Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nov 2012: The Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

 photo 086-IMG_0717_zpsc2d5d403.jpg

After walking around the Zocalo, I landed next to the Cathedral. It is an awesome building, see here for its history. A Gothic structure modelled after several structures then extant in Spain. The building was constructed over an awesome period from 1593 to 1813 AD. Now that’s one seriously long construction period.

 photo 002-IMG_6292_zps0a512c66.jpg  photo 087-IMG_0718_zpse99e243d.jpg

Its a magnificent double set of buildings, the one on the left is the Tabernacle to house the archives and vestments of the Archbishop.

 photo 090-IMG_0727_zps1c0a282e.jpg  photo 091-IMG_0730_zpse983e40c.jpg photo 092-IMG_0733_zpsce53b28e.jpg photo 094-IMG_0739_zpsb1cd99f8.jpg photo 095-IMG_0742_zps966c81df.jpg photo 096-IMG_0747_zps31897829.jpg

The facade is made of a volcanic rock and covered by statues and images of Biblical people, apostles, etc. Quite an impressive and rich facade, eh? 

 photo 097-IMG_0748_zpsad26314d.jpg

The statues on the top are covered by these anti pigeon nets.

 photo 099-IMG_0756_zps2161f005.jpg

A lonely figure stands guard over the Eastern side of the Tabernacle. But enough of this, we will move to the Cathedral and come back to the Tabernacle later on.

 photo 104-IMG_0769_zps86d15b8b.jpg  photo 105-IMG_0774_zps9c4ca0b5.jpg

The eastern bell tower, there are zillions of those bells there..interesting story here, one bell ringer was killed by a bell (strange one, that..) and because of this, the bell’s clapper was removed in punishment for over many decades, only restored few years back…fascinating.

 photo 109-IMG_0786_zps5e4865fd.jpg  photo 138-IMG_0863_zpsa9bba8b2.jpg photo 113-IMG_0796_zpsac20bcb5.jpg  photo 135-IMG_0853_zps0dce3d98.jpg

The main facade has these 3 lovely panels in front of it. The main panel shows the ship of the church sailing with the 4 Apostles and St. Peter at the helm. Rather interesting imagery in what appears to be Marble. Where did they get this stone?

 photo 115-IMG_0802_zpsb5ca12dd.jpg 

Some of the detail work can do with a spot of weeding..

 photo 116-IMG_0805_zps01bba18a.jpg 

The coat of arms of Mexico can be seen, the famous Eagle perched on a cactus plant with a snake held in its arms.

 photo 117-IMG_0808_zps312d4755.jpg 

The clock tower (with patches) shows statues of Faith Hope and Charity on top.

 photo 118-IMG_0811_zpsdd6418dc.jpg 

The North tower.

 photo 126-IMG_0832_zps1daeb660.jpg 

The West Bell tower with some sad looking bells and statues of some Popes on the top?

 photo 128-IMG_0839_zpsd2373d71.jpg 

The lampposts were lovely

 photo 130-IMG_0842_zpsaabc5bea.jpg

Hmmm, some psalm?

 photo 139-IMG_0865_zpse9b89b53.jpg 

the bells really look a bit wonky

 photo 142-IMG_0875_zps47be89cd.jpg  photo 143-IMG_0878_zpsbbf89a90.jpg

At the beginning of the previous century, there was some serious anti clerical movements in Mexico. Looks like these carvings were defaced around that time..

 photo 145-IMG_0883_zps4282940f.jpg

The doorway arch was covered with anti pigeon nets but had some rubbish inside..kindda defeats the purpose

 photo 146-IMG_0887_zps6f0395e5.jpg 

I head inside the cathedral through the main doors

 photo 147-IMG_0889_zps2bc92b41.jpg 

A rather unassuming font at the door.

 photo 148-IMG_0892_zps247e124c.jpg 

Quite imposing when you get in, eh? This is the East Aisle

 photo 149-IMG_0896_zps16717a68.jpg

I tell you, in some places, the gold and gilt have run amok, I turn left

 photo 150-IMG_0899_zps943819bf.jpg  photo 160-IMG_0935_zps6787e749.jpg

These 6 statues of various saints are hung around the main door.

 photo 152-IMG_0905_zps538c2ae6.jpg

Next to this is this extraordinary sight

 photo 153-IMG_0908_zps33d0d2b1.jpg

People pin little metal icons of various bits of the body which are afflicted and need to be made good with divine intervention. Most amazing and a bit humbling.

 photo 154-IMG_0911_zpsb53133ea.jpg

This is the Altar of Forgiveness. Did you know that people who were condemned to be executed during the Spanish Inquisition were brought in front of this altar and they begged for forgiveness before being taken off to be executed. No wonder it felt so cold.

 photo 155-IMG_0914_zps74569c2f.jpg 

The Crucified Christ wore this strange green cloth around its nether regions.

 photo 161-IMG_0938_zps31a1c9ac.jpg  photo 164-IMG_0947_zps41bb32f2.jpg 

The familiar image of the Virgin of Guadeloupe and I have now reached the West Aisle.

 photo 163-IMG_0943_zps947fdbc1.jpg 

And we arrive at the Chapels. These chapels were funded by various guilds and are sumptuously appointed.

 photo 165-IMG_0950_zps8b6b58ec.jpg 

I was too early so most of the chapels were closed but we don't let a small thing like closed gates stop us from taking pics, eh?

 photo 167-IMG_0956_zps95d3a308.jpg  photo 172-IMG_0974_zps8b37e3d8.jpg

The insides of the chapels were seriously encrusted with baroque decorations, statues, paintings and the lot.

 photo 174-IMG_0980_zps81920776.jpg

And then this sight. This is the chapel of Raymond Nonnatus, a Catalonian Spanish Saint 1204-1240. He is the patron saint of childbirth, midwives, children, pregnant women and priest who want to protect the secrecy of confession. So where are all these locks coming from? He was trying to ransom Christians from the Moors and then he ran out of money. So the Moors drilled a hole through his lips and padlocked them together to stop him from preaching. Holy Moly. So you put in a lock in here to stop gossip and rumours. Also to keep secrets, etc. etc. Fascinating story.

 photo 175-IMG_0985_zps41cff7f0.jpg

A side chapel opens up but I cant move there…its barricaded up :(. That is the West Entrance you can see in the corner behind the cupboard kindda thing. So I move back.

 photo 178-IMG_0995_zps06c01519.jpg photo 181-IMG_1004_zps7bf0e01b.jpg 

A statue of Christ with bleeding knees..

 photo 179-IMG_0999_zps00790dc0.jpg  photo 180-IMG_1000_zpsdeeafe24.jpg

This chapel had so much gold and gilding that it actually hurt my

  photo 182-IMG_1007_zpsabeaee20.jpg 

More paintings on the side of this gilded chapel.

 photo 183-IMG_1010_zpsbc08422b.jpg 

A sort of a balcony is running up there with these carved undersides and gilded statues with Christian clue what they are relating to..

 photo 185-IMG_1016_zps492e8054.jpg 

Hmmmm, what’s this about then?

 photo 187-IMG_1022_zpsf257bad4.jpg 

Another chapel with amazing gilded work

 photo 188-IMG_1025_zps7e1782d8.jpg 

The piano..WOW!

 photo 189-IMG_1028_zps5129b263.jpg 

Back at the end

 photo 193-IMG_1046_zpse2d95b5f.jpg 

Looking up at the cupola

 photo 194-IMG_1049_zps0e7a9610.jpg

The pulpit

 photo 195-IMG_1052_zps4aaa06c6.jpg 

the covering on top of the pulpit, that is serious

 photo 198-IMG_1061_zpsc08f145f.jpg 

And another one on the other side

 photo 199-IMG_1064_zps0be9e46b.jpg 

The chandelier is beautiful.

 photo 200-IMG_1067_zpsb780e277.jpg

Peering at a painting on the wall with two saints flanking it

 photo 201-IMG_1070_zpsef92585a.jpg

the chapels have the names of the chapel on top, this one is broken

 photo 203-IMG_1076_zps4ed1e848.jpg 

Another painting but this time with the little brass icons..touching, these little elements of faith, you can just imagine the emotions of the pilgrims who have pinned these little brass pieces up praying with all their hearts for their loved ones to get better.

 photo 205-IMG_1087_zpscbe61e4a.jpg 

The West Door.

 photo 209-IMG_1106_zps2548df51.jpg 

I am now moving across to the East aisle. And the familiar plaque to John Paul II is here, he visited here very regularly, eh?

 photo 212-IMG_1115_zpsa083cdd9.jpg  photo 213-IMG_1118_zps70c83410.jpg

The base of the piano, again very well decorated..

 photo 215-IMG_1124_zpscf4030d8.jpg

Looking up at the imposing piano, there are two here, I didn't realise.

 photo 217-IMG_1130_zps1b9bb44a.jpg  photo 221-IMG_1151_zps36ec0fa0.jpg photo 222-IMG_1153_zpsff0c6d30.jpg photo 223-IMG_1156_zpsd365b85f.jpg

This is the Altar of the Kings, and it has various statues of Sainted Kings and Queens. Fascinating.

 photo 228-IMG_1172_zpsbd73b125.jpg

Another view of the piano.

 photo 231-IMG_1180_zpsc86adef0.jpg photo 232-IMG_1183_zpsabf7d518.jpg photo 233-IMG_1187_zps1dbd4285.jpg  photo 234-IMG_1190_zpsa0dae3f1.jpg photo 235-IMG_1193_zpscf28cfcc.jpg photo 236-IMG_1196_zpse78dde67.jpg photo 237-IMG_1199_zps45355d90.jpg photo 238-IMG_1202_zps1bf34f9b.jpg

This is the chapel of the Lady of Guadeloupe. One of the 3 chapels which were open. Pretty impressive stuff, eh? Shows the shepherd who actually saw her with the cloak and and and.

 photo 247-IMG_1228_zpse0b215a2.jpg  photo 248-IMG_1232_zps19ff957d.jpg photo 250-IMG_1237_zps8590d8ed.jpg photo 251-IMG_1241_zps5a51ded6.jpg

Another chapel, check out the structure on the right, it is so heavy and thick! amazing.

 photo 255-IMG_1253_zpsc4aa3f94.jpg

The floor is polished heavily, but you can see how the floor is wavy..the church has been constructed on lake ground and keeps on sinking little by little.

 photo 256-IMG_1256_zpsb3e9bd68.jpg  photo 257-IMG_1259_zpse9a3615f.jpg photo 258-IMG_1262_zps0a24ad79.jpg photo 261-IMG_1270_zps961f7826.jpg

Another couple of chapels which were open but I didn't go inside, people were praying inside. I then left to go out.

 photo 262-IMG_1274_zps6f4c0f5a.jpg 

The building can do with a bit of cleaning, that’s not good.

 photo 263-IMG_1277_zpscaa5e682.jpg

I notice these glassed over floor tiles

 photo 264-IMG_1280_zps82c109f8.jpg

And peeking in, see these bones. What on earth?

 photo 267-IMG_1291_zps5095fc56.jpg 

An organ grinder in operation.

A real life one…

 photo 269-IMG_1295_zpsf6b56d82.jpg

I wasn't sure what this was all about but when I got home, I goggled this. Here’s the link. The line at the bottom of the plaque is supposed to link to the Aztec calendar (yes, of the doomsday fame and which I blogged about earlier). This says, “reference line to replace the lower tangent to the Aztec Calendar". Heh, funny.

 photo 271-IMG_1301_zpsba1da1cb.jpg 

The west view of the tower.

 photo 272-IMG_1304_zps542fb835.jpg

And of the cupola

 photo 273-IMG_1309_zpsf33f5c9c.jpg  photo 276-IMG_1319_zps4e8cf6c3.jpg  photo 277-IMG_1322_zpsb477cbba.jpg

Quite a nice architecture up there, no?

 photo 274-IMG_1311_zps326c95bc.jpg

These water spouts are very nicely done

 photo 278-IMG_1326_zps82cf80dd.jpg 

The Cathedral is falling about…and it has been repaired, see? 

 photo 280-IMG_1332_zps5d313d99.jpg

This is the west side of the cathedral

 photo 281-IMG_1334_zps364a0374.jpg

And you can see how the sinking of the cathedral has made the doorways all wonky

 photo 284-IMG_1343_zps0c47fc4c.jpg 

Old Pope John Paul II with a serious statue up there.

 photo 289-IMG_1359_zps6bf0f314.jpg  photo 290-IMG_1362_zps29efccd6.jpg photo 291-IMG_1365_zpsdca99da9.jpg photo 292-IMG_1368_zps7360129d.jpg photo 293-IMG_1370_zps817f4398.jpg

The West entrance is a bit more understated with these 4 rather unprepossessing statues of the 4 Apostles.

 photo 295-IMG_1377_zps5f46dd19.jpg

A giant plaque on the left, not sure what this was about

 photo 294-IMG_1374_zps9feefe8c.jpg  photo 296-IMG_1379_zpsec2c17d2.jpg photo 297-IMG_1383_zpsc3b2adfc.jpg

Then the entrance to this little unit..flanked by two statues of two worthies. The chap on the right reminds me of Boss Gallo, the leader of the Gungam’s in Star Wars. no?

 boss_nass[1] Same imposing structure and jowls..

 photo 298-IMG_1385_zps0183a433.jpg  photo 299-IMG_1388_zps38d79798.jpg

I peered over the fence on the western arcade?

 photo 301-IMG_1394_zps80734c13.jpg  photo 302-IMG_1398_zps2b779c81.jpg

More repairs to the walls

 photo 303-IMG_1403_zps74a14b63.jpg  photo 304-IMG_1407_zps3d3b7069.jpg

And these look like an attempt to sink some heavy weights into the ground to stabilise the foundations..

 photo 306-IMG_1413_zps74cd8fc4.jpg  photo 308-IMG_1419_zpsb9795e7f.jpg photo 309-IMG_1422_zps99424ef4.jpg photo 310-IMG_1425_zps2dbc229f.jpg

The closed south door, lovely carvings on this side, the north door obviously came off worst..

 photo 311-IMG_1427_zps6fd4d500.jpg 

A nice little plant

 photo 313-IMG_1433_zps855b9b56.jpg 

Walking across to the tabernacle

 photo 315-IMG_1440_zps12e9cec7.jpg

 photo 317-IMG_1446_zps60b97ce4.jpg 

Really could do with a lick of paint

 photo 322-IMG_1460_zps80553ed8.jpg


 photo 323-IMG_1464_zps218e684e.jpg  photo 324-IMG_1466_zps8297b0d7.jpg photo 325-IMG_1469_zps996006ee.jpg photo 326-IMG_1472_zps79a6c3ea.jpg

The imposing facade of the Tabernacle.

 photo 327-IMG_1475_zpse2074543.jpg 

Inside it was more sedate

 photo 329-IMG_1482_zps7c9dddc5.jpg

obviously a functioning church

 photo 332-IMG_1494_zpsc802f17e.jpg

with some beautiful work above the altar

 photo 341-IMG_1521_zps30e6b676.jpg

Walk out on the pavement, giving a bit of a wide berth to a little doggie accident

 photo 768-IMG_2820_zpsc7c03a5d.jpg 

Looking at the Tabernacle view again

 photo 771-IMG_2829_zps577d21e5.jpg 

Faith Hope and Charity standing firm above the clock tower with the Mexican emblem

 photo 772-IMG_2831_zps49d6c7a7.jpg

Zooming in..

 photo 773-IMG_2838_zpsf18d319e.jpg 

Another view of the lovely lamps

 photo 774-IMG_2841_zpsd46a4ce1.jpg

I move couple of streets down and get to the Church of Santo Domingo. The plaza is a good place to sit and loiter with a statue of Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, a freedom fighter. But enough already, I head back to the Zocalo as I have not yet done with the Presidential Palace.