Santo Domingo de Guzmán was built in the 16th century and the complex consists of a masonry church and convent constructed out of stone in the Renaissance style. The complex is located in Tecpatán, an important pre-Hispanic religious center and the starting point for the evangelization of the Zoque nation by the Dominican Order. The Dominicans established eight religious complexes in the Zoque region, the largest of which is Santo Domingo de Guzmán. Abandoned in the 19th century, the complex fell into disrepair. In the 1950s the structure was stabilized and returned to religious use, but the complex remained in poor condition: the church was missing a roof and only parts of the complex could be used.
How We Helped
Santo Domingo de Guzmán was placed on the 2001 tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. WMF provided funds for the restoration of the exterior and interior of the convent, temple, and atrium, as well as the installation of a new roof on the convent. WMF also focused on the improvement of the urban landscape surrounding the complex and improved access to the area. The complex is a working religious center, and serves as a community and cultural center with a museum, library, crafts center, hotel, and restaurant. Our project partner was the Instituto de Mejoramiento Integral de Poblados, a local organization that has been working in the State of Chiapas for many years.
Why It Matters
Renovating the area around Santo Domingo de Guzmán will encourage heritage tourism and economic development in this depressed area of Mexico. The collaboration between World Monuments Fund, the Instituto de Mejoramiento Integral de Poblados, and the Patronato de Chiapas has highlighted the value to local residents of rejuvenating historic urban centers in Chiapas.