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Towering over the main plaza at Chiapa de Corzo, in northern Chiapas, this magnificent brick fountain is one of the most spectacular 16th century monuments in Mexico. Completed in 1562, it is a prime example of the hispano-moorish, or mudéjar, style of early colonial architecture in the New World.

The octagonal structure, now painstakingly restored, is formed entirely of orange bricks, many of them custom shaped for decorative effect. Flying buttresses brace the eight arcaded sides of the fountain, which is roofed by a great round dome. From its apex, brick courses radiate downwards in ever widening circles, creating a visually stunning and structurally powerful pattern.

Ornamental brickwork in the form of diamond reliefs around the fountain add to the rich surface texture and cast constantly changing shadows in the play of tropical sunlight.

Other colonial monuments of note in Chiapa de Corzo include the Dominican priory of Santo Domingo and the hilltop church of San Sebastian.

Late January is a good time to visit Chiapa de Corso. The town explodes with color and movement during the feast of St. Sebastian, when exuberant masked dancers fill the streets.

for more on the colonial buildings of Chiapas consult our guidebook: More Maya Missions

Chiapas map

Zoque missions