Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Maximum work of colonial architecture in the Americas, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City stands majestically, in the capital Zócalo as the largest cathedral in Latin America and one of the most emblematic temples of Christendom in the world.

The history of the Metropolitan Cathedral is also the history of the Viceroyalty of Mexico and a narration in stone of its different architectural styles. Built over three centuries, in this work we can recognize Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical elements that, intertwining harmoniously, together form a work of great cultural and spatial richness unique in its kind.

Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de México City

Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

The first stone of the Cathedral was laid by Hernán Cortes in 1524 in an act of great symbolic significance by placing it at the crossroads that led from the four cardinal points to the spiritual center of the Aztec capital, using the stones in its construction that had been part of the Great Temple of the Great Tenochtitlan until before its destruction.

Years later in 1547 this temple was granted the dignity of the Cathedral by the Holy See. Time later the demolition of the original building is carried out and the founding stone of the current cathedral is placed by Archbishop Pedro Moya and Viceroy Martín Enriquez. After decades of work in its interior in 1623, the construction of the Sacristy, a spectacular site that houses various religious treasures and mural paintings of the two most outstanding painters of New Spain, Juan Correa and Cristóbal de Villalpando, is completed. 44 years later the entire interior of the Cathedral is concluded, opening on December 22, 1667.

Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de México City

The exterior of the cathedral was not completed until 1813 when, after centuries of work, the architect Manuel Tolsá is appointed to design and complete the facades and bell towers. To him are the sculptures of Hope, Faith and Charity of the main cover, the dome of the transept as well as the top of the bell-shaped towers.

This fascinating temple has a Latin cross-shaped plant with three main doors to the capital Zócalo, the center one being a jubilee door that is only open on special occasions. The tour is carried out through an ambulatory that surrounds the choir and the parishioners area, around which 14 chapels are ordered perimetrically with various advocations as well as the main altars.

Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de México City

One of the most prominent elements of the interior is the choir, richly ornamented in Baroque style, with two monumental organs and furniture from the Asian colonies of the Spanish Empire, highlighting the stalls and facistol, from Macao and the Philippines respectively.

Special mention requires the altarpiece of the Kings and the Royal Chapel of the architect Guillermo de Balbás, who located behind the main altar show a baroque fantasy of stipe columns covered by gold plate that serve as a framework for various pictorial works with themes related to different kings and reynas who by their acts were elevated to the degree of holiness. Another prominent altarpiece is that of Altar del Perdón, which located in the central nave, facing the access to the Jubilee Gate, is made in a rich Herrera style and houses one of the most important objects of devotion of the temple, the Cristo del Veneno .

Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de México City

On the east side of the Cathedral is the Metropolitan Tabernacle, probably the best executed churrigueresque facade in Latin America that houses in contrast an austere interior that serves as a parish for different celebrations.

After several years of work having been in danger of sinking, the Metropolitan Cathedral has regained its original splendor. In particular, the recent restoration of the Altar de los Reyes stands out as part of an agreement between Mexico and Spain. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City is home to the Archdiocese of Mexico and choral and sacred music concerts are held inside. On certain dates it is possible to visit the bell towers and catacombs of the enclosure. Admission is free.

Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de México City

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