You’re walking along a typical street in the Centro Historico of the city of Oaxaca – charming facades, tacky store fronts, …and then you catch a glimpse of the 1500’s. Archaeology can be at its most exciting in the middle of a city you thought you knew. In this case it’s the reclamation of
the building that was the first Catholic monastery in Oaxaca…but which had devolved into a hotel, a warehouse for construction materials and a parking lot.
The original construction started in the 1530’s, but over the years the building has suffered. Earthquakes; the sale of parts of its land in the 17th Century; the nationalization of the church lands in 1862; division into two parts to extend the street that is now Manuel Fernandez Fiallo and the subdivision of the rest into private lots all left their marks on it.
In late 2011 the Ex-Convento San Pablo re-opened as the San Pablo
Academic and Cultural Centre – a spectacular blend of restored 16th century building and contemporary space or building where the original building could not be rescued.
The building houses conference and exhibition spaces, a chapel a café and a contemporary (and reasonably priced) restaurant on 2 levels, over-looking the central courtyard.
Photos thanks to: http://www.obrasweb.mx; http://farm9.staticflickr.com http://casitacolibri.files.wordpress.com