Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Water, Water: Etla

In an earlier post, we described the aqueduct and fountains of the city of Oaxaca.
As a follow up we look at the less complex but earlier system of Etla to the north of the city.

San Pedro & San Pablo Etla, mission front

There are many Etlas in the Etla Valley north of the city of Oaxaca, each with its own saint’s name.   San Pedro & San Pablo Etla is the principal town, often known simply as Villa de Etla. 
Calle Juarez, formerly a cobbled causeway, leads up to the old Dominican monastery, which is spectacularly sited on a terraced ridge with wide views of the valley.

Calle Juarez is flanked by arcaded sections of a long colonial aqueduct which was built by the Dominicans at the same time as, or just before, the construction of the convento in the mid to late 1500s.

Water from the aqueduct was channeled into the rear of the convento, where a large caja or collecting basin is still attached.
From there it was piped into several other outlets including the moorish cloister fountain.

text  © Richard D. Perry
photography © Richard D. Perry and

for more on colonial Oaxaca, consult our illustrated guidebook


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