Panorama of the Week: Santo Domingo – Oaxaca, Mexico

Just when you begin to think every church is the same and you’ve seen it all, you enter yet another that surprises. Your jaw drops, you narrow your gaze to tune into the detail, you arch your back to admire the ceiling.

Such was our experience today at Santo Domingo de Guzmán Church in Oaxaca, Mexico.

At Iglesia Santo Domingo, Baroque defines the style, while golden certainly defines the tone. And to give you a sense of the scale of time, the church’s construction began in 1572 and took over 200 years to complete.

200 years!

Everywhere we turned, we were drawn into pockets of light and texture. Open up the 360-degree panorama to see for yourself.

Panorama: Santo Domingo de Guzmán Church – Oaxaca, Mexico

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  1. Dee Dee says

    How beautiful is that?? I’d love to see and hear a mass there. Why don’t you attend one and get some
    sound videos. I bet they’d have mariachi music.

  2. Nancy says

    Ya know, I’m so glad you guys are in Mexico… It is sorely in need of some good press. So many people, Americans in particular, have no idea how wonderful and in fact overwhelmingly SAFE it actually is. I couldn’t go this year but will be there in spirit as I follow your posts. BTW Puebla is an absolutely delightful stopover between Oaxaca and Mex City. If you go, eat a Cemita for me!

  3. says

    What a stunning panorama! I was in Oaxaca in December and visited Iglesia Santo Domingo in the evening. I didn’t have the superb interior light that you had, so I am grateful for your view–showing the shimmering gold, color contrasts and divine ceiling. Although I had dim light, I was treated to the sight of a wedding taking place near the altar, with the bride in a flowing white gown. That was a special treat, especially with the energy of joy and love that filled the church from the large crowd of witnesses.

  4. says

    @Dee Dee: Wow, mariachi music mass. Now that would be wild. It’s funny — near our apartment there’s a road lined up with mariachi booking agents.

    @Ellen, Kurt: Thanks!

    @Christy: They certainly didn’t see it during their lifetimes. Such a contrast to today, where “results” are needed in weeks and months, rather than multiple lifetimes.

    @Nancy: Positive press for Mexico is sorely needed, if for no other reason than to highlight the sort of good things we’ve been experiencing. We’ve been posting a lot on our Facebook page as well, but a couple bigger pieces are in order. We’ll keep our eyes on Puebla. Thanks for the suggestion. If we can manage it, we’d love to get to Zipolite, Merida, Chiapas, and a few stops (Puebla hopefully included) on the way to Mexico City.

    @Kathy: A wedding at Santo Domingo sounds special. These buildings and monuments are always more personal and human when there’s an event taking place. Beautiful image that you described of the church and wedding.

  5. ann marie says

    just beautiful, can’t wait to get on the road again, so much to see, so little time.
    most of the mexican chefs in the U S are from puebla, the food must be incredible. hope you get there.
    look forward to your mail.
    ann marie

  6. says

    @ann marie: Another vote for Puebla. Guess we are just going to have to go!

    @Catherine: Yeah, Santo Domingo is a keeper. I really wasn’t expecting all that much when we went inside, but the design and the light (in late afternoon) made it all pretty stunning.

  7. says

    @Ryan: Thank you.

    @Sarah: Fair point and good timing. Santo Domingo is one of those churches — for the time it took to build it and its golden opulence — that reminds me of the fact that the price of lasting beauty is often extraordinarily and unacceptably high.

  8. says

    @Hamilton: Good question. Outside of the fact that it’s a church, it’s also a tourist landmark and a place where people hang out all day long. Whether that makes up for the blood, sweat and tears…I suppose that will depend on whom you ask.

    @Fay: That’s the idea. Glad you like it.

  9. says

    What an amazingly beautiful church. I wasn’t sure what to look at first — the details are just gorgeous. It’s easy to see that it took 200 years to complete. Thanks for the virtual tour and I’m looking forward to seeing more from your travels in Mexico!

  10. says

    @Colleen: Glad you enjoyed it. Particularly if you consider when they were built, churches like this stand as incredible architectural and artistic feats.

    We’ve since published more from our travels in Mexico. Even more coming up!

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