Convents of Morelos, Mexico

Monastery of Santo Domingo

Arq. Carlos Chanfón Olmos

Monastery of Santo Domingo In 1529, Oaxtepec was one of the many towns that Carlos V gave to Cortes; the site reaffirmed its importance as tributary head of the region, this in one hand motivated the arrival of the dominic priesthood and on the other hand the resurgence of their important herbal knowledge.

The foundation of the monastery was due to the vision of the vicar general friar Vicente de Santa Maria, contrary to the opinion of father Betanzos.Betanzos' support of the natives clashed with the expansionist vision of the vicar. Amidst this fight the monastery is founded shortly after the friars arrived. One year later in 1528 the house of Oaxtepec is founded; from here missions are sent to nearby settlements.

Tepoztlan and Oaxtepec were linked together when Father friar Domingo de la Anunciacion, who diligently destroyed "idols" had Tepoztlan's statues demolished and had their remains spread amongst the Tepoztlan and Oaxtepec monasteries. The foundations of the monasteries were made of stones from the pyramids and remains of statues of ancient gods.

Due to the masonry and the decorations we can assume that there were two different intense periods of construction of the monastery during the XVI century; the first one was probably related to the dues Cortez had with the church. In 1560 there is a new effort that can be seen in murals and carvings.It is likely that the growing clashes between the Crown and Cortes that made Cuautla surge as head of that region caused the work on the monastery to be finished.

The complex was built in an important place; if we consider the importance of the archaelogical finds it becomes evident that this was a place of religous importance. You enter through a staircase to the chapel of the indians and onto the cloister. The sobriety of the temple is a sharp contrast from the richness of the carvings and the baroque images. The cloister has two levels, the murals and masonry in its interior and the exterior are outstanding.

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