Photo Essay: Scenes from Santo Domingo in Oaxaca

by Ekua on December 2, 2011 in captured on memory card,Mexico

Plaza Santo Domingo is a place where I’ve spent a lot of time in Oaxaca. Like other squares in Latin America, it is a multipurpose space. On a busier day in Plaza Santo Domingo, you might encounter traditional music or a colorful wedding procession performance. On other days, it is a family room; a meeting and hang out spot for friends and families and foreigners.

On many days, it is wonderfully quiet. While Oaxaca’s Zocalo (the main square) is usually buzzing with activity and protests and inspiration, the often quieter Santo Domingo is where I’d go to sit in a perfectly empty square with a notebook and a head already brimming with thoughts.

In addition to slow travel days and public celebrations at Santo Domingo, this year I also decided to explore some of it’s cultural offerings:

The facade of Santo Domingo.

Sheet music from Oaxaca’s colonial era inside the Santo Domingo Cultural Center.

On the second floor of the Cultural Center, there are many great view points of the plaza and beyond. On the one side, the windows look out over Oaxaca’s botanical garden.

Detailed painting on the ceiling of the Santo Domingo Cultural Center.

The Santo Domingo Cutural Center is housed in what used to be the church’s monastery. If you visit Oaxaca and you’re interested in the local history, the Cultural Center is where you should begin. There are many rooms full of artfully arranged items from Oaxaca’s history and I spent hours visiting all of them.

The architecture of Santo Domingo is fascinating to me. Over two summers, I’ve taken many many pictures of it and the desert plants that decorate the plaza.

The courtyard in the center of the Santo Domingo Cultural Center.

People preparing for wedding festivities. Weddings at Santo Domingo are a fun affair for anyone who happens to be nearby when they occur. The church remains open during the ceremony and following the ceremony, you might catch a song and dance performance in the square and a procession through town with music and a large paper mache statues.

Elaborate gold leaf detail at the altar inside the Santo Domingo.

The detail on the ceiling inside Santo Domingo is unreal.

Young graduates gathering in the Plaza Santo Domingo for picture taking and socializing.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Neha December 3, 2011 at 10:24 am

This is such a wonderful set! Especially like the music sheet and the (old?) instruments.

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Ekua December 4, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Thanks, Neha! As a musician, I am partial to those photos as well. The instruments were a fusion of traditional indigenous instruments and things the Spanish brought over like the guitar.

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