Thursday, July 21, 2011
I have taken so many photos at Atotonilco where the third most visited religious site in Mexico is located. The difference today was that our daily rainstorm was coming. The coloring of the dark clouds against the white of the building was a stark contrast.
I traveled to Atotonilco with Steve from Melaque who is spending this month in San Miguel. I figured he needed to see at least one tourist site. I think he was underwhelmed. Maybe the history of the restoration would have an impact on anyone who sees it if they could have seen what it looked like ten years ago. Luckily locals of San Miguel and Atotonilco came together years ago and contacted the UN World Heritage Site committee. Upon inspection of the church and the hand painted murals done by a naive painter of the area, they added the church to the list of structures in danger of disappearing from neglect and disrepair.
A few thousand dollars here and a few thousand there were collected. Little by little as money came in architectural restoration work began. It was slow going. I had a group of Mexican folk art collectors who came to San Miguel on a tour and they donated $5000US dollars to the restoration. I was so proud of those people for this huge donation to this building referred to as the "Sistine Chapel of Mexico".
It's not a style of frescoes that I enjoy. A lot of it is very severe and shows a lot of self-flagalation and the pain of sacrifice. But the fact that it was done in the 1700's, had a huge part in the Revolution and is very important to the Mexican people, is important as a whole.
Obviously the United Nations World Heritage Site committee felt the same way in designating it a UN World Heritage site.
Restoration has been going on at a galloping pace ever since then. There is even restoration of the central part of the small village as well.