St. James (Santiago), Cuilapan, Oaxaca, 16th Century
The Dominican monastery of Santiago, Cuilapan, was founded in 1550. Construction on a grand scale continued over the next 30 years, then stopped before the church was completed. Whether the sudden interruption occurred for economic, political or structural reasons, the church remains unfinished to this day. A three-aisled open chapel (referred to as the Basilica) replaced the ramada of the original capilla de indios. It once sported a wooden roof, but is now open to the sky. The monastery, now a museum, has an elegant two storied cloister.