Clock on top of Oaxaca’s Cathedral has stopped ticking after three centuries

The old clock placed at the top of the southern part of the Cathedral of Oaxaca has stopped ticking for reasons unknown at this time.

The hands of the clock are paralyzed and the sound of its bells, as well as the music that gave the time to the Oaxacans, fell silent and it is unknown if they will be heard again.

The clock is three centuries old and was donated by the Crown of Spain to Antequera Oaxaca. 

Faithful Catholics who attend the religious services that take place in the precinct located in front of the Alameda de León, as well as people close to the temple, say that the person who wound the clock went away and nobody else knows how to do it, that’s why it stopped working.

However, the more likely version of events is that time has taken its toll and it’s time for some tender loving care to bring back its bells to Oaxaca.

People still remember when there was not so much noise in the city, the chimes of the clock and the musical notes of the “parish hour”, were heard in the neighborhoods and colonies, something that was gradually disappearing, due to the bustle that now exists in the capital city.

Don Manuel mentioned that the clock is cataloged as a colossal piece and property of the temples on a universal level. In addition to being part of the usual catalog of cathedral clocks, “although it has been for many years, its historical value is not appreciated”.


According to a publication of the Casa de la Cultura Oaxaqueña (CCO), written by Efrén Díaz Cervantes, there are two versions about the date of placement of the Cathedral clock: the first one, from the historian Don Ángel Taracena, who in his Oaxacan Ephemeris, he says that this happened in the year of 1735. The second version is by Don Andrés Portillo, in his book Oaxaca in the Centennial of Independence, he indicates the date of placement of the clock was in 1752.

However, it is mentioned that in a stonework box where the cover is placed, is written with a chisel or painted “1735”. This confirms what was written by Taracena that the clock was placed two years after the Cathedral was consecrated and it was a gift from King Felipe V of Spain, who for the second time reigned from 1724 to 1746.

About the author

This article was written by Ian Hayden Parker, Oaxaca Life staff writer, the leading source for English news in Oaxaca, Mexico.

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