San Martín Obispo, Alfajayucan, Hidalgo, 16th Century
This small Franciscan church and monastery complex was founded in 1558 along with the establishment of the surrounding town. Actual construction on the present church took place some time after 1570; the church was complete by 1586. Like the monastery at Ixmiquilpan, Alfajayucan was an outpost of Christianized Otomís under attack by Chichimeca forces.
The church facade is austere to the point of severity. Carved coffers bordering the portal and choir window are the only decorative elements to soften the expanse of ashlar stonework. The interior, equally simple in line, has a barrel vault and a Neo-Classical altar.
The remains of the monastery lie on the north of the church, and inside the cloister is a magnificent stone cross that once stood in the atrium. This cross is carved front and back, and even under the arms, with the Instruments of Christ's Passion.