Exploring Colonial Mexico©
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The Tlaxcalan village of Tepeyanco de Las Flores, located in a valley some 10kms south of the state capital of Tlaxcala, is the proud possessor of two colonial churches: a 16th century church (left above), part of the Franciscan monastery, and the adjacent 17th century parish church (right). Both buildings were damaged during the 1999 earthquakes in the Puebla region and both have undergone extensive repair and restoration, during which examples of early colonial mural art came to light.
A huge sunken atrium faces the Franciscan monastery, which is dominated by its imposing church - a classic fortress church, whose soaring rectangular facade features a broad arched doorway and is anchored by massive, flared and stepped buttresses.
colonial altarpieces line the interior, as well as some decorative
painted wooden confessionals and balconies. Traces of 17th century
murals have recently been found beneath the choir including the
figure of St. Christopher - often found in Franciscan churches.
The grand open chapel (left) stretches out from the north side of the church. Behind its elegant colonnade - originally a double arcade of which only the inner one now stands - fragments of an outstanding 16th century polychrome fresco of the martyr San Sebastian (right) adorn the chapel wall.
The ruined convento
stands on the south side of the church, its cloister arcades still
awaiting restoration. During recent work here, bands of geometric
decoration in burgundy and ocher were found along the church and
convento fronts, as well as traces of polychrome frescoes in the
The Church of San Francisco
The front of the adjoining parish church consists of an attractive retablo-facade in the classic Pueblan baroque style of tile and stucco ornament. Note the mudejar-style brick tower.
Inside, at the far end, rests the magnificent gilded and painted main altarpiece. Designed in provincial late baroque style, the 18th century retablo is dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, and contains several large, brightly painted panels showing her Apparitions. In the center of the retablo is a large sculpture of the Trinity, shown as three young men, probably dating from the mid-1700s.
In front of the
church stands a scalloped stone baptismal font. Carved with supporting
angels, it now serves as the basin for a patio fountain.
In March and May of 2007 colonial religious images were stolen from the parish church at Tepeyanco. These included figures of San Jose, San Martin de Porres and the Virgin of Guadalupe. Theft of religious art in Tlaxcala has risen alarmingly in recent months. Art works have also been stolen this year from nearby churches at Tlaxco, Zitlaltepec, Texcalac and San Lorenzo Tlacualoyan.