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A charming village: San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya

If you are looking to really know Oaxaca you can not miss this place. San Jerónimo Oaxaca is a town that will make you fall in love with its traditions, its history, and its emblematic temple and former convent. Learn more about this amazing place here.

Imagine a picturesque town just 25 kilometers from the Oaxacan capital. It is a place that is a testament to the conquest of Mexico and its indigenous past, where ancient traditions are still alive. San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya in Oaxaca is just that place to visit.

It has the charm that makes it a great tourist attraction, while not losing the feeling of being a secret and cozy place in which you discover the real essence of Oaxaca and Mexico.


Temple of San jeronimo Oaxaca

The town of San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya is named after the patron saint to whom the city is dedicated, although some sources claim that Tlacochahuaya means “humid place or wetland” or perhaps “in the middle of the swamp”.

It is said that the town was originally founded by a Zapotec warrior called Cochicahuala, which means “the one who fights at night”.

However, during the conquest, the area would become an encomienda by Don Gaspar Calderón. The encomiendas were pieces of land that were left in charge of some Spanish lord, usual possessor of some nobility title, it was his job to manage both the resources and the people of the place to work, evangelize and produce riches for New Spain.

Eventually, the administration would become directly in the hands of the crown.

Dominican friars settled in the area and they were the ones who would lead the construction of the temple and the convent in the 16th century. In this company indigenous labor was employed, which shines in the finishes of the architecture, as well as in the internal ornaments by which the temple is more recognized.

Currently, this is one of the reasons why San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya is a favorite destination for tourists.

The Temple and Exconvento of San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya

Antique organ from the temple of San Jeronimo Oaxaca

Why is the temple and the former convent of San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya so visited? Well, precisely because of its finishes.

Outside the facade of the church is quite simple compared to its exterior, if the statue of Saint Jerome stands out listening to the voice of God and the figures of dogs that represent the Dominicans as faithful to God.

The atrium is equally simple, although it also has some attractions. It is delimited by a wall and contains a cross, as well as an ancient sundial, which to date is consulted by the inhabitants of the village.

What is impressive is inside the temple: the walls are upholstered with multicolored ornaments. Flowers and various foliage exalt the heavenly court of angels.

The sacred art of the temple resembles the textile handicrafts of the indigenous peoples, giving it a unique character that stands out from any church in the world.

Also inside the temple, you can see an organ dating from 1739. The imposing musical instrument is a work of art in itself that is well worth seeing. It was restored in 1991 and still stands in great splendor.

Customs and Traditions

men dancing la Danza de la Pluma traditional of the Central Valley of Oaxaca

The town of San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya also has a variety of festivities worth witnessing. Despite the passing of the years, its inhabitants proudly preserve the traditions that their ancestors have bequeathed to them.

Today they celebrate the Guelaguetza in July, as well as the feast to the patron saint of the town in September.

La Guelaguetza

In the town of San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya is the Cerro de las Azucenas, from which you can get a beautiful view of the town.

In this place every year, for the feast of Our Lady of Carmen, the locals come together to dance and thus thank the blessings that have been given to them.

Formerly, the Guelaguetza was given in honor of the indigenous gods with the same purpose. Although part of this same idea remains, some still believe that this is what the rain and good harvests can be called, fulfilling and honoring this tradition.

The Feast of Saint Jerome

The 30th of September is the day of Saint Jerome, on this date, the inhabitants of the village gather to dance in the atrium of the temple.

The most representative dance of this celebration is the Danza de la Pluma (Dance of the Feathers). In it, devout men, offer their dance to Saint Jerome, although the origin is of course indigenous.

The showiest of the dance is the traditional costumes that shine by their colors and the rhythmic movements typical of the dance.

Come and visit San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya

The attractions of San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya are many, so it is worth taking the time to visit it if you want to know the most emblematic of Oaxaca.

Its location is comfortable, as it is close to the capital and is a visit that can be done in a single day, which makes it a comfortable option for tourists who are going to spend several days in Oaxaca.

If you are planning a trip to Oaxaca, you may also like:

Disfruta las raíces del mezcal, la bebida espiritual más antigua de México desde Quiegolani.

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