The Watch

Templo de San Bartolo Soyaltepec (Church of San Bartolo Soyaltepec)

Oaxaca, Mexico

2010 World Monuments Watch

Constructed in 1723, Templo de San Bartolo Soyaltepec is located in the small rural village of San Bartolo Soyaltepec in the state of Oaxaca. Like so many of the baroque Dominican churches built in the Mixteca region during the 17th and 18th centuries, San Bartolo’s stone façade reflects elements of Spanish architecture of the period in combination with masterful usage of local traditional materials and craftsmanship. Designed with a traditional Latin cross plan, the church contains a choir loft, nave, transept, and chancel. A perpendicular hall houses the sacristy and rectory. Circular windows high above the apse and nave flood the church with natural light, revealing religious decorations covering the interior walls. Outside, a tree-lined courtyard and a single bell tower are vestiges of the baroque style typical of Spanish colonial architecture of the period and region. Much like San Felipe Tindaco, also on the 2010 Watch, insufficient financial resources are available to address structural issues challenging San Bartolo Soyaltepec. Despite sincere local interest in preserving an important symbol of the community’s heritage and religion, lack of maintenance has left the roof and arches in poor condition, and the walls remain in a weakened state. An 1864 earthquake left damage that has yet to be fully repaired.

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