19 | JUL | 2019
Tlayacapan: A once magical town in the state of Morelos
At the portico of the church, however, a bleak sight reminds visitors that the earthquake of September 19, 2017, took its toll in the state of Morelos - Photo: David Morales/EL UNIVERSAL in English

Tlayacapan: A once magical town in the state of Morelos

18/09/2018
17:16
Newsroom/EL UNIVERSAL in English
Mexico City
David Morales & Sofía Danis/EL UNIVERSAL in English
-A +A
At the portico of the church, a bleak sight reminds visitors that the earthquake of September 19, 2017, took its toll in this magical town too

Surrounded by majestic green mountains, Tlayacapan was once a small Olmec settlement that stood next to a stream. Before the Spaniards came, the small town was very important for the Aztecs’ commercial activity, since it served as a link between the great city of Tenochtitlan and the peoples of the South.

During the conquest, the people of Tlayacapan fought against the army of Hernán Cortés and won. However, shortly after he took Tenochtitlan, Cortés subjected all of the surrounding villages, including Tlayacapan.

Despite its long history, the village distribution has changed very little since ancient times. The Spaniards built the Convent of St. John the Baptist in 1534 over an ancient pyramid or Teocalli. Next to the pyramid, the Olmecs built a town center (Tecpan) that has now become a municipal center. In the main square, there was a marketplace (Tiankixtle) spread across a long gallery that has continued to serve that purpose to this date.

On the pebbled streets of the town center, indigenous vendors can still be heard having conversations in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. A small stream runs across the village while the mountain range offers an unforgettable view. Clay pottery, handicrafts, and hand-made clothing are some of the high-quality products that local artisans sell to tourists.

At the portico of the church, however, a bleak sight reminds visitors that the earthquake of September 19, 2017, took its toll in the state of Morelos too: The temple ceiling has fallen off, and a relentless crack has split the façade in two. The municipal center, which is the oldest city hall in the country, has been closed down for obvious reasons: The centuries-old building is on the brink of collapse.

Local authorities are working on underpinning the building structure to stop it from falling down, but there are very few chances of succeeding without proper financing. Hundreds of houses were also affected by the natural disaster and many people were left without a home. 

Last year, Mexico was struck by two devastating earthquakes, an 8.2-magnitude quake on Thursday, September 7, followed by a 7.1-magnitude quake on Tuesday, September 19.

While most of Mexico City was woken up just before midnight to the 8.2 quake without major consequences,  the tragedy was to be told in Southeastern Mexico, particularly Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Tabasco.

Twelve days later, over 12 million people experienced a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit central Mexico. Its epicenter was located just 120km from Mexico City in the limits between neighboring states of Puebla and Morelos.

Veracruz, Guerrero, Tlaxcala, Oaxaca, Hidalgo, Mexico City, State of Mexico, and both Puebla and Morelos, were the most affected states by the quake.

Located only two hours Southwest of Mexico City, Tlayacapan preserves the beauty and traditions that place it once as a Magical Town.

To encourage economic reactivation in the Magical Town, some restaurants such as Mil Amores Tlayacapan participated in the Electronic Summer Festival Morelos, the first electronic music festival at the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS)’s vacation center, Oaxtepec last month.

Hotels such as La Renacuaja served as a local shelter and a donation collection center receiving thousands of supplies including water, batteries, medicine, food and canned goods.

The sun still rises between the hills next to the fields, unveiling a Magical Town arising from the debris, as steel rods, masonry debris, and wooden logs have become part of the landscape in some spots in Tlayacapan, a constant reminder that tragedies are painful, but also an opportunity.

sg
 

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