Yecapixtla

What is Yecapixtla known for?


Festivals

State of Mexico. Another annual event is the Feria y Exposición Ganadera or Cattle Expo and Fair. In addition to the showing of animals, there are charreada events, bullfights and number of cultural attractions. Today, Yecapixtla still has a large number of religious festivals and other events. Some of the most important occur on New Year’s Day, Candlemas, Holy

festivals. The facade of the cloister has two levels and is fronted by an arched porch area, called a portería. Above the portería, there are two windows, and the remains of the pilasters of an arch that corresponds to the open chapel, which was like a balcony. However, this balcony area was eventually walled in to make more interior space. The portería contains two arches and a frieze adorned with round forms which protrude. The portería contains the main

period of depopulation in the 18th century when many residents went to work in haciendas in Cuautla and other areas in Morelos. In the 18th century, the Augustinians officially lost control of the monastery complex and the population to regular clergy in 1754. During this time, many of the popular religious festivals such as the Semana de San Juan (Week of Saint John) and Day of the Dead became established in the town and surrounding area, often encouraged


translating

name "fortaleza" History The name Yecapixtla has been translated in a number of ways. Several sources claim that the name refers to the wearing of a stone called a “chalchuihite” through the nose, translating to “land of pierced noses.” This was indeed practiced in the area among pre-Hispanic governors as a sign of their status. This translation may come from documents written by Gutierrez de Lievana from 1580. The Aztec glyph of the area does show a pierced nose. ref


agricultural technical

to the south of the town and slowly the town recovered. Development remained slow until the mid-20th century when new infrastructure such as the reestablishment of electricity and telephone, a new highway and a bank allowed for more economic contact with the outside. The new infrastructure attracted new residents. Public schools were opened in the 1930s and 1940s. An agricultural technical school was opened in 1972. The municipality As municipal seat, the town of Yecapixtla is the local governing authority for over 100 named communities which cover a territory of 192.33km2. - 030 Yecapixtla Yecapixtla -


choir

in the baptistry The main entrance of the church leads into a space under the choir area, which is covered by a Gothic vault with nerves that form the shape of a star. The highly stylized murals painted in black on the side walls have been retouched. They consist of bands of decorations with contains elements such as letters, niches and coats of arms. This entrance area ends with an arch that opens into the main nave. This area serves as the baptistery and contains

. The heads that protrude indicate the duality of life with the masculine represented by a jaguar and the feminine represented by a woman. The use of a jaguar symbol indicates Olmec influence. Next to these two, there is a small pillar with worn, unidentifiable designs, whose purpose are unknown. A small door in the entrance area covers a stairway that leads to the choir area above. This choir area contains medieval style

" thumb left Main nave of the church, decorated for Christmas (File:MainNaveYecaXmas.JPG) The main nave is enormous and very tall. At the front is an apse, which like the area under the choir has a vault with Gothic nerves which form a star pattern. The current main altar found here is not the original. The original altar was Baroque (Baroque architecture) which contained twelve paintings with each


large white

- 030 Yecapixtla Yecapixtla -


promoting

trans_title Ex Augustinian Monastery of San Juan Bautista: a fortress of the 16th century year 2008 publisher Centro Cultural de Yecapixtla, Morelos location Yecapixtla, Mexico language Spanish pages 2–14 Today, the highlights of this event includes the dance of the Chinelos, and a ballroom dance with features orchestra and popular music. The Feria de Cecina or Cecina Fair is also held on this date, promoting the town

; This area also has varying landscapes, a wide variety of flora and fauna as well as churches, former haciendas, archeological sites and ruins. - 030 Yecapixtla Yecapixtla -


volcanic rock

are in the north, descending gradually to the south, east and west. Major elevations include Yoteco (2110 masl), Boyero (1824 masl) and Mirador (1882 masl). There are formations of volcanic rock, including basalt. Surface water consists of runoff from Popocateptl into streams and small rivers, many of which have formed deep ravines such as the one named Yecapixtla, which begins in the State of Mexico and passes through Zahuatlán and Mexquemeca. ref name "


local population

; The Franciscans were the first to arrive in the 1520s to evangelize the local population and they built a small church on the site. However, this church was destroyed in a fire. The Augustinians took over evangelization in the 1530s and formally established the monastery, dedicated to John the Baptist. This figure was chosen because Yacapitzauac was depicted with a staff as a sign of his authority, and John the Baptist is often depicted with a staff. Most of the monastery was constructed between 1535 and 1540. At that time, there was sufficient income to the order to not only finish much of the monastery in a short time, but also to add a number of fine details. Construction of a number of smaller elements continued until 1586. The complex presents similarities with others built by the Augustinians in eastern Morelos at this time, such as a stone wall around the perimeter and the use of merlons, which give these monasteries the look of a medieval castle. Due to the diminishing importance of Yecapixtla, the monastery was mostly abandoned by the 17th century, with the Augustinians losing formal control of the church and community in the mid 18th century. The complex remained mostly untouched until the late 19th century, when Father José Pilar Sandoval did some remodeling work in the main nave of the church. More restoration work was undertaken by Father Evaristo Nava in the early 20th century, which included the addition of an organ and changing the sacristy into a tabernacle. In 1994, the complex became part of the Monasteries on the Slopes of Popocatépetl World Heritage Site. As common to monasteries of the time, the complex is fronted by a very large atrium (Atrium (architecture)). This atrium is surrounded by a stone wall topped with merlons. The main entrance to the atrium from the street has merlons, as well as the chapels found on each of the wall’s four corners. From the main entrance to the church, there is a volcanic stone walkway, divided by an atrium cross, which has a heart, a chalice and a depiction of the Host (sacramental bread) in low relief. The atrium cross is not the original. The original was broken by a child in 1961 when he was trying to climb onto its base. The cross fell onto the child killing him. Along the atrium walls on the inside, there are a number of empty niches that remain, which probably held images related to the Stations of the Cross. Access to the chapels in the corners, called capillas posas, is in the atrium. These chapels’ primary function was the house the Host during processions on Corpus Christi (Corpus Christi (feast)). At the back of the atrium is the complex which consists of a large church and cloister. The front of the church has a very tall facade, which is mostly undecorated, flanked by two corner buttresses and topped by a small recessed tower. Along the top of the facade and on this tower, there are merlons. The church also has a bell tower, but it is somewhat recessed from the facade and is also topped with merlons. Under the cornice, there is a frieze which divides into two parts. On the right hand side, there is the date of 1526 depicted in Aztec style, when the Franciscans arrived, accompanied by the coat of arms of that order. On the left is the year in which the pre-Hispanic teocalli was destroyed. Between the merlons and the main portal, there is a Gothic (Gothic architecture) rose window and below this is a main portal with subtle design work. The rose window stands out most. It is a circular stone which was cut in a floral like pattern to let in light, surrounded by a frame with elaborate ornamentation. It is one of very few rose windows in Mexico from this time period. While the overall style of the window is Plateresque Gothic, it was fashioned by indigenous hands. It contains indigenous elements as well. The “flower” in the center indicates the four cardinal directions and the twenty cherubs in the frame surrounding it represents the days of the month of the Aztec calendar. This frame also contains the bust of a bound woman who probably represents the mother of Huitzilopochtli. The portal is a simple arch with subtle reliefs with small angels, cherubs and vegetative motifs on the archivolt as well as portraits of saints and friars. One of these portraits may be Jorge de Avile y Ro, the founder of the monastery. On the left side there is a portrait of a lay person with a Roman style haircut, who was probably the architect. The wooden doorjambs are decorated with the heads of angels and rose patterns as well as vegetative motifs. The bars on the main doors were added in 1910 by Father Evaristo Nava, who also donated the clock that can be seen on the complex’s back tower. Around the arch and the doors, the portal is sculpted in both a detailed and subtle way. To the side of the doorway, there are two pairs of pilasters. These are in Renaissance style while the rest of the portal mixes Gothic and Plateresque. However, the columns also have channels which are more often associated with the later Churrigueresque. At the base of the columns there are busts of Saint Ambrose, bishop of Milan (Ambrose) and Cicero, who was an influence on the philosophy of Saint Augustine. The pilasters are topped with capital (Capital (architecture))s, which support a frieze that contains reliefs of small angels flying with a cross in the center. Above the frieze, there is a panel with a niche, today empty, flanked by the coats of arms of the Augustinians and the Franciscans. Underneath the coats of arms, there is an angel riding a dragon. Topping this is a pediment. The northeast side of the church is marked by a long wall with three Gothic windows and the side portal in Renaissance style. This is the portal most often used by parishioners as it is closest to what is now the main plaza of the town. This portal has a barrel arch flanked by two sets of pilasters. Between the sets, there are very worn decorative details, including two medallions. These are notable because they depict a man and a woman in civil attire with no religious aspect. The archivolt of the arch contains bundles of spears tied with different elements. In the center of one of these bundles, there is a heart, a symbol of the Augustinians. A cornice encloses the area. thumb Baptismal font, "piscina" and pillar in the baptistry (File:FontsSanJuanYeca02.JPG) The main entrance of the church leads into a space under the choir area, which is covered by a Gothic vault with nerves that form the shape of a star. The highly stylized murals painted in black on the side walls have been retouched. They consist of bands of decorations with contains elements such as letters, niches and coats of arms. This entrance area ends with an arch that opens into the main nave. This area serves as the baptistery and contains three monolithic pieces, which originally were part of the teocalli. The first two are used for baptisms. The first is the large basin to hold water for baptism. The second, called a “piscina” is meant to receive the water that pours off the head of the one being baptized. On the outside of the main basin, there are the heads of animals and humans, which may indicate that the bowl was originally part of a fountain, readapted to its current function. The heads that protrude indicate the duality of life with the masculine represented by a jaguar and the feminine represented by a woman. The use of a jaguar symbol indicates Olmec influence. Next to these two, there is a small pillar with worn, unidentifiable designs, whose purpose are unknown. A small door in the entrance area covers a stairway that leads to the choir area above. This choir area contains medieval style murals and a balustrade with a crest of flor-de-lis sculpted of sandstone. It also contains an organ similar to the ones used in medieval European cathedrals, and is the only one of its kind in the Augustinian monasteries of the region. The only other one in the region is in the originally Franciscan cathedral of Cuernavaca. It was donated by Evaristo Nava in 1915, using money he was saving to go to the Holy Land. thumb left Main nave of the church, decorated for Christmas (File:MainNaveYecaXmas.JPG) The main nave is enormous and very tall. At the front is an apse, which like the area under the choir has a vault with Gothic nerves which form a star pattern. The current main altar found here is not the original. The original altar was Baroque (Baroque architecture) which contained twelve paintings with each of the Apostles as well as one of John the Baptist and Saint Augustine. These paintings have since been moved to the pinacotheca of the Cuernavaca cathedral. The current altar is a large white 19th century Neoclassical (Neoclassical architecture) style piece, inspired by a Roman mausoleum. It has two levels on a circular base with a Corinthian (Corinthian order) style capitol. It features an image of John the Baptist. Most of the original mural work that covered the walls and ceilings are deteriorated or lost, but reconstructed murals have been added to parts, especially in the spaces between the nerves of the vaults. These murals contain soft colors which form lines, geometrical shapes and floral shapes reminiscent of ironwork. These probably date to the last third of the 19th century but this is mostly conjecture. The side walls contain faded remnants of narrative scenes, which have not been dated either. One of the best conserved elements inside the church is the 16th century pulpit, made of sandstone sculpted with fine Gothic style designs. In each of the faces of the design, anagrams of the name of Christ or the coat of arms of the Augustinians appear. There is none like it from all of the Mexican colonial period. The original confession booths are built into the wall on the right hand side of the nave, separating the church and the cloister, with the priest entering one side and the confessor entering through the other. They were covered up for much of the church’s history until 1954, when Father Jose Maria Mendez moved the altars on this wall to reveal them. Between them and the baptistery area, there is a large door that leads to the cloister of the former monastery. In colonial times, this door was only opened for Mass (Mass (liturgy)) on major festivals. The facade of the cloister has two levels and is fronted by an arched porch area, called a portería. Above the portería, there are two windows, and the remains of the pilasters of an arch that corresponds to the open chapel, which was like a balcony. However, this balcony area was eventually walled in to make more interior space. The portería contains two arches and a frieze adorned with round forms which protrude. The portería contains the main entrance to the cloister area, above which is a crucifix set on top of a skull, which represents Calvary. The foyer of this entrance used to serve as a baptistery in the late 19th and early 20th century. The paintings here are from that era. They depict stories about the Virgin Mary who is shown with the infant Jesus in her arms and symbols of the Trinity around them. Inside, the cloister has only one floor that surrounds a central courtyard, separated by sixteen simple arches which have buttresses. On the interior of each arch, there are dark red circles, which are all that remain of medallions which probably had religious anagrams. In the center of the courtyard, there is a fountain and a sundial etched onto a pillar. There are two main interior portals, one that leads to the refectory and the other that leads to the current priest’s quarters. Like other cloisters of this area and time, there are remnants of mural work. Near the large doorway to the church, there is a group of four saints done in black and white, which look upon a scene which has since been lost. There are areas that conserve parts of friezes with images drawn in white over a black background, especially in the upper parts of the walls. Images of saints appear on the spaces between the arches, which are drawn to simulate sculptures contained in niches with Plateresque columns and topped with shells. In one corner, there is a seated figure of a sainted pope, whose face and eyes are finely done. Most of the rest of the paintings are narratives, but most of the work has been partially or fully lost, and those that remain are not in good condition. One exception is a depiction of the road to Calvary and the Crucifixion. The vaults of the passageways are decorated with coffers, some of which are hexagons, which may indicate the influence of Italian architect Sebastian Serlio. The Sala de Profundis, or meditation room, contains well-preserved multichromatic murals which depict a large number of saints including a series of martyrs and a depiction of Saint Augustine. These images are in the process of restoration by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. In the south wing of the cloister there is an entrance to an underground area, which tradition says used to lead to Hernán Cortés’ house, but since destroyed. There is also a door that leads to the garden area, which grew food for the monks. Fruit trees bearing mangos, guavas, coffee, limes, oranges and plums and more still grow here. It is one of the few monasteries which still has its garden area, although it is greatly diminished. Missing from view are the kitchen area and latrines. It is thought that the Chapel of San José, now opening into the church, was originally the kitchen of the monastery. This chapel is known to have existed in this form at least since the 19th century. The monastery has an archive which dates back to the year 1600, which mostly records baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths of the local population. During the Mexican Revolution, this archive was sealed behind a wall in order to avoid its destruction. History The name Yecapixtla has been translated in a number of ways. Several sources claim that the name refers to the wearing of a stone called a “chalchuihite” through the nose, translating to “land of pierced noses.” This was indeed practiced in the area among pre-Hispanic governors as a sign of their status. This translation may come from documents written by Gutierrez de Lievana from 1580. The Aztec glyph of the area does show a pierced nose. The government of Morelos claims that the name translates to “land of gentle airs” referring to the calm weather and lack of strong winds. The glyph also contains a flying insect which could allude to this. However, the name is very close to the name of a god of commerce, Yacapitzauac, whose teocalli was the center of the pre-Hispanic settlement. This teocalli was destroyed by the Spanish and a church dedicated to John the Baptist put in its place. The eastern portion of what is now Morelos state had been settled since the Olmec period, and this culture controlled most of the area through the main settlement of Chalcatzingo. It is also known that groups of Chalcas and Xochimilcas passed through. Xochimilcas and Tlahuicas came to settle around 1325. Yecapixtla itself was established by a group of Xochimilcas. This same area of Morelos was conquered by Moctezuma I in 1440, and Yecapixtla became a tributary collection center for the Aztecs due to its strategic position in the basin of the Amatzinac River. The Aztecs called this settlement Tlalnahuac. During the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, a few months before the fall of Tenochtitlan, Spanish soldiers under Gonzalo de Sandoval came to Yecapixtla to conquer it. Sandoval arrived to the settlement from Huejotzingo (Huejotzingo (municipality)), bringing warriors from this place, which had been a traditional enemy of Yecapixtla. The battle between Spanish and local eagle warriors took place at the Xaplan ravine on 15 March 1521, and the town resisted the invaders fiercely. However, the warriors were unable to withstand the Spaniards’ superior weapons and the eagle warrior dynasty of this area was destroyed. The remaining warriors retreated from Yecapixtla permanently, but some went to Tenochtitlan to defend it. The victorious Spanish sacked, destroyed and killed many in the town. Yecapixtla lay in ruins, but Hernán Cortés had interest in it and the surrounding area because of the well-established tribute collection system and the land’s aptitude for fruit orchards. Cortés built a house in the town and laid claim to the area. However, the first colonial government in Mexico City gave the lands in the area to Diego de Olguín. Cortés left for Spain in 1529, making the area an encomienda called Tlalnahuac, which included fourteen communities including Yecapixtla. When Cortés returned from Spain, he carried a seal making him the Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, giving him possession of large swaths of land, including the Yecapixtla area and four others in Morelos. The Cortés family would keep these lands through the rest of the 16th century. Yecapixtla kept its function as a tribute collection center and became a commercial center, especially for the cattle trade. The first missionaries to the areas were the Franciscans, who arrived and built a small church in 1525. In the 1530s, they were replaced by the Augustinians. This order began to construct the monastery complex which remains to this day. It was mostly built over a period of five years, from 1535 to 1540, made possible by the income provided by the settlement’s status as a tribute collection center. The monastery and town was dedicated to John the Baptist. He was chosen because he is often depicted with a cloak, sandals and staff, much like the pre-Hispanic patron of the settlement, Yecapetzauac. After the monastery was built, it became a regional administrative center because of its location along a number of commercial routes. The town of Yecapixtla was reorganized around the monastery complex in 1550, into four neighborhoods: San Pablo, La Concepción, Santa Mónica and San Esteban, which still exist. These roughly correspond to the pre-Hispanic organization of the town, but it was much reduced in size due to population loss, especially on the south side. The town at that time was crisscrossed by arroyos (Arroyo (creek)) and ravines spanned by small bridges, especially around the monastery, but since then many have dried out and filled in. Depopulation continued at the end of the 16th and early 17th centuries, and the monastery’s importance diminished. By the end of this time, the monastery was all but abandoned, as Cuautla (Cuautla, Morelos) grew and became the regional center. In the 17th century, those who had land rights under what were called “primordial title” began to struggle with Spanish owned haciendas over surface water. Much of the land in the municipality is not suited for the growing of crops, but is instead suited for the raising of livestock, especially cattle. For this reason, the area’s industry in providing beef and dairy products such as cream and cheese began relatively early in the colonial period. Orchards established in the very early colonial period were still important. There was another period of depopulation in the 18th century when many residents went to work in haciendas in Cuautla and other areas in Morelos. In the 18th century, the Augustinians officially lost control of the monastery complex and the population to regular clergy in 1754. During this time, many of the popular religious festivals such as the Semana de San Juan (Week of Saint John) and Day of the Dead became established in the town and surrounding area, often encouraged by the new clergy. The development and growth of local religious festivals would continue through the rest of the colonial period and into the 19th century, through the establishment of brotherhoods (cofradías) dedicated to a particular saint or other religious element. Because of its strategic position between the Mexico City area and points south, armies associated with the Mexican War of Independence, Reform War and Mexican Revolution all passed through here. In 1810, Yecapixtla was part of the Jonacatepec municipality. It became an independent municipality in 1869. For a brief period in the late 19th century, Yecapixtla experienced a surge in economic development when a railway was built through connecting it to Mexico City through what is now the eastern panhandle of the State of Mexico. Electricity and telephone were introduced. During this time Evaristo Navo was the head clergyman in the area and is credited with a number of developments including a parish school, the installation of a church organ, with accompanying encouragement of musical training. He also installed the clock on the San Juan Bautista Church. One purpose of the parish school was to preserve and in some cases restitute old traditions which had been lost due to the Liberal reforms of the latter 19th century (Reform War). The school closed in 1911. Further attempts to keep older traditions alive were headed by Juventino Pineda Enriquez who created the “Misiones Culturales” (Cultural Missions). The town shrank again in population due to the Mexican Revolution, with men going off to fight and the remaining women and children dispersing, with some going to Mexico City. The war ruined the town’s economy and after the war, many families who had left never returned. After the war, agriculture returned when an ejido was established to the south of the town and slowly the town recovered. Development remained slow until the mid-20th century when new infrastructure such as the reestablishment of electricity and telephone, a new highway and a bank allowed for more economic contact with the outside. The new infrastructure attracted new residents. Public schools were opened in the 1930s and 1940s. An agricultural technical school was opened in 1972. The municipality As municipal seat, the town of Yecapixtla is the local governing authority for over 100 named communities which cover a territory of 192.33km2. - 030 Yecapixtla Yecapixtla -


volcanic stone

large atrium (Atrium (architecture)). This atrium is surrounded by a stone wall topped with merlons. The main entrance to the atrium from the street has merlons, as well as the chapels found on each of the wall’s four corners. From the main entrance to the church, there is a volcanic stone walkway, divided by an atrium cross, which has a heart, a chalice and a depiction of the Host (sacramental bread) in low relief. The atrium cross


images related

is not the original. The original was broken by a child in 1961 when he was trying to climb onto its base. The cross fell onto the child killing him. Along the atrium walls on the inside, there are a number of empty niches that remain, which probably held images related to the Stations of the Cross. Access to the chapels in the corners, called capillas posas, is in the atrium. These chapels’ primary function was the house the Host during processions on Corpus Christi (Corpus Christi (feast)). At the back of the atrium is the complex which consists of a large church and cloister. The front of the church has a very tall facade, which is mostly undecorated, flanked by two corner buttresses and topped by a small recessed tower. Along the top of the facade and on this tower, there are merlons. The church also has a bell tower, but it is somewhat recessed from the facade and is also topped with merlons. Under the cornice, there is a frieze which divides into two parts. On the right hand side, there is the date of 1526 depicted in Aztec style, when the Franciscans arrived, accompanied by the coat of arms of that order. On the left is the year in which the pre-Hispanic teocalli was destroyed. Between the merlons and the main portal, there is a Gothic (Gothic architecture) rose window and below this is a main portal with subtle design work. The rose window stands out most. It is a circular stone which was cut in a floral like pattern to let in light, surrounded by a frame with elaborate ornamentation. It is one of very few rose windows in Mexico from this time period. While the overall style of the window is Plateresque Gothic, it was fashioned by indigenous hands. It contains indigenous elements as well. The “flower” in the center indicates the four cardinal directions and the twenty cherubs in the frame surrounding it represents the days of the month of the Aztec calendar. This frame also contains the bust of a bound woman who probably represents the mother of Huitzilopochtli. The portal is a simple arch with subtle reliefs with small angels, cherubs and vegetative motifs on the archivolt as well as portraits of saints and friars. One of these portraits may be Jorge de Avile y Ro, the founder of the monastery. On the left side there is a portrait of a lay person with a Roman style haircut, who was probably the architect. The wooden doorjambs are decorated with the heads of angels and rose patterns as well as vegetative motifs. The bars on the main doors were added in 1910 by Father Evaristo Nava, who also donated the clock that can be seen on the complex’s back tower. Around the arch and the doors, the portal is sculpted in both a detailed and subtle way. To the side of the doorway, there are two pairs of pilasters. These are in Renaissance style while the rest of the portal mixes Gothic and Plateresque. However, the columns also have channels which are more often associated with the later Churrigueresque. At the base of the columns there are busts of Saint Ambrose, bishop of Milan (Ambrose) and Cicero, who was an influence on the philosophy of Saint Augustine. The pilasters are topped with capital (Capital (architecture))s, which support a frieze that contains reliefs of small angels flying with a cross in the center. Above the frieze, there is a panel with a niche, today empty, flanked by the coats of arms of the Augustinians and the Franciscans. Underneath the coats of arms, there is an angel riding a dragon. Topping this is a pediment. The northeast side of the church is marked by a long wall with three Gothic windows and the side portal in Renaissance style. This is the portal most often used by parishioners as it is closest to what is now the main plaza of the town. This portal has a barrel arch flanked by two sets of pilasters. Between the sets, there are very worn decorative details, including two medallions. These are notable because they depict a man and a woman in civil attire with no religious aspect. The archivolt of the arch contains bundles of spears tied with different elements. In the center of one of these bundles, there is a heart, a symbol of the Augustinians. A cornice encloses the area. thumb Baptismal font, "piscina" and pillar in the baptistry (File:FontsSanJuanYeca02.JPG) The main entrance of the church leads into a space under the choir area, which is covered by a Gothic vault with nerves that form the shape of a star. The highly stylized murals painted in black on the side walls have been retouched. They consist of bands of decorations with contains elements such as letters, niches and coats of arms. This entrance area ends with an arch that opens into the main nave. This area serves as the baptistery and contains three monolithic pieces, which originally were part of the teocalli. The first two are used for baptisms. The first is the large basin to hold water for baptism. The second, called a “piscina” is meant to receive the water that pours off the head of the one being baptized. On the outside of the main basin, there are the heads of animals and humans, which may indicate that the bowl was originally part of a fountain, readapted to its current function. The heads that protrude indicate the duality of life with the masculine represented by a jaguar and the feminine represented by a woman. The use of a jaguar symbol indicates Olmec influence. Next to these two, there is a small pillar with worn, unidentifiable designs, whose purpose are unknown. A small door in the entrance area covers a stairway that leads to the choir area above. This choir area contains medieval style murals and a balustrade with a crest of flor-de-lis sculpted of sandstone. It also contains an organ similar to the ones used in medieval European cathedrals, and is the only one of its kind in the Augustinian monasteries of the region. The only other one in the region is in the originally Franciscan cathedral of Cuernavaca. It was donated by Evaristo Nava in 1915, using money he was saving to go to the Holy Land. thumb left Main nave of the church, decorated for Christmas (File:MainNaveYecaXmas.JPG) The main nave is enormous and very tall. At the front is an apse, which like the area under the choir has a vault with Gothic nerves which form a star pattern. The current main altar found here is not the original. The original altar was Baroque (Baroque architecture) which contained twelve paintings with each of the Apostles as well as one of John the Baptist and Saint Augustine. These paintings have since been moved to the pinacotheca of the Cuernavaca cathedral. The current altar is a large white 19th century Neoclassical (Neoclassical architecture) style piece, inspired by a Roman mausoleum. It has two levels on a circular base with a Corinthian (Corinthian order) style capitol. It features an image of John the Baptist. Most of the original mural work that covered the walls and ceilings are deteriorated or lost, but reconstructed murals have been added to parts, especially in the spaces between the nerves of the vaults. These murals contain soft colors which form lines, geometrical shapes and floral shapes reminiscent of ironwork. These probably date to the last third of the 19th century but this is mostly conjecture. The side walls contain faded remnants of narrative scenes, which have not been dated either. One of the best conserved elements inside the church is the 16th century pulpit, made of sandstone sculpted with fine Gothic style designs. In each of the faces of the design, anagrams of the name of Christ or the coat of arms of the Augustinians appear. There is none like it from all of the Mexican colonial period. The original confession booths are built into the wall on the right hand side of the nave, separating the church and the cloister, with the priest entering one side and the confessor entering through the other. They were covered up for much of the church’s history until 1954, when Father Jose Maria Mendez moved the altars on this wall to reveal them. Between them and the baptistery area, there is a large door that leads to the cloister of the former monastery. In colonial times, this door was only opened for Mass (Mass (liturgy)) on major festivals. The facade of the cloister has two levels and is fronted by an arched porch area, called a portería. Above the portería, there are two windows, and the remains of the pilasters of an arch that corresponds to the open chapel, which was like a balcony. However, this balcony area was eventually walled in to make more interior space. The portería contains two arches and a frieze adorned with round forms which protrude. The portería contains the main entrance to the cloister area, above which is a crucifix set on top of a skull, which represents Calvary. The foyer of this entrance used to serve as a baptistery in the late 19th and early 20th century. The paintings here are from that era. They depict stories about the Virgin Mary who is shown with the infant Jesus in her arms and symbols of the Trinity around them. Inside, the cloister has only one floor that surrounds a central courtyard, separated by sixteen simple arches which have buttresses. On the interior of each arch, there are dark red circles, which are all that remain of medallions which probably had religious anagrams. In the center of the courtyard, there is a fountain and a sundial etched onto a pillar. There are two main interior portals, one that leads to the refectory and the other that leads to the current priest’s quarters. Like other cloisters of this area and time, there are remnants of mural work. Near the large doorway to the church, there is a group of four saints done in black and white, which look upon a scene which has since been lost. There are areas that conserve parts of friezes with images drawn in white over a black background, especially in the upper parts of the walls. Images of saints appear on the spaces between the arches, which are drawn to simulate sculptures contained in niches with Plateresque columns and topped with shells. In one corner, there is a seated figure of a sainted pope, whose face and eyes are finely done. Most of the rest of the paintings are narratives, but most of the work has been partially or fully lost, and those that remain are not in good condition. One exception is a depiction of the road to Calvary and the Crucifixion. The vaults of the passageways are decorated with coffers, some of which are hexagons, which may indicate the influence of Italian architect Sebastian Serlio. The Sala de Profundis, or meditation room, contains well-preserved multichromatic murals which depict a large number of saints including a series of martyrs and a depiction of Saint Augustine. These images are in the process of restoration by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. In the south wing of the cloister there is an entrance to an underground area, which tradition says used to lead to Hernán Cortés’ house, but since destroyed. There is also a door that leads to the garden area, which grew food for the monks. Fruit trees bearing mangos, guavas, coffee, limes, oranges and plums and more still grow here. It is one of the few monasteries which still has its garden area, although it is greatly diminished. Missing from view are the kitchen area and latrines. It is thought that the Chapel of San José, now opening into the church, was originally the kitchen of the monastery. This chapel is known to have existed in this form at least since the 19th century. The monastery has an archive which dates back to the year 1600, which mostly records baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths of the local population. During the Mexican Revolution, this archive was sealed behind a wall in order to avoid its destruction. History The name Yecapixtla has been translated in a number of ways. Several sources claim that the name refers to the wearing of a stone called a “chalchuihite” through the nose, translating to “land of pierced noses.” This was indeed practiced in the area among pre-Hispanic governors as a sign of their status. This translation may come from documents written by Gutierrez de Lievana from 1580. The Aztec glyph of the area does show a pierced nose. The government of Morelos claims that the name translates to “land of gentle airs” referring to the calm weather and lack of strong winds. The glyph also contains a flying insect which could allude to this. However, the name is very close to the name of a god of commerce, Yacapitzauac, whose teocalli was the center of the pre-Hispanic settlement. This teocalli was destroyed by the Spanish and a church dedicated to John the Baptist put in its place. The eastern portion of what is now Morelos state had been settled since the Olmec period, and this culture controlled most of the area through the main settlement of Chalcatzingo. It is also known that groups of Chalcas and Xochimilcas passed through. Xochimilcas and Tlahuicas came to settle around 1325. Yecapixtla itself was established by a group of Xochimilcas. This same area of Morelos was conquered by Moctezuma I in 1440, and Yecapixtla became a tributary collection center for the Aztecs due to its strategic position in the basin of the Amatzinac River. The Aztecs called this settlement Tlalnahuac. During the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, a few months before the fall of Tenochtitlan, Spanish soldiers under Gonzalo de Sandoval came to Yecapixtla to conquer it. Sandoval arrived to the settlement from Huejotzingo (Huejotzingo (municipality)), bringing warriors from this place, which had been a traditional enemy of Yecapixtla. The battle between Spanish and local eagle warriors took place at the Xaplan ravine on 15 March 1521, and the town resisted the invaders fiercely. However, the warriors were unable to withstand the Spaniards’ superior weapons and the eagle warrior dynasty of this area was destroyed. The remaining warriors retreated from Yecapixtla permanently, but some went to Tenochtitlan to defend it. The victorious Spanish sacked, destroyed and killed many in the town. Yecapixtla lay in ruins, but Hernán Cortés had interest in it and the surrounding area because of the well-established tribute collection system and the land’s aptitude for fruit orchards. Cortés built a house in the town and laid claim to the area. However, the first colonial government in Mexico City gave the lands in the area to Diego de Olguín. Cortés left for Spain in 1529, making the area an encomienda called Tlalnahuac, which included fourteen communities including Yecapixtla. When Cortés returned from Spain, he carried a seal making him the Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, giving him possession of large swaths of land, including the Yecapixtla area and four others in Morelos. The Cortés family would keep these lands through the rest of the 16th century. Yecapixtla kept its function as a tribute collection center and became a commercial center, especially for the cattle trade. The first missionaries to the areas were the Franciscans, who arrived and built a small church in 1525. In the 1530s, they were replaced by the Augustinians. This order began to construct the monastery complex which remains to this day. It was mostly built over a period of five years, from 1535 to 1540, made possible by the income provided by the settlement’s status as a tribute collection center. The monastery and town was dedicated to John the Baptist. He was chosen because he is often depicted with a cloak, sandals and staff, much like the pre-Hispanic patron of the settlement, Yecapetzauac. After the monastery was built, it became a regional administrative center because of its location along a number of commercial routes. The town of Yecapixtla was reorganized around the monastery complex in 1550, into four neighborhoods: San Pablo, La Concepción, Santa Mónica and San Esteban, which still exist. These roughly correspond to the pre-Hispanic organization of the town, but it was much reduced in size due to population loss, especially on the south side. The town at that time was crisscrossed by arroyos (Arroyo (creek)) and ravines spanned by small bridges, especially around the monastery, but since then many have dried out and filled in. Depopulation continued at the end of the 16th and early 17th centuries, and the monastery’s importance diminished. By the end of this time, the monastery was all but abandoned, as Cuautla (Cuautla, Morelos) grew and became the regional center. In the 17th century, those who had land rights under what were called “primordial title” began to struggle with Spanish owned haciendas over surface water. Much of the land in the municipality is not suited for the growing of crops, but is instead suited for the raising of livestock, especially cattle. For this reason, the area’s industry in providing beef and dairy products such as cream and cheese began relatively early in the colonial period. Orchards established in the very early colonial period were still important. There was another period of depopulation in the 18th century when many residents went to work in haciendas in Cuautla and other areas in Morelos. In the 18th century, the Augustinians officially lost control of the monastery complex and the population to regular clergy in 1754. During this time, many of the popular religious festivals such as the Semana de San Juan (Week of Saint John) and Day of the Dead became established in the town and surrounding area, often encouraged by the new clergy. The development and growth of local religious festivals would continue through the rest of the colonial period and into the 19th century, through the establishment of brotherhoods (cofradías) dedicated to a particular saint or other religious element. Because of its strategic position between the Mexico City area and points south, armies associated with the Mexican War of Independence, Reform War and Mexican Revolution all passed through here. In 1810, Yecapixtla was part of the Jonacatepec municipality. It became an independent municipality in 1869. For a brief period in the late 19th century, Yecapixtla experienced a surge in economic development when a railway was built through connecting it to Mexico City through what is now the eastern panhandle of the State of Mexico. Electricity and telephone were introduced. During this time Evaristo Navo was the head clergyman in the area and is credited with a number of developments including a parish school, the installation of a church organ, with accompanying encouragement of musical training. He also installed the clock on the San Juan Bautista Church. One purpose of the parish school was to preserve and in some cases restitute old traditions which had been lost due to the Liberal reforms of the latter 19th century (Reform War). The school closed in 1911. Further attempts to keep older traditions alive were headed by Juventino Pineda Enriquez who created the “Misiones Culturales” (Cultural Missions). The town shrank again in population due to the Mexican Revolution, with men going off to fight and the remaining women and children dispersing, with some going to Mexico City. The war ruined the town’s economy and after the war, many families who had left never returned. After the war, agriculture returned when an ejido was established to the south of the town and slowly the town recovered. Development remained slow until the mid-20th century when new infrastructure such as the reestablishment of electricity and telephone, a new highway and a bank allowed for more economic contact with the outside. The new infrastructure attracted new residents. Public schools were opened in the 1930s and 1940s. An agricultural technical school was opened in 1972. The municipality As municipal seat, the town of Yecapixtla is the local governing authority for over 100 named communities which cover a territory of 192.33km2. - 030 Yecapixtla Yecapixtla -

Yecapixtla

'''Yecapixtla''' ( ) is a town and municipality (Municipalities of Mexico) located in the northeast of the state of Morelos in central Mexico. The town is home to one of the monastery complexes associated with the Monasteries on the Slopes of Popocatépetl World Heritage Site (Monasteries on the slopes of Popocatépetl). Yecapixtla is famously known for its tasty, high-quality beef, cecina (Cecina (meat)) (cured dry meat).

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