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Templo y Convento de San Juan de Dios — Oaxaca City, Oaxaca

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Colonial Church     (B)
The first Catholic church ever built in the city, a makeshift structure of mud-brick walls and straw roof, was erected on this site in 1521. A short time later, a new and what was thought to be permanent church, constructed of brick walls and tile roof, was built to replace it. The brick church stood for over a hundred years until an earthquake in 1662 leveled it. Construction on a new church, along with a monastery and a hospital, got underway in 1699 and was completed a short four years later, in 1703. This one survived for over a hundred and fifty years, a fire destroying it in 1864.

Construction on the present church began a few years later and was completed in 1896. Though unique among churches in the city for its trapezoid-shaped wooden roof, the church is best known for its large 17th-century oil paintings, which line the walls and the angled lengths of the ceiling, depicting scenes from the life of Christ and famous events in the religious life of Oaxaca.

Located a couple of blocks south of the Zócalo, the area around the church is commercial, gritty, the streets lined with vendor stalls and storefronts, including the Mercado Benito Juárez to the north, an entire block of vendor stalls selling just about any item imaginable, and the Mercado 20 de Noviembre to the southeast, with dozens of food stalls serving traditional Oaxacan cuisine.

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