Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Zacatecas
The Igelsia Santo Domingo is a beautiful church located in Zacatecas, Mexico. Constructed in just three years, from 1746-49, the church was consecrated in 1750. It’s a beautiful rose-colored cantera stone, which is very common in Zacatecas. During my 2013 trip to Zacatecas, I visited this church several times.
It can be difficult to get a good photo of the church. It sits on a small plaza at the end of a narrow street, atop a small hill. Its left side abuts the building next door, giving little room for photography. The photo to the right was shot from a balcony several blocks away, zoomed in. It gives some idea of the view toward the church.
The church is generally very active. The photo to the left shows another view of the church, this time before a wedding was taking place. The church sits on a platform, with a fountain below.
Another view can be had from above. The view below is from the Cerro de la Bufa. You can get to the top of the hill via car, walking, or by taking the Teleferico aerial tram. This view shows the domes, plus the side and back of the church.
While the exterior of the church is beautiful, it’s the interior that really sets it apart. It has many beautiful gilded retablos inside, each of which is superbly done.
A retablo is a carved wood or other artwork covered in religious motifs. In Mexican churches, these are often massive, elaborate works of art with many Saints and other religious figures included. Gilding is the process of covering this wood or other material with a thin layer of gold leaf. The effect is stunning.
Behind the main altar is a series of six columns. In the center is the Virgin Mary. The columns are superbly gilded and positively glow. A very realistic crucifix stands to the right of the altar.
The Virgin of Guadalupe is represented in one of the side retablos. The Virgin is probably the most celebrated religious icon in Mexico, and can be seen everywhere. Traditional accounts say that the Virgin appeared to a peasant, Juan Diego, near Mexico City in 1531.
Both sides of the church feature gilded retablos of the highest quality. It was difficult to photograph them, as the light was not ideal inside the church. Hopefully you can get an idea of the beauty of the interior through the photos below. Click any image on the page for a viewer with larger images.