Earliest 16th-Century Monasteries on the Slopes of Popocatepetl

Earliest 16th-Century Monasteries on the Slopes of Popocatepetl

The Monasteries on the slopes of Popocatépetl World Heritage Site are fourteen 16th century monasteries which were built by the Augustinians, the Franciscans and the Dominicans in order to evangelize the areas south and east of the Popocatépetl volcano in central Mexico. These monasteries were recognized by UNESCO in 1994, because they served as the model for the early monastery and church buildings as well as evangelization efforts in New Spain and some points beyond in Latin America. These monasteries almost uniformly feature a very large atrium in front of a single nave church with an capilla abierta or open chapel. The atrium functioned as the meeting point between the indigenous peoples and the missionary friars with mass for the newly converted held outdoors instead of within the church. This arrangement can be found repeated in other areas of Mexico as these friars continued to branch out over New Spain.

The fourteen monasteries are open to visitors, with eleven located in northern Morelos State and three in Puebla state. The eleven in Morelos are also promoted as the “Route of the Volcano” or the “Route of the Monasteries” for tourism purposes.

Outline
The Monasteries on the slopes of Popocatépetl World Heritage Site are fourteen 16th century monasteries which were built by the Augustinians, the Franciscans and the Dominicans in order to evangelize the areas south and east of the Popocatépetl volcano in central Mexico.

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