Santo Domingo Church

Santo Domingo De Guzman Church

After any extensive or lengthy amount of travel it’s quite common to become somewhat jaded. As hard as it is to imagine, your attitude toward sightseeing can become somewhat lazy. In Southeast Asia, for example, you can run across plenty of backpackers who’ve “been there, done that”, and more specifically are “templed out”, or sick of seeing temples. After a while you can become spoiled with the sights on offer. I would consider myself a mild victim of this “templed out” phenomenon and therefore I wasn’t expecting much from Iglesia de Santo Domingo De Guzman in Oaxaca.

The moment I walked into the Church I was officially UN-“Templed Out.” The extravagance of the church was truly unexpected. The lavish ornamentation, artistry and craftsmanship on display was overwhelming! Yes, Grandpa and Grandma, I was excited to be at church! This excitement, coming from a child that had to be cajoled to attending mass by the accompaniment of action figures. As I write this I wish I could take a few moments to just wander around and take it all in again.

As you enter the church you’re struck by the amount of gold seen down the aisle at the front altar. Then you look up and you’re delighted by the somewhat whimsical “Tree Of Life” design on the archway above you. As you look closer you can see that the branches turn into people in a Renaissance-style psychedelic twist.

Entering the church

The "Tree Of Life" decorative archway inside the church

"Tree Of Life" design in the archway

detail of the archway

Continuing past the brilliant archway you notice the stunning ceiling.

Interior ceiling and altar

ceiling of the church

Then over to the side your eyes can’t help but wander for more candy.

Finally you come to the front of the church. The altar is resplendent in a golden glow. The church interior used more than 60,000 sheets of 23.5-karat gold leaf in its decoration.

Gold Altar

Ceiling, archway and balcony

exiting the church

Who knew that I, a kid that faned illness to escape weekly mass, would be so enthralled with a church. That’s another great thing about travel, it can change what you thought you knew or how you were feeling in an instant. Iglesia Santo Domingo de Guzman is in the tourist center of Oaxaca, Mexico. If you too have become “templed out” or jaded, stop by to be astounded by the artistry on display.

The facade of the church in the night

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