Strolling through the streets of Comitán is like returning to a time full of color while inhaling the sweet fragrance of its gardens and flowers. It is a city that has stood the test of time through centuries of history. Don’t miss the famous neighborhood “Siete Esquinas” or “Seven Corners”, one with its very own personality where many facets of traditional Comitecan culture are still preserved.
Comitán de Domínguez – the land of free expression and cradle of the Independence of Chiapas and Central America. The city of Comitán is 163 kilometers from the state capital of Chiapas, Tuxtla Gutiérrez and 90 kilometers from the border of Guatemala, connected through the Pan-American Highway No. 190. It has a template climate with rains in summer. To the north, it neighbors Amatenango del Valle and Las Rosas; to the west Socoltenango and Tzimol; to the south La Trinitaria; to the northeast La Independencia, Las Margaritas and Chanal. Comitán is located at the edges of the central high plateau and central depression. It has a semi-flat terrain with some elevation especially in the north and south. The vegetation corresponds mostly to pine-oak forest.
This is the place where the Act of Independence of Chiapas was signed in 1824 and the birthplace of Dr. Belisario Domínguez, an illustrious politician who fought for the freedom of expression. He was, however, assassinated by the dictator Victoriano Huerta in 1913. This area is known for its talabartería (leather workshops), aquifers and plains that extend between the hills of the region. It is a beautiful city constructed on a rocky hill, surrounded by rolling fields.
Comitán was founded in 1566 by Pedro Portocarrero. Its colonial architecture attracts visitors; these include the Santo Domingo, San Caralampio, San José, San Sebastián churches and the Dr. Belisario Domínguez Museum and the Rosario Castellanos Cultural Centre. Comitán was a Mayan city called “Balún Canan” which means “nine stars or guardians”.
It was renamed “Comitlán”, which in Náhuatl means “place of earthenware”, around the same time it was under the control of the Aztecs. Today, it is called Comitán de Domínguez in honor of Dr. Belisario Domínguez, a doctor and politician who was assassinated in 1913 due to his frank opposition of the seizure of the presidency by Victoriano Huerta. Among its attractions nearby include the Montebello Lakes National Park, archeological sites such as Tenam Puente and Chinkultik, “El Chiflon” waterfalls, Santa María Museum-Parador and Colón Lakes. Comitán is about 80 kilometers from the border with Guatemala.
Comitán offers tourists high-quality services, making it a favorable destination to spend several pleasant days exploring this corner of the state of Chiapas. The central square of Comitán, known as the “Parque Central”, is lovely with its tiered platforms and combination of benches, trees and sculptures. It also has a fountain on the west side. Immediately after the main block, you can find diverse points of interests such as the Santo Domingo church, Rosario Castellanos Cultural Center, Dr. Belisario Domínguez Museum, Junchavín City Theater, a wooden shopping arcade with its unique style in brown that holds a great number of shops, and the Municipal building.
You must wander the streets of Comitán to discover and enjoy its restaurants, churches and other points of interest. Moreover, the shops selling local artisanal product complement the exceptional architecture.
Museum of Sacred Art
The museum is located in grounds of the Santa María Museum-Parador, which in turn is located along the Mayan Route of the frontier region of Chiapas. It is 10 kilometers from the Chinkultik archeological zone and 13 kilometers from the colorful Montebello Lakes.
The building dates from the 19th century. It was given a facelift, restored and decorated with furniture and works of art of past centuries to create an evocative and exclusive ambient. This museum brings together a magnificent collection of art form the 16th to 19th centuries. A cultural space, here you can appreciate paintings, sculptures and precious-metal craftwork, as well as art from renowned European and Mexican artists, and plastic arts painters of colonial Chiapas
Additionally, you can see beautiful pieces carved in marble from the 17th and 18th century, sculptures that are live reminiscence of the past, enchanting objects from the Manila Galleon which landed in Veracruz bringing treasures that are today a great heritage.
Museum of Sacred Art of the Santa María Museum-Parador opened its doors to the public with the purpose of spreading the values of universal, national and Chiapanecan culture.
Rosario Castellanos Cultural Centre
Complementing the wooden arcades along the south and west, the stone arches of this building that today houses the cultural center was once barracks and a school. Built in the 1930s where a Dominican convent once stood, it somewhat preserves a monarchial peace inside, along its orange patios where you find the bust of Rosario Castellanos.
It has a marimba and traditional textile workshop. There are two great masterpieces here – the first, a mural which narrates the history of Comitán and the lives of its most colorful figures painted by Rafael Muñoz López. The other is “El Juguetón”, homage to popular Mexican toys and games. Inside this beautiful cultural space, you can also admire the Archeological Museum of Comitán that exhibits pieces from Mayan culture. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:00AM to 5:00PM.
House Museum of Belisario Domínguez
The home the Domínguez family is an example of typical mansions in Comitán in the 19th century. Its façade features an entranceway with a doorknocker in the shape of the Hand of Fatima and elegant balconies. Its interior patio is lovely and gives you a taste of the city. In its time, the house was bigger, but today the part of the home that is preserved recreates the private life of Dr. Belisario Domínguez.
His daughter, Madam Hermilla Domínguez de Castellanos, donated a large collection of the objects in this museum, which was inaugurated in 1985. It owes its museography to Hilda Castañón Morell. Through its six halls, you can learn about the life and work of this illustrious martyr of free speech.
The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00AM to 7:00PM and Sundays 9:00AM to 12:00PM.
Hermila Domínguez Castellanos Art Museum
Inaugurated in 1988 by Francisco Toledo and Gunther Gerzso, this museum has a permanent exhibition of art by plastic arts Mexican artists comparable to Rufino Tamayo. Temporary exhibitions of artwork from regional art schools are also organized. Its doors open from Monday to Friday from 9:00AM to 7:00PM.