The Cathedral of the Virgin of the Assumption
North side of the Zócalo
and on the eastern side of the
Construction of the Bishop's Palace began early (1553) during the
conquest. Earthquakes of 1694 and 1714 gravely damaged the building.
The baroque facade has been restored. The interior has a rich collection
of paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries. The clock mounted
on the south tower was added later (1755) as a gift from the King
There are 14 chapels inside and the most famous is dedicated to
'El Señor del Rayo.' The cross hung in this chapel comes
from the original Cathedral and was the only object not incinerated
when a lighting bolt set fire to the church. Other prominent chapels
are Santa Cruz de Huatulco and Los Beatos.
de Guzmán Church
Six blocks north of the Zócalo
on Alcalá at the corner of Gurrión
The Dominican order began construction of this complex in 1570.
The church is famous for decoration both inside and out. The elaborate
altar is made of gold and beautifully carved wood. The Chapel of
the Rosary is striking. Masses are held weekdays at 7am, 8am and
730pm and on Sundays at 7am, 11am, 1pm, 530pm and 7:30pm. On Sundays
a mass in English is given at noon and Saturday mass is at 730pm.
The church is closed during the afternoons from 1-4pm. If you are
looking for a guide, just ask. They present the history of the church
in various languages and can be hired on premise. Outside the church
flamboyant trees provide generous shade on the west side of the
plaza. To the south is a line-up of stout date palms (dateleros).
San Juan de Dios Church
20 de Noviembre and Aldama
This is the city's oldest church and located north of the 20
de Noviembre Market. Considering its age, it's a fairly bright
church. Look up to the ceiling for a series of paintings depicting
Biblical events. The conquistadores' arrival in Oaxaca is shown
in paintings on the north wall.
de la Soledad
Independencía #107 at Galeana, Seven blocks
west of the Alameda
This complex was completed in the late 1600s and includes the church,
Garden and an outdoor theater (Plaza
de la Danza). The basilica is dedicated to the Virgin of Solitude,
Oaxaca's patroness. The main celebration takes place on December
18. There's a museum dedicated to religious art on the western side
of the complex.
Temple of the Blood of
Christ (Sangre de Cristo Templo)
The main facade of the church has an ornate, multilevel entryway,
or portada, 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.
de las Huertas Church
The birthplace of Oaxaca's famous Radish
Night. Across the street is a great place for fresh juices and
Southeast side of Llano
This eighteenth-century church is consecrated to Nuestra Señora
del Patrocinio. The architectural layout consists of a single nave
covered by barrel vaults. The main facade consists of a portada
and two slender towers.
San Francisco Church
Six blocks southeast of the Zócalo,
between J.P. Bustamante and Armenta y López; two blocks from
La Defensa Church
Earthquake damage in 1787 altered the appearance
of this 16th century church. What you can see is the only estipite
facade in Oaxaca City. On the lower level of the facade are statues
of St Francis of Assisi and St. Peter of Alcantara. There is also
a statue of the black saint from Lima Peru, Saint Martin de Porres.
He fed the poor, ministered to slaves, and treated hurt animals,
even the lowly rat at his foot.
Siete Principes Church
Located next to the Casa
de la Cultura Oaxaqueña
Templo de la Compañia/Iglesia
de la Inmaculada
Southwest of the Zócalo
at the corner of Flores Magon and Trujano
Built in 1579 by la Compañia de Jesús, this church
was built by the Jesuits and maintained until the order was expelled
from Mexico in 1767. Later it was declared a historical monument
in 1930. Open from 7am-12:30pm and from 5-8:45pm.
North side of Llano
Inaugurated in 1644, this church venerates the Virgin
of Guadalupe. The main celebration takes place on December 12.
If you are seeking fresh rompope, the nuns often sell this outside
the church after the Sunday noon mass. On the southeast side of
the church is the Capilla de Belén.
La Merced Church
Manuel Doblado, between Independencia and Hidalgo, 5 blocks
east of the Zócalo
This church was built in 1646. The special day is August 31st
when the church commemorates the "Blessing of the Animals"
and parishoners bring their pets -- appropriately dressed for the
de las Nieves Church
Corner of Reforma (formerly Calle Las Nieves) and Morelos
Formerly part of the Colegio de San Juan. The church was first
built in 1579 and renovated in 1770. The church has characteristics
of renaissance and baroque architecture.
de la Defensa Church
Corner of Arteaga and Fiallo
Sadly three 18th century paintings were stolen from this church.
Located in one of the city's oldest neighborhoods, this church has
a renovated pipe organ and a beautiful tree on its east side. Construction
began in the late 1600s. The left side of the front has a belfry
tower and the towerless right side has a beautiful spiral design.
San Agustin Church
Armenta y López and Guerrero, two blocks east
of the Zócalo
Look for the carving of Saint
Agustine holding the City of God. His feast day is celebrated
on August 28.
Independencia and Tinoco y Palacios
Inaugurated in 1644, the church showcases the opulence of the era
and modern touches, including art deco painting. It is famous for
its role in Oaxacan history as the church where Benito
Juárez married Margarita Maza.
Tinoco y Palacios #620, corner of Morelos and across from Casa
de la Ciudad
First thing you might notice about this lovely church is that
it is shaped as a cross. Focus on the name and a few questions arise.
In Oaxaca City, there is a Lower Church (Bajo or Abajo, depending
on which sign you read) of Saint Carmen and an Upper Church (Alto
or de Ariba). Why? There are two explanations. Carmen Alto is built
on higher ground than Carmen Bajo. The second explanation is that
Carmen Alto was attended by the Spanish colonists whereas Carmen
Bajo ministered to indigenous and mestizos populations. It gets
a bit more complicated when we look at the history. The first name
of the church was 'Las Lágrimas de San Pedro' or St. Peter's
Tears. Then it was called 'Los Dolores' and finally 'Del Carmen
Carmen Alto Church
Corner of Jésus Carranza and García Vigil
Built around 1670 to house Carmelite friars, the church is
said to have been constructed on the site of a temple dedicated
to the goddess Centéotl, goddess of corn
and fertility. The Spanish destroyed the temple, built the church
on top and converted the summer celebration to the July 16 feast
day of Saint Carmen, which launches the Guelaguetza
celebration in July. Built in a neoclassic style, it houses the
Virgin of el Carmen and other religious paintings. Around 1856 the
convent was secularized and passed into the hands of the federal
government; it then served as a jail and a cavalry barracks. The
church has been restored and is open for public worship.The Plazuela
de Carmen Alto is on the south side of the church. In January
the church hosts one of Oaxaca's best firework displays in honor
of the Christ of Esquipulas.
Moctezuma and Bustamante Streets
The construction of the first church, dedicated to Nuestra
Señora de la Consolación, was carried out between
1656 and 1661. In 1679 the Carmelites used it before they founded
their convent. It has two atriums, one in front of the main facade
and the other to the south (between the parochial annex and the
Santo Tomas Xochimilco
According to some this church was built over an indigenous
temple in the 16th century. Trees in the atrium include jacarandas,
huajes and causarinas. On Fridays and Saturdays the Pochote
natural food and craft market is open from 9am-3pm.