9/12/2014

Ruta de los Conventos: Ocuituco

I won't write these posts in the order that we visited the convents, mostly because I'm a bit of a history freak and I just want to begin with the oldest one. Since all of these convents were built on indigenous lands, to convert the people living them (and, by way of conversion, dominate them and include them in the Spanish lands), I won't talk much about that bit of history.

Convent Trail Ocuituco Morelos Mexico


Ocuituco is a small town located in the North-East of Morelos, very close to the state of Mexico (and also to Mexico City). It's only one municipality away from the state of Puebla, which is our neighbor to the West. The town, is very small, lost in the mountains. When we came out of the car everything smelled of fried fish, because there are some small lakes nearby, where people fish trout. They then bring it into town, and it being market day, the fish was cooked and eaten outside.

It was almost like travelling to another country, so remote it was. There were no chain stores, no big stores in fact; the whole town was about five blocks in each direction from the convent. Otherwise, it seemed pretty safe, and I felt like I had also travelled back in history to maybe the beginning of last century; even the cars were old.

Convent Trail Ocuituco town

The convent itself was built by Franciscan friars in 1533, on lands given them by the then-Bishop of New Spain, Fray Juan de Zumárraga. It's one of the smallest convents we visited, apparently because the Indians didn't want to build the convent, so the friars took their church and moved it somewhere else. They then returned about 20 years later and finally built their convent.

The place has been "restored" several times in the past 400 years, causing some damage to the original structure, and the people who now run the church lament all those changes, particularly the ones made at the beginning of the 20th Century. This is a problem common to almost all structures from Colonial times (and before!) Some of these places are included in UNESCO's World Heritage List, so I hope more care is taken to preserve them, especially this oldest one.


Convent Trail Ocuituco Morelos Mexico

convent trail ocuituco morelos mexico

Convent Trail Ocuituco Morelos Mexico

Convent Trail Ocuituco Morelos Mexico


No voy a escribir sobre los conventos en el orden en que los visitamos sólo porque quería comenzar con el más antiguo de todos. Tampoco hablaré mucho sobre la parte anterior a la conquista, pues todos los pueblos eran nahuas o tlahuicas y ya sabemos cómo les fue con la llegada de los españoles.

Ocuituco es un pueblito ubicado al noreste del estado, cerca del Estado de México y de Puebla. El pueblo es muy muy pequeño y perdido entre los cerros. Cuando llegamos todo olía a pescado frito, sacado de las lagunas a las faldas del volcán. .

Llegar ahí era casi como llegar a otro país y a otra época. No hay tiendas grandes, mucho menos cadenas comerciales. De hecho, todo el pueblo son como cinco cuadras a la redonda del convento, y por lo mismo se sentía bastante seguro.

Sobre el convento. Fue construido por frailes franciscanos en 1533, en tierras donadas por el entonces obispo de la Nueva España, Fray Juan de Zumárraga. Es uno de los conventos más pequeños, al parecer porque los indios no lo querían, de manera que los frailes desmantelaron su iglesia y se la llevaron a otra parte (a Totolapan). Finalmente regresaron 20 años más tarde y por fin pudieron terminar su tan anhelado convento.

El sitio ha sido objeto de varias "restauraciones", lo que ha ocasionado daños a la estructura original. Esto es especialmente cierto de los cambios hechos a principios del siglo 20. Ahora, el convento de Ocuituco forma parte del Patrimonio de la Humanidad, así que podremos esperar que los trabajos de conservación no lo dañen más.

¿Alguno/a de mis lectores/as conoce Ocuituco? ¿Qué les pareció? ¿Irían?




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