Simplicity has no room within this
novo-Hispanic architectonic jewel of ancient Mexico. Its imposing
70-metre high belfries, the tallest in Latin America, and the delicate
angels and cherubs seemingly yearning to fly off the iron grids,
are a brief anticipation of the fulsomeness and exquisiteness of
this magnificent religious precinct, the second largest in the country.
Designed by Francisco de Becerra and Juan de Cigorondo, its construction
was a long and intermittent process that started in 1575 and ended
in 1649, being consecrated on April the 18th of that same year,
under the advocacy of the Virgin of the Purest Conception. The ceremony
was officiated by the City's Archbishop, Juan de Palafox y Mendoza.
The monumental building, made out of limestone, links the early baroque with the refined Spanish renaissance. Its façade is sober and presents great doorways on which the images of gracious angels stand out.
Its interior is a true ornamental fulsomeness with numerous pieces
of great value disseminated upon its five naves, being of mush interest
its main altarpiece, a work by the creative genius of Manuel Tolsá,
its 14 lateral chapels, and its splendid choir stalls with ivory
and bone applications. There are also mural and baroque paintings
from the XVIII century and an entourage of angels on the atrium
representing the City, officially christened Puebla
de Los Angeles.
The Cathedral was restored in 1960, and it is situated on 16 de Septiembre Avenue, unnumbered.
Splendid colonial portals, solid
Toscana columns, and a tower on which a clock marks the pace of
time, are a few features characteristic of this attractive building
of French-Spanish renaissance style, a work of architect Carlos
H. Hall. Built with grey quarry stones, the Palace was finished
in 1906 and is currently a typical sample of public buildings' architecture
built between the years 1870 and 1910.
Its interior houses several artistic treasures, with a valuable collection of canvases and sculptures standing out. Besides, its captivating flight of stairs made of marble from Carrara is an architectonic beauty. It is located on 14 Portal Hidalgo, in the northern part of El Zócalo.
Its history began in 1646
when Bishop Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, on a pious act of detachment,
decided do donate all the volumes of his library, composed of more
than 5000 titles, to the City of Puebla. The Library, one of the
oldest in Mexico
, was included on the list of Mexico's
Historic Monuments in 1981. It currently houses more than 41582
volumes of theology, philosophy and the Holy Scriptures, amongst
other branches of human knowledge.
Its bookcases contain authentic bibliographical treasures, such as an incunabular with more than two thousand illustrations on linen paper, and an ancient edition of the Nuremberg Chronicles dating back to 1493.
Besides the artistic and literary value of the thousands of volumes, this "temple of reading" preserves valuable bookcases of carved wood, a baroque altarpiece, tables made of onyx, and a circular bookstand for the books of large formats.
It is located in the premises of the House of Culture (former Archiepiscopal Palace), on 5 Oriente Street, Colonia Centro.
-House of the Dean:
It was the monumental mansion
of don Tomas de la Plaza y Goes, dean of the canonicals in Puebla
who hired the services of architect Francisco de Becerra (who took
part on the drawings of the Cathedral). The works ended in 1580,
being the result a magnificent home of renaissance style.
The house keeps its noticeable portal from its original design, along with two rooms whose walls show ancient murals "rediscovered" in 1953, being called since then with the names of The Sibyls and The Triumphs.
In the first one, probably a dinning room, one can see images of the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ, whilst the second one bewilders visitors for its illustrations allegorical to love, chastity, fame, time and death, inspired on the verses of Italian poet Francesco Petrarca.
It is on 505, 16 de Septiembre Street.
-House of He who killed the Animal:
There was a
legend in colonial times referring the fight between a conquistador
and a huge killer rattlesnake who had already claimed several human
This legendary clash, possibly related to the cult of Quetzalcóatl, the feathered serpent of the Aztecs, was represented on the singular façade of this house, built in the XVI century.
It is located on 301, 3 Oriente Street. It is the current seat of
El Sol de Puebla
-House of the Puppets:
It bears this name due to
the 16 human figures made out of glazed tiles on its façade that
seem to be dancing. Of baroque style and built in 1792, the house
had mayor and town councillor Agustin de Ovando y Villavicencio
as its first proprietor. It is said that the then Town authority
ordered the placing of these figures to mock his political enemies,
who fustigated and accused him of having built the house without
the corresponding permit.
However, there are scholars who assure that the said images have no relation with ephemeral political conflicts whatsoever, but that they represent an ancient myth know as "Hercules' Tasks".
In 1983 the Autonomous University of Puebla
the old house. After some modifications that did not damage its
original structure, its rooms became the exhibition rooms of the
University Museum, where more than 200 colonial paintings, besides
several instruments and scientific appliances, used in the lecture
rooms and laboratories of this academic facility founded by the
Jesuits, are exhibited. It is situated on the crossing of 2 Norte
and Maximino Avila Camacho Streets.