Mexico, Mexico City – Around Zocalo
For the first time, we head north of the square, go along the left side of the monumental Catedral Metropolitana we told you about next week, continue along Monte de Piedad street which then changes to República de Brasil. Soon you will get on a large open space called Santo Domingo, dominated by a cathedral of the same name on the north.
The cathedral is “just” a remaining of much larger complex thatused to include a monastery, the very first in New Spain. The church of built in the style of Mexican Baroque. Its ground plan is based on a shape of a Catholic cross. The main altar designed by Manuel Tolsa, a famous sculptor, is in the Neoclassicist style. . One of his most famous works is Hospicio Cabañas, which is part of UNESCO’s world heritage sites list. Hospicio is located in the Mexican state of Guadaljara. By the way, Santo Domingo square has quite bad reputation as it is known for document falsification.
Another interesting building north of Zócalo is the Jeusit college Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso. The college was founded in 1588. Today it serves as the museum of Mexico City. Between its college years and museum years, the building was used for many purposes – a military battalion had its barracks there, there was also a school of law or medicine; American soldiers stayed there in 1847. The museum is there only since 1992. It is focused on archeology, history, and art related to Mexico.
About eight minutes of walk is needed to get you to an interesting building- Palacio de Iturbide. A three-storey palace is another example of Mexican Baroque. It was built during the years 1779-1785. Miguel de Berrio y Zaldívar, who also served as Mexico City’s mayor, ordered the building. It cost him 100 thousand pesos, the value of his daughter’s dowry. He did not trust his daughter’s husband-to-be Marquis of Moncada, Sicily. He was worried that the Marquis would waste all the money.
On the beginning of the 19th century the palace stopped being used as a personal residence. For couple of years it was a mining school. Since 1855 the palace became a hotel for about a hundred years. Only in 1972, after a vast reconstruction, Palacio de Iturbide became a home of art and has been it ever since.
Text: Maxim Kucer
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