Wednesday, June 11, 2008

San Cristobal de las Casas

I've probably already said this, so pardon me if I'm repeating myself, but I have to say the trip to Chiaipas was only second to my trip to Guatemala three years ago. The State of Michoacan has always been my favorite place in Mexico, and still is close to my heart, but for sheer beauty and cleanliness and exquisite terrain - Chiapas is it!
The similarities of Michoacan and the villages around Lake Patzcauro to Chiapas are the indigenous peoples. I love seeing them and it is something that I miss seeing in San Miguel. All of the people dress Western in San Miguel. But, with that said, the people, the culture and all the stuff that there IS to do in San Miguel will keep me there for as far into the future as I can see.
So, of course I had to start the tour of San Cristobal with the Mayan crosses which were in the yard of the Church of Santo Domingo. At the time I took this photo I had no idea that everywhere I went, I would see these crosses. They ARE the symbol of Chiapas and the Mayan peoples!
In my opinion, the Spaniards didn't do much of anything right as it relates to the peoples of Mexico but they sure did give them the gift of jardines or zocalos. This beautiful jardine in the centro of San Cristobal is a gathering and meeting place for everyone just like in every city and small village throughout Mexico. No one in Mexico should ever feel isolated as people do in the USA. They always have a jardine to go to "to meet and greet".............and they do.

Another thing the Spaniards gave to Mexico was magnificent architecture - everywhere - and this portal is just one example in the city.........isn't it magnificent? This has a Moorish influence.

And, in San Cristobal, as in Antigua Guatemala, Tequisquiapan and Queretaro and many, many other cities and villages - pedestrian streets! San Miguel SO NEEDS these. The quality of life and enjoyment is elevated because of this factor....maybe some day.

I took so many photos of architectural wonders, but I HAD to show you these exquisitely carved wood doors on a church. The wear, the coloration, the sybolism - breathtaking.

Quirky architecture that reminds me of some of the Spanish Arte Deco seen in Miami Beach! It now houses the Burger King - on another pedestrian street - the cross streets allow traffic, as you can see.
Aaah, and then the markets. This was near the Santo Domingo church but there were many. Don't you just love how they display their goods? A feasat for the eyes. According to Patrick, the city has tried many times to "run off" these merchants and have them display inside buildings - thankfully they keep coming back. I am saddened that the artesans of San Miguel are confined to a "stalled" mercado and not out on the streets as they used to be around the jardine.

And now the "quiz". Where are these women from? Remember? I saw them before I had ever gone to their village and was dazzled by their "fuzzy" skirts and unusually colored rebozos. After this day, I saw them EVERYWHERE!
These photos and this blog are the culmination of the eight days in Chiapas. I certainly have enjoyed sharing it with all of you. I do have a few photos that didn't fit anywhere but that I think I'll save for ONE MORE blog - just so you can enjoy them too...............Stay tuned!


Steve Cotton said...

I have always been impressed how conquered people can incorprate the culture of the conquerors. Your Mexican portal is a good example. The Spaniards passed it along to the Mexican people. Of course, the Spaniards borrowed it from their Moorish conquerors. Thus the cycle continues.

Babs said...

I was surprised at the amount of Mujedar influence I saw in Chiapas - especially La Pila, the fountain, in Chiapa de Corzo. It was extremely intricate and I couldn't get over the fact it was made of brick in 1542!!!!!!!! 50 years after the landing in America! The amount of churches and monuments the Spaniards had the Indians build is staggering.