We bumped into a group of kiwis travelling through Mexico and they only had two full days to spend in San Cristobal De Las Casas. See the best of San Cristobal in 2 days.
Churches of San Cristobal De Las Casas
I haven’t been able to find out why there are so many churches in such a small area but it is one of the features of San Cristobal DLC. We have visited most of the churches in town, often by accident. They are hard to avoid since the seem to be en route to wherever you are planning to go. Unfortunately for us many of them were closed for renovations because of the earthquake last year. But they still had pretty murals on the safety walls surrounding the church.
Typical of the churches that are in use are chandeliers to light the church and fresh bouquets of flowers throughout. In any of the churches are many statues of various saints or versions of Mother Mary or Jesus. Some also have supporting characters.
Iglesia means church and templo means temple
The Cathedral of San Cristobal
This cathedral is in the centre of town and has a large square in front of it which hosts night markets. This one is famous for it’s beautiful colours and intricate designs.
Templo De Santo Domingo and Ex-Convent
This church with it’s attached ex convent is my favourite. I’m not embarrassed to say that it’s not because of the church but because of the amazing markets right outside. These markets have hand-made authentic indigenous crafts and clothing from the surrounding areas. There was so much selection I wanted to constantly shop. Fortunately or unfortunately, luggage restrictions meant I could only be a few items.
The design on the outside is beautiful and we did have access to the inside through a side entry. Most of the interior was covered with sheets as part of it’s restoration so we only glimpsed some of the ornate designs underneath.
Templo De San Francisco
This church is one of the few that is actively used. Many of the churches are now museums or closed for restoration due to last years earthquake.
Iglesia De Guadalupe
High on one of the hills in San Cristobal sits the Guadalupe church where pilgrims from all over Chiapas and beyond journey to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the 12th of December. These pics were taken during the festivities. It is not usually this busy or festive looking outside of festival seasons. Along with the decorations were lots of big bangs from, I want to say fireworks, but it was more like dynamite going off. It is said to accentuate their prayers making their prayers louder.
The crucifix with Jesus on it had His loin cloth a bright orange material befitting the festive mood.
Iglesia De San Cristobal
Higher up on another hill sits the Church of San Cristobal. Because we are 2200 metres above sea level the climb up these stairs made me a breathless sooner than I expected. There were murals all along the walls as we walked up the stairs.
It was a cool crisp December air up on top of the hill and a panoramic view of town and inside the church the sacristy is hidden by Christmas decorations. On the left a makeshift waterfall leads to the baptismal font.
Other churches we came across
On the left is Templo De San Augustin on Calle Insurgentes, close to the artisan markets, out of action due to restoration.
In the middle is Templo De Santa Lucia, very close to Templo De San Augustin and also on Insurgentes. It was out of action due to a restoration project, as with most of the churches in the city. However, this one had a side room open where parishioners could still celebrate mass as well as other church functions.
On the perimeter of the city, where the historical city ends, is the Iglesia De San Diego. The flags are put up during a festive season such as Christmas.
Our Glimpse of Chiapas
Houses and Streets of San Cristobal De Las Casas
One can’t visit San Cristobal De Las Casas and not be enamoured by the cobblestone streets, the decorated homes and the variety of colour. We were so enchanted we took loads of photos!
The Cobblestone Streets
Lots of uniquely paved streets. There are so many tantalising visuals in San Cristobal that it’s easy to miss but definitely taking the time to notice. These roads were not made for the amount of people using them every day so ninety percent of them are one way streets that allow for parking on one side of the road.
Notice that the pavement is also very narrow which keeps things interesting when you are passing people. Often someone gives way by walking on the street. Or if there is a lot of traffic then we squeeze past each other carefully.
We did have an incident where Giselle was carrying Lui and slipped off one of the high curbs onto the road. Fortunately the group passing us called out to the police car that was driving past to stop. The police car’s tyre stopped an inch short of running over her foot. The police car waited, holding up traffic behind them (an offence to many drivers in SCDLC), to check if we were all ok. Once I’d picked up Lui and she was on her feet and walking again, after the shock, the police drove on.
The Colourful Homes
We love the variety of colours that are used and we notice many people are regularly up-keeping their place by calling on painters for a spruce up or to re-varnish doors.
There are so many beautiful and interesting murals decorating walls in unsuspecting places. Some are down quiet streets, some are in run down areas to keep the place looking well maintained. Many of them are tagged with the artist’s instagram or facebook profile.
The Adornmants on the Buildings
To add to the interesting features of the streets, there are beautiful adornments such as pretty light fixtures or balconies, nicely framed doors or windows, pot plants lined up on walls or designs carved into the wall.