Monday, November 27, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: INAH says damages so far total more than 30 million dollars

INAH, Mexico's Institute of Anthropology and History, says that, so far, damages to historic sites, many supposedly protected by UNESCO as International Heritage Sites, will supercede 30 million dollars. The heaviest damage was to a house at 5 de Mayo and Morelos which was built in the 19th century. INAH says the house is fundamentally unsalvageable as a historic site. INAH said the house can be rebuilt, but all of its historic value has been lost.

INAH says that it will need more time to determine the extent of the damage, especially to the federal and state courts buildings, because of the massive number of documents that were stored in both sites that date from the 16th through the 19th centuries.

Think about that a minute you readers up there in Gringolandia. The 16th century. We have no documents stored in the United States dating back to the 16th Century, unless they be found in St. Augustine, and I doubt even there. From the 17th century we have a few, but only in a small number of cities along the east coast. From the 18th century we have a lot, but not much west of the Cumberland Gap. From the 19th century documents would begin to appear from our inexorable march to the west. But by the 19th century, say, 1830, they had been storing documents here in Oaxaca for 300 years. That may help you to put these terrible losses in some perspective.

When you start talking about losses of documents dating back to the 1500's, I don't think anyone, not INAH not UNESCO, can put a monetary value on such damage. Damage and losses like this are irreparable and irreplaceable. What's more, wall frescoes in many of the buildings were also damaged. These frescoes were painted beginning in the late 1500's through today, as this particular form of wall decoration is still quite popular.

INAH says it has launched a detailed damage assessment that will take a long time to complete. And then, of course, will come the problem of finding the money to repair and rehabilitate historic buildings, paintings and documents. In Oaxaca, Mexico, 30 million dollars is a whole lot of money.

INAH says that between 700 and 800 buildings have been damaged from one extent to another, from grafitti that must be covered or removed to completely gutted by fire. In mid-October INAH had estimated damage at 2-3 million dollars so you can see how this disaster has escalated in just the past few weeks.

Please visit the Pale Horse Galleries online store
for art, gifts and collectibles -- all hand made
by Mexican indigenous artists.

TAGS: , , ,

No comments: