DescriptionTlacolula (tlah-coh-LOO-lah), about 38 kilometers (24 miles) east of the city of Oaxaca, dates as far back as 1250. This market center for surrounding Indian communities also is a producer of mezcal, a potent alcoholic beverage distilled from the fermented heart of the maguey plant.
The town is dominated by the imposing Church of the Virgin of the Assumption (Parroquía de la Virgen de la Asunción). The church's adjoining 16th-century, mudéjar (Moorish-style) chapel, the Capilla del Señor de Tlacolula, is one of the most beautifully ornate in the state of Oaxaca. Also called the Chapel of Silver, it has an interior bursting with sculptures of angels and saints and gleaming with gold ornamentation. Particularly noteworthy are the angels that flank the main altar, each bearing a silver censer, or incense holder.
Tlacolula's Sunday open-air market (tianguis) is notable for its size, authenticity (vendors from the surrounding villages make a day of it, dressing up in colorful regional clothing) and the many intriguing jewels that turn up among the mundane housewares and utilitarian clothing. Market stalls line one side of the arcaded main plaza and wrap around the town church. Tethered goats stand in the churchyard awaiting their fate (most likely ending up barbecued for a family dinner), women carry baskets laden with goods, and food stands offer regional fare like ground chapulines (grasshoppers) and hunks of sugar cane. Handicrafts, pottery and leather goods are among the many items for sale.
The plaza and church grounds also are the site of the 5-day Fiesta del Santa Cristo de Tlacolula, which culminates on the second Sunday in October. The festivities include regional dances like the Dance of the Feathers, which incorporates elaborate costumes, and a traditional Mixtec pelota (ball game).
Things to SeeYagul Ruins