Category Archives: travel photography

Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico

Photo I shot at Dolores Hidalgo, in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico.

One of the many churches that stand since colonial times — many made with cantera stone, which create the delicate soft color. Also, tiles and other artistic expressions were used to decorate the facade of Mexican churches.

A town populated by talavera ceramic artisans.

While visiting Dolores, I always love to stroll at the local market, where fresh produce and prepared food is available. The outskirts of the town are populated with artisans who work 24/7 on the creation of pottery and home decor based on talavera ceramic. Although tourism is what nowadays is making Dolores stand, talavera ceramic is still by far the main reason Dolores thrive.

Located in Central Mexico, in Guanajuato state. 10 hour drive from the US-Mexico border — give or take.

cupuladoloresiglesiafinal

Advertisements

Mexico City’s main avenue

Photo I shot at Mexico City’s Reforma Avenue.

I did this long exposure photography while I was lying near where the cars passed in order to obtain this light effect.

Once an imperial boulevard during the times of the Second Mexican Empire led by Emperors Maximilian of Hapsburg and Carlotta of Belgium, today it is a financial and posh street. It has become the most important street in all of Mexico.

The independence column houses the remains of men and women who led the Mexican Independence War.

Commonly called the angel by Mexicans in general, in reality it’s the semi-nude Greek goddess of Victory.

Long Exposure in Mexico City. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.
Long Exposure in Mexico City. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.

Mexico City’s Alameda park.

Mobile Photo I shot at Mexico City’s downtown, in the Alameda park.

It is located within walking distance from the rest of Mexico City’s historic downtown — what was once the Mexica Aztec capital — and upscale Reforma Avenue. The Alameda has the Fine Arts Palace in its grounds, and posh hotels around it.

One of the oldest parks of Mexico City, it once went to a deplorable state for many decades (as with all forgotten urban jewels in the world). Just last year the Alameda was recovered to what it might have looked in its full glory during the last centuries.

The towering Latinoamericana Tower is the tallest building that stands in the downtown area of the Mexican capital — the reason — the dangerous marshy land in which the area is located. Once an island, the Aztec Mexica capital of Mexico Tenochtitlan was surrounded with water. Actually the Aztec Mexica streets were water causeways like in Venice, except for the few connecting roads to “mainland”. As the city sprawled, the marshy lands and Aztec ruins became the foundation for the new city. This part of the city can’t have tall buildings for that reason, and to have the Latinoamericana Tower standing there, already sustaining strong earthquakes like the one in 1985, is called by architects and engineers a feat.

But fate shall not be tempted, and so taller and shinier buildings are standing in Reforma Avenue (and still more being erected) away from the zone. One can walk from Alameda Park to the nation’s most famous avenue, locally known as Paseo de la Reforma, where more hotels, shops, malls, and monuments are located.


If you like history and places of Mexico, you may enjoy my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

Mexico City's Alameda Park. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Mexico City’s Alameda Park. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

A hill with stories of magic

Text and photos by Miguel Omaña.

In Southeast Mexico City’s huge valley there is a place cluttered with volcanoes, hills, forests, but also with strange stories since times of old.

Summit of the Sacromonte hill, with view of the snowy volcanoes and the town of Amecameca, Mexico. Copyright 2011 Miguel Omaña. Summit of the Sacromonte hill, with view of the snowy volcanoes and the town of Amecameca, Mexico. Copyright 2011 Miguel Omaña.

The Sacromonte, a magnet to stories of magic.

Although many towns are sprinkled below the active Popocatepetl volcano, one stands as the to-go town, Amecameca. Not only roads intersect there, but it seems to be in the middle of the area, with hotels, restaurants, and farmers’ market. To the west of the small town of Amecameca there’s a hill. Now crowned with a church and a cemetery from Colonial times, it used to be a magnet for stories involving the magical — the Sacromonte.

Geographical names in Mexico give you a hint of what happened there.

Sacromonte means in Spanish Sacred Hill, and the name gives us clues of its importance. In Mexico, the names of geographical places carry a clue of the place. Many hills are named for whatever was there, for example the Peñon De Los Baños — The Boulder of the Baths — refers to the hill where the Mexica Aztec rulers used to have their spa and baths installations (nowadays Mexico City’s airport radar can be seen there). In this case, the purpose of this hill was its sacredeness. In ancient times the hill was called Chalchiuhmomoztli.

View of the Sacromonte hill, and what lies below, still surrounded by crops. Copyright 2011 Miguel Omaña. View of the Sacromonte hill, and what lies below, still surrounded by crops. Copyright 2011 Miguel Omaña.

A mysterious temple that guarded magical waters.

In the Sacromonte Chalchiumomoztli Hill  a temple standing probably where the European church now stands. The mysterious temple guarded magical waters that gave powers to the Olmeca Xicallanca people, original inhabitants of the area, before they were pushed to the other side of the volcanoes. Those powers involved transforming themselves into animals or rain.

Iztaccihuatl Volcano as seen from the Sacromonte hill. Below the town of Amecameca, Mexico. Copyright 2011 Miguel Omaña. Iztaccihuatl Volcano as seen from the Sacromonte hill. Below the town of Amecameca, Mexico. Copyright 2011 Miguel Omaña.

A magical arrow that burned magical waters.

There is another story where Atonaltzin, a Totolimpaneca warrior and chieftain shot an arrow to the spring of this magical water and the water burned and only to disappear. This seems to have been the end of those magical waters that, if stories are accurate, once flowed from this hill.

Shapeshifters in Mexico are known as Nahuales.

In other places stories exist of people transforming into animals, wind, rain, and other weather elements. Some of these stories are recounted as being literal, while other stories may be metaphorical. Nowadays, in modern Mexico, these shapeshifters are called Nahual (plural Nahuales). While some contend this are metaphorical stories that invite us to an inner understand of ourselves, others claim they have seen or hear Nahuales still to our days.


If you like stories from Ancient Mexico, you may enjoy my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.