Just a few kilometres outside of the city of Oaxaca is a pleasant little village by the name of Santa Maria del Tule. The village might well have remained almost unknown apart from to its own inhabitants if it weren’t for one world record that it holds. Located in the church grounds next to the town hall stands a Montezuma Cypress tree of simply enormous dimensions. The total circumference has been measured at 42.0 m (138 ft) with a height of 35 m (116 ft). At first glance it’s hard to take in the sheer size of this magnificient tree and you may well find it difficult to take any kind of photo that represents its true structure – many have tried!
Perhaps even more astounding is the age of the tree. This has confounded locals and scientists alike with estimates ranging between 1200 and 3000 years, and even one claim of 6000 years. Whatever the truth of this may be it’s difficult not to feel a profound reverence for this outstanding example of nature.
El Arbol del Tule – the Tule Tree
Whilst in the village of Santa Maria del Tule you may well want to admire the town hall and church. These are a feature of almost every Oaxacan village, however lowly, usually done with typical Mexican charm and a slight overstatement considering the number of inhabitants or size of the village. Also to one side of the Tule tree is one of her daughters, dwarfed by the size of her mother but still an impressive tree and worthy of a quick visit.
Santa Maria’s “palacio municipal” or town hall