CAPULALPAM de MENDEZ, OAXACA-“PUEBLO MAGICO”

Capulalpam de Méndez: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Capulalpam de Méndez is a town and municipality in the Sierra Juárez in Oaxaca in south-western Mexico. It is part of the Ixtlán District in the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca region. The name “Capulalpam” in Nahuatl means “Land of the chokecherry tree” – a common type of tree in the area.[1]

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All photos by Alan L. Goodin, Copyright.

Environment
The municipality covers an area of 19.14 km² of rugged mountainous terrain. The town is at an altitude of 2,040 meters above sea level in a high mountain valley. The climate is predominantly cool and wet. Common flowers include Gladiolus, geraniums, roses, bougainvillea, tulips and calla lilies. Trees include ash, aguilar, ayacahuite, oak, and Madrano ocotal, as well as fruit-bearing walnuts, pears, quince, apple, peach, plum and chokecherry.[1]

Common birds are the eagle, hawk, crow, owl, dove, vulture, bat, swallow, sparrow, lark, quail, pheasant, picocanda and magpie. Wild animals include fox, coyote, badger, armadillo, wild boar, deer, tlacomixtle, opossum, cougar, skunk, jaguar, panther, rabbit and paca. The area also has lizards, coral snakes, rattlesnakes, tarantula and scorpion.[1]
Economy
As of 2005, the municipality had 326 households with a total population of 1,313 of whom 89 spoke an indigenous language. About 10% of the population is engaged in jewelry manufacture and another 10% work in a stone aggregate plant. Most others are engaged in agriculture.[1] The town has a beautiful 16th century church dedicated to St. Matthew. The church interior is lined by 15 large, ornate, hand-carved religious scenarios that date from the 16th and 17th centuries.[2]
In February 2008 Capulalpam was officially designated a “Pueblo Magico” (magical town), Oaxaca’s first and Mexico’s 33rd such town. The government also announced plans to construct a traditional healing center. The new designation and the healing center were expected to boost tourism.[2] The center, now open, employs traditional healers who provide medicinal plant therapy, massages, temazcal and herbal baths. The center has a herbal pharmacy and offers basic training courses about a great variety of medicinal plants.[3] The ‘temazcal’ is a type of sweat lodge that gives physical and spiritual purification using the four elements of fire, air, water and earth to give relief from the stresses of daily life. Participants may reach a level of consciousness similar to that of meditation.[4]

STAR OF INDIA-All Photos Copyright, Alan L. Goodin

All photos in this article, “Star of India” were taken at the ex-convento Cuilapan de Guerrerro, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Cuilapan de Guerrero: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cuilapan de Guerrero is a town and municipality located in the central valley region of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. It is 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the south of the capital city of Oaxaca on the road leading to Villa de Zaachila, and is in the Centro District in the Valles Centrales region.[1]

Cuilapan, originally called Sahayuca,[2] has been a permanent settlement since at least 500 BCE. It developed into a city state but was absorbed by Monte Alban until between 600 and 900 CE. After this, Cuilapan returned to being an independent city-state, equal to a number of other important city states in the area.[3] After the Spanish conquest, Cuilapan had a population of over 40,000 people with formidable social, economic and cultural institutions.[4][5] For this reason, a major monastery dedicated to James the apostle was established there in the 1550s in order to evangelize the Mixtec and Zapotec populations.[2] However, the area underwent decline of its native population in the 16th and early 17th century[6] and the extravagant monastery complex would later deteriorate in the 19th century.[7] Today, the town is quiet place with a fraction of its former population and prestige.[4][5] The ruins of the monastery complex remain mostly as a national monument administered by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia.[2]

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NIGHT OF THE RADISHES-OAXACA-2012 by MICHELLE VERDUZCO

Night of the Radishes
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Noche de rábanos
The Night of the Radishes (Spanish: Noche de rábanos) is celebrated every year on December 23 and it began in 1897 in the “zócalo” (main plaza) of Oaxaca city. Although it lasts only a few hours, it attracts thousands of people to this plaza each year.

The event consists of an exhibition of sculptures made from a type of large red radish which can weigh up to 3.00 kilograms (6.6 lb) and attain lengths up to 50 centimetres (20 in).[1] These radishes are especially grown for this event, left in the ground for months after the normal harvests to let them attain their giant size and unusual shapes.

The sculptures are made by professional craftsmen and aficionados, who are mostly radish growers. Themes include complete nativity scenes, party scenes with dozens of figures, Baile Folklorico, models of real buildings built with much detail, and saints.[1] The sculpted scenes include other materials such as dried flowers and corn husks but what makes a sculpture stand out is the creative cutting of the radish itself for effect, such as carefully peeling the red skin back and perforating it to create a lace skirt. A contest is held with the first-prize winner getting their picture in the newspaper.[1]

ATZOMPA, OAXACA-RUINS-DEC 2012

ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE

Since 2009, archeological work has been taking place in an area just south of the town center. A number of significant constructions have been excavated including structures called the Casa de Oriental (East House) and Casa de Altares (House of the Altars) and the Central Shrine of Atzompa which is larger than its counterpart in Monte Alban proper. Next to these is a complex of domestic units, sunken patios and a pyramidal platform.
However, the main find has been a 45-meter-long Mesoamerican ball court with two smaller courts next to it. These courts are surrounded pyramidal structures. The 45-meter court is the largest ever found in the Monte Alban area and investigations indicate that this was the principal ball court for the city, rather than any of the ball courts that are in the Monte Alban site itself. This ball court is situated such that players would have full view of the city located above them. The two smaller courts are secondary and probably used for training ball players.

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The site was initially explored in the 1930s by Jorge Acosta. He was only able to examine the ends of the large ball court. He speculated that the constructions at this site were ceremonial and defensive in nature, constructed in the 7th to 9th centuries to protect a growing Monte Alban.[ Formal excavation was not considered for the site until recently due to its distance from the main Monte Alban site. The site is still being excavated with plans to open it to the public in 2012. Starting in 2010, work has intensified in building the infrastructure needed for the Santa Maria Atzompa archeological site, to be opened to the public in 2012 as an adjunct to the Monte Alban site. A laboratory and security booths have been built, paid for by the INAH. The laboratory is for the testing and dating of ceramic pieces and other artifacts. Walking paths are being constructed by the state government. The archeological work displaced about 100 people from their homes, but the promise of tourism in the future has satisfied the community. As of November 2012 this site is open to the public.
For more information Google “Atzompa” or see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Mar%C3%ADa_Atzompa.
Except as noted, all photos by Alan Goodin