Thursday Doors: Grand Doors

The colonial era of Mexico, when it was known as La Nueva España or New Spain, stretched on for 300 years, from the 16th century into the 19th. During this period, the Spanish destroyed many of the original sacred temples and religious sites, replacing them with buildings that reflected the style of architecture found in Spain.

Examples of its colonial past can be found all over the city of Oaxaca. Many of these buildings have been restored and are still in use today, the churches providing daily services, and monasteries and mansions repurposed as museums, galleries, shops, and hotels. Sadly, other colonial buildings are crumbling, victims of time and neglect (not to mention several substantial earthquakes that have rattled the city over the years).

Grand buildings often have grand entrances. This week’s Thursday Doors post features some of the doors leading to Oaxaca’s colonial history.

Behind the doors of Iglesia de Santo Domingo, a wedding ceremony is just about to conclude. The performers are waiting for the doors to open so the celebration – often lasting well into the night, and even into the next day – can begin.

The Basilica de la Senora de Soledad  – built between 1682 and 1690 – featured grand doors leading to other grand doors.

A side door of the Templo de San Matías Jalatlaco. I was tempted to remove the little white sign before I took this picture, but was afraid I’d be struck by lightning.

This church was rather simple compared to many of the huge stone churches in Oaxaca, but that’s probably why I liked it so much… that and its lovely iron gate.

The magnificent Teatro Macadonio Alcala hosts performances ranginging from operas to plays and classical concerts. My husband and I attended a performance of Madama Butterfly, which is set in Japan, live-streamed from the Met in New York, sung in Italian with Spanish subtitles. What a world.

Thursday Doors is a link-up of fellow door aficionados generously hosted by Norm Frampton. Head over to his blog to view all the amazing doors he and others have posted.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

68 thoughts on “Thursday Doors: Grand Doors”

  1. Love, love, love these photos — especially the opening one.
    So cool that you can see the building through the red heart!
    Wishing you and Paul a safe and happy holiday season.
    Now back to my blogging break! 😀

      1. I read Pillars of the Earth and was astounded at the engineering that the old stone buildings had considering the time frame. They didn’t have mechanical tools to help them design.

  2. I had to read this twice: “set in Japan, live-streamed from the Met in New York, sung in Italian with Spanish subtitles.”
    What a world indeed – and such ornate doors here

  3. Another beautiful collection, Janis. If I wouldn’t know better I’d think you returned to Oaxaca just to take photographs of doors. 🙂 I like the “simple” church the most as well. And, that red heart in the first picture almost looks like it’s painted on the church and the guy in front is leaning on a walking stick instead of holding the heart…

    1. Thank you, Liesbet! You are right about the doors being a big attraction when we travel to Mexico. I went back to look at the first picture again and it does kind of look like that. I hope you, Mark, and Maya are enjoying the holiday season wherever you are.

    1. That is so true. I like some modern architecture, but often the stark, clean lines are just boring. Most grand buildings built long ago would be too expensive to construct today. Thank goodness many of them are being restored and preserved. As Joni Mitchell wrote, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

  4. Some stunning shots indeed. Thanks for sharing these Janis. And thanks for being a part of our quirky little club of door nerds 😉
    Happy Holidays and all the best for 2020!

  5. Beautiful doors Janis, I feel the same way about ‘things that don’t belong’ in my photographs. There are a lot of easy to use editing programs out there to correct that in the future. Regardless, the doors are still beautiful. I’m woefully ignorant regarding this region of Mexico and only know what you teach, so please continue to educate. The vibrancy of the colors alone make me want to visit.

    1. Hi Suzanne! I’ve used editing programs to remove objects but I don’t always want to put in the time for these types of posts… maybe I should (can you say lazy? 🙂 ). I always learn a bit more about Mexico’s history every time we visit, and I know I have just scratched the surface. It has a rich and fascinating culture and I’m glad that we live close enough that getting there – even to the central area – is pretty easy.

  6. I’m glad you’re showing more from your trip. How fun that you caught the festivities with a wedding. My niece married a Mexican-American, and their wedding was an amazing celebration with the Jewish part definitely taking a back seat to the Mexican traditions! I agree that the older architecture is something to behold. And, yes, they probably wouldn’t build anything like them today. – Marty

    1. The Mexican wedding celebrations that we saw were fabulous! I loved how they spilled onto the streets and we onlookers could enjoy the festivities (if not the free-flowing mezcal that was being dispensed to the actual guests). I’ve been to a few crazy Jewish weddings too… lots of dancing and the bride and groom being held aloft on chairs.

  7. The blending of architecture with local styles can create wonderful new varieties! And trying to replicate what worked in one world in another sometime creates funny or out-of-place results (even Frank Lloyd Wright noticed that!).

    I really like how your photos captured layers of different styles: the entrance in one style, the sides in another, in your first photo I count 3!

    And good thinking not risking being struck by lightening 😉

    1. I thought it was best not to remove the sign… who knows who put it up? Your comment about blending architectural styles reminds me of the blending of religious beliefs. So many of the traditions and rituals that the indigenous people had before the Spaniards arrived were incorporated into the Catholic rituals still being observed today.

  8. Hi Janis! I love looking at all your photos (and doors) from Oaxaca because they bring back so many good memories for us when we visited a few years ago. It really is a wonderful city and you’re making me want to return!!! ~Kathy

  9. Your grand doors are a fitting subject this time of year, Janis. I wish you and your husband great health and happiness, as the door opens on a new year and decade.

  10. Love this collection of doors, Janis!
    I’ve been a bit MIA with cruising and the holidays…hope this finds you well and you enjoyed a happy Christmas.
    Now on to the New Year!!!

  11. What beautiful doors, Janis. It’s amazing to think how much work goes into just the doorway of a building. Thanks for sharing them with us. Happy 2020!

  12. I really love the Thursday doors idea. I always thought I was the only one with this obsession, nice to know their are others out there. You have some great examples here.

  13. Interesting and beautiful photos, Janis! You share a part of the world I will likely never see. The performance of Madama Butterly sounds surreal, a once in a lifetime concert. Thank you for sharing this part of the world through your eyes and your lens.

  14. These doors are definitely grand. Don’t you love Thursday doors? Everyone comes up with fantastic examples of the humble door. Thanks for sharing.

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