Only 11 kms. from Oaxaca city, by the highway which heads to the Istmo de Tehuantepc, is located a small village named Santa Maria del Tule.
This Zapotec town of the Central Valleys posses a witness of the history of this beautiful spot: El Tule tree.
The first glance of the town is a picturesque garden next to the town hall and the church. The garden itself is a sense's full filler; It’s an harmonic square decorated with amazing flowers and plants.
Just few steps from the square, an amorphous shape rapidly draws the attention: el Tule tree. As I get closer, the giant millenarian seems to increase its brownish trunk. Its common name is Ahuehute or Sabino (Taxodium Mucronatum) and it's more than 2000 years old. Something pretty amazing is its thickness: 58 meters. It has 14.05 meters in the diameter and 42 meters high.
This slow growing specie of tree is characterized by forming capricious shapes in its branches and trunk: local people have found a lion’s head, a deer's head, a crocodile, an inverted Christ, and, the funniest one, Olga Briskin's butt in Spanish for Latin tourists or Monica Lewinsky's butt in English for Americans, Canadians, British, etc.
There are many typical restaurants and handcrafts stores surrounding the block where the tree and the church are. There are rugs from Teotitlan, textiles from the central Valleys, black pottery from San Bartolo Coyotepec, Mezcal, and souvenirs.
The temple of Santa Maria del Tule dates back to the XVII century. In 1630 Bernabe de Cobo mentioned the place in the Spanish Diary and also, in 1776, Francisco Ajofrin mentioned the town, the church and the tree.
In the main altar there is the image of the patron virgin of the town, Virgen de la Asuncion. In other altar the Passion of Christ is represented in Barroque-Salomonic style. All the altars or "Retablos" are covered by 3 1/2 gold carat.
This quiet town is a must for tourists who desire to know one more piece of the complex cultural and natural mosaic of Oaxaca state.
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