Earliest 16th-Century Monasteries on the Slopes of Popocatepetl

This world heritage site covers fourteen monasteries spread rather widely around the region of the Popocatepetl volcano. Without a car, visiting them was looking challenging. An online review of the site suggested two that sounded worth the journey and in the end I went to just one, in the small town of Tepoztlan. As usual I arrived by bus, which terminated at a tiny bus station some way out of town. Without thinking to enquire about a bus into town I set off walking down the hill (it only dawned on me later that the rest of the bus passengers had not done the same thing, clearly there must be a bus). But it was a lovely sunny day and the walk was shady and downwards so I was quite happy.

Tepoztlan - former monastery church

Tepoztlan - former monastery church

I initally found the former monastery church, which was large and mildly interesting, and thought that was it. Then I spotted the entrance to the remains of the monastery next door. These monasteries were the bases for converting the indiginous population to Christianity, an activity I strongly disaprove of but I didn’t let this interfere with my enjoyment of the wonderfully decorated monastery interior.

Tepoztlan - monastery cloister

Tepoztlan - monastery cloister

Only the cloister and a few surrounding rooms can be visited but they are all covered in painted decoration.

Tepoztlan - monastery wall painting

Tepoztlan - monastery wall paintingTepoztlan - monastery wall painting

 

The walls were redecorated at various times and this photo shows three different schemes visible at once.

Tepoztlan - monastery wall painting

Tepoztlan - monastery wall painting

There wasn’t really anything to see of the monastery from the outside, so today’s Lego model is of the church facade.

Lego Tepoztlan -church

Lego Tepoztlan -church

After the heritage, I had a great time wandering around the adjacent market, eating fresh fruit and watching the flies walk across the unrefrigerated raw meat. I even managed to succesfully get myself onto a tiny van cum bus for the journey back up to the bus terminal.

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