Santo Domingo Church, Oaxaca de Juárez
Late afternoon light turns the cream stone facade of Oaxaca's Iglesia de Santo Domingo, with its massive towers and high retablo entrance, a wonderful buttery gold. It's both impressive and beautiful, with a dignified simplicity. It's not only the light that is golden however. Step inside and the interior of the church will stop you in your tracks with its dazzling Baroque decoration. Every surface is encrusted with painted plaster and gilded reliefs of saints and martyrs, popes and biblical characters entwined in swirling leafy branches, shells and scrolls, their gorgeous richness only exceeded by the stunning golden retablos of the main altar and the Rosary Chapel. All is crowned by a soaring dome where rings of saints and martyrs rise in tiers to the central image of the Virgin of the Rosary. It is quite literally breathtaking.
Almost more extraordinary is the fact that nearly all of this opulance is modern restoration. The church was built by Dominicans in the 17th and early 18th centuries, a stunning expression of the Baroque. Just over 100 years later the War of Independence saw the church being used as a stable, the gold leaf stripped from the altars and the beautiful interiors damaged almost beyond repair. Although the church was returned to the clergy in 1898, it was to be another 40 years before the Dominicans returned. The restoration work was to continue for another 60 years!
Wide shallow steps lead up to the huge open plaza in front of the church; in the evening this is usually thronged with people. A smaller, quieter plaza opens off the south side of the church.
Even if churches are not your "thing" , don't miss this one! From the entrance with its family tree of Saint Dominic (tracing his ancestry back to the Virgin!) spreading over the ceiling through the great nave and all eleven side chapels, it is quite simply, gorgeous (in the truest sense of the word) and wonderfully exhuberant - a masterpiece of uniquely Mexican art and architecture.
I know I said that I wouldn't feature many main attractions on this page, but the church of Santo Domingo is really worth a visit if you are in Oaxaca. The interiors are the simply ornate and the surrounding area of the Church have some quiet and colorful alleys that you could explore.
entrance is free, goal above the India day because it seems to close later on in the afternoon at around 3.
This church has a beautiful interior and is adjacent to the Museum of the Cultures of Oaxaca, which contains some of the artifacts unearthed at Monte Alban. The museum is open from 10 am - 7:00 pm (closed on Monday I think) and costs about $4.
Compared to Iglesia de Santo Domingo a few minutes away, the cathedral is a celebration of discretion! Suffers as a result, but nevertheless the facade is rather wonderful and it is located in the Zocalo, the hub of Oaxacan life. Here you will find locals rubbing shoulders with tourists (particularly on Sundays when live music plays at the bandstand).
The church and former monastery of Santo Domingo de Guzmán was constructed between 1555 and 1666. As its name implies, the church and monastery were founded by the Dominican Order. Begun in 1570, they were constructed over a period of 200 years, between the 16th and 18th centuries. The monastery was active from 1608 to 1857. In the period of the revolutionary wars, the buildings were turned over to military use, and from 1866 to 1902 they served as a barracks.
It divides into two parts: the church and the former living/working areas of the monks. The front of the church is Renaissance-style, in the central relief, Saint Dominic and Hippolytus of Rome are holding up the church.
The church has also been fully restored. Its highly decorated interior includes use of more than 60,000 sheets of 23.5-karat gold leaf.
The Templo de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo (The Precious Blood of Christ Church) is a beautiful parish that was consecrated in the year 1689.
Some parts of the facade have been scraped away to reveal stones carved with Zapotec designs that were used during the building of the church.
The main facade of the church has a portada (ornate, multilevel entryway) and three towers with small steeples. The interior has a single nave with a barrel vault. In the presbytery there is an image of Jesus guarded by angels with the Virgen Dolorosa at the foot of the cross.
very impressive inside look at the ceilings and at the end also the place to the right.
open from 7 till 13.00 and 16.00 till 20.00.
waring dont touch things or talk while miss is going on. and photo without flash.
its a church not a museum.
Iglesia de Santo Domingo is an impressive Church in Oaxaca worth visiting. It is a Catholic Church of Dominican order. It took 200 years to construct. Restoration began in 1993 and completed in 1999 and the interior is decorated with more than 60 sheets of 23.5-karat gold leaf and filled with paintings and statues from the best artist of that time (Wiki), ritzy I must say.
Unlike the very plain Cathedral, the Iglesia de Santo Domingo is a profusion of excess gilt and stucco. It really is quite extraordinary (the excesses of European Catholic Baroque pale into insignificance compared to this!). But with the superb museum attached, the Church is the single main attraction within Oaxaca itself.
If you visit one church in Oaxaca, make sure it is Santo Domingo. It is a piece of art in and of itself. It contains flowers, art work, statues, and golden walls and ceilings. My photo does not do its beauty justice.
Even if you are not religious, you will feel uplifted the moment you escape the Oaxacan heat inside the cool serenity of Santo Domingo.
As a side note... this church took over 100 years to build, which was commenced in the 1550s.
There is no entrance fee.
Visiting hours are daily:
4:00pm - 11:00pm
La Iglesia de Santo Domingo is a very nice church. The architecture is clearly colonial and the pure size of the building is amazing! The museum next door, houses a fine array of archeological artifacts from Monte Alban and other sights. Check out my tip on the Museum for additional information.
This church was a part of the Dominican monastary (now housing Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca) and is the finest church in Oaxaca. Many artisans helped constructing it. The facade was carved in baroque style. The figure holding a church represents Santo Domingo de Guzman (1172-1221), spanish monk that founded the Dominican order.
The interior is full of coloured and gilded ornaments. On the ceiling you can see a family tree of S. Domingo de. Guzman.
In 19th century wars and anticlerical movements it was used as a stable and warehouse.
Santo Domingo Church is so highly decorated in the sense that the seiling is filled with little sculptures in a myriad of colours that it will amaze you how these people had the patience to create such intricate decorations!
The interior of this colonial ex.-convent church is well worth a look as it boasts a style of decoration I haven't seen in many other places. If you´ve visited Puebla and have seen the church of Santo Domingo there, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect here. Fantastic scrolls, elaborate baroque gold leaf detailing, and high relief figures decorate the lower choir entrance. Also worth invesitgating is the upper choir (closed off to visitors wishing to enter from the Cultural Center alongside the church) which raises the stakes of baroque decoration to even higher levels.
Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman is the most beautiful church in Oaxaca. We enjoyed visiting this church day and night.