Meet the Cypress of Santa María del Tule in Oaxaca
Some people say that wisdom is measured by sage words, wrinkles and white hair. That means that those who have lived the longest know better. If so, the Tule tree, found in the state of Oaxaca, is a very wise Montezuma cypress or ahuehuete tree (meaning “old man of the water” in Nahuatl) whose bark holds a leafiness of branches, folds and rings that represent more than two thousand years of life! It is, therefore, one of the oldest known trees in the world, apart from being one of the widest with its 58 meters diameter (190 feet) and its height of 42 meters (137 feet).
Where is the Tule Tree Located?
The Tule is the main character in the atrium of Santa María de la Asuncion’s Church located in Santa María del Tule, the town after which it was named. When you stand before the tree you can feel a special vibe that is almost magical and that flows through your lungs penetrating your soul. It gives you a sense of communion with nature and with the millions of people who have visited that place throughout history. While admiring it, it is impossible not to think about how many people of different times and ages have been sheltered under its shadow and embraced by its branches; how many lives have passed before it. The names of Spanish conquerors, national revolutionists, Mexican Independence heroes, celebrities and even ancient relatives belonging to our own genealogy cross our minds making us reflect on the value of life.
Interesting Facts About the Tule Tree
If you like photography, we recommend that you take a wide-angle lens with you because this “sir” is not easily photographed. Its height and width make it impossible to capture it in one single shot unless, of course, you have the right lens or you make several partial shots in order to create some kind of puzzle of the whole image.
The locals say that this natural sage is still growing, and so they have decided to protect it by building a fence around it that will safeguard it for future generations. Close to it, in the same atrium, you can find the “not so small” son of the Tule. This “young” fellow is over a thousand years old and it is also growing, so it is possible that we will see it accumulate wrinkles and rings like its dad while it witnesses the changes throughout history.
What To Visiti in Santa María del Tule
Apart from the tree, don’t forget to visit Santa María de la Asunción’s Church. Even though it is not as old as the ahuehuete, it has accumulated its share of decades since it dates back to the seventeenth century.
Outside the atrium, we recommend that you go shopping to the nearby crafts market. You’ll find beautiful typical dresses and shirts with colorful embroidery and elegant Mexican designs.
Finally, make a toast for the Tule’s longevity at one of the local bars where they sell the most famous alcoholic beverage in Oaxaca: mezcal.–it’s elaborated with agave juice. You can have tastings at the local stores where they sell all its different varieties including coconut, coffee, Jamaica flower and vanilla flavors, among others.