in the Anahuac, were actions with deep economic and political motivations to the inside of the Catholic Church and the Viceroyalty.
Indeed, inside the evangelization religious orders received territories and native peoples which could "exploit" to procure resources for their orders. This explains the "number of temples and ex-convents" that existed in colonial cities.
Almost one in front another and with large investments in the construction, religious forced "natives" to build them these huge churches and convents, rivaling in size and wealth with others.
Those who paid with their sweat, life and resources these formidable buildings were enslaved peoples. Who provided the manpower and materials were invaded and colonized peoples.
Hence, while the "ideas" were European, labor was of peoples and indigenous cultures. The number of religious men and women who lived in these huge buildings was really minimal.
In the case of the ex-convent we visited, was of the Dominicans order, the so-called "dogs of the Lord" and that is why, in addition to the flower of Liz, a dog carrying a torch in the snout was one of the distinctive emblems of the order.
Its construction began in the year of 1551, and authorities gave 24 lots of the new Spanish city for its construction which took 57 years, since it was opened unfinished in 1608 in Baroque style.
However, the temple and former convent of Santo Domingo de Guzmán in Oaxaca had a long and peaceful life. Both the earthquakes of 1603 and 1604, and military conflicts prevented a full and lengthy religious life.
Another conflict in its rugged construction, in addition to its cost, was the water. Indeed, the city of Oaxaca has always suffered from the lack of vital liquid, which had to be brought from the foothills of the Sierra Norte.
When neighbors and the authorities of the city realized the construction was delayed beyond the set date, had a problem as it required a lot of water, so the Dominicans committed themselves to the construction of the aqueduct of San Felipe de el Agua.
It was until 1724 that began the construction of the Rosary chapel. It is necessary to remember that it was Santo Domingo de Guzman, who established the rosary as part of the rites and Catholic practices and that wherever this order resided, always built chapels dedicated to the Virgen del Rosario.
The largest and most famous in Mexico is that of the city of Puebla, although Oaxaca has its intrinsic beauty, perhaps by its size and the skilled hand of indigenous artists.
The so called "War of independence" made the Spaniards use the convent as military fortress to resist the troops of José Maria Morelos. From 1812, and until 1993 that the Mexican army it completely vacated the ex-convent that housed a Cavalry Regiment.
The convent was restored and was until 1998 when it was transformed into a cultural unit called "Santo Domingo Cultural Center", which has the Cultures Museum of Oaxaca, the Ethnobotanical garden of Oaxaca, "Fray Francisco de Burgoa" library and the public library "Nestor Sánchez".
To visit and enjoy this wonderful and beautiful place, we suggest spending at least half a day, although a day is hardly enough. The temple requires another article and a special view.