Cathedral de Puebla

The Cathedral of Puebla is a Baroque style cathedral in the City of Puebla, the capital of the state of Puebla. The cathedral is located on the southern edge of the Zocalo de Puebla but has its side doors instead of its main doors facing the plaza. Construction on the cathedral began in 1575 under the architects Francisco Becerra and Juan de Cigorondo. While construction was delayed between 1626 and 1634 due to mismanagement and lack of funds, it resumed during the time of Bishop Juan de Palafox y Mendoza.

Palafox spent most of his time in New Spain, from 1640 until 1655, trying to combat the Jesuits and convince them to pay tithes that was required of them by the Vatican. The tithes were an important part of the church structure because they were to be used to fund the building of churches and cathedrals throughout New Spain. At the end of his struggle, the Jesuits and the Viceroy managed to get Palafox reassigned to a remote diocese in Spain. However, before his departure, Palafox issued the completion of the cathedral, and on April 18th, 1649 consecrated the church in the name of the Immaculate Conception. Construction continued after the cathedral's consecration and was not finished until 1690 when the front facade was added.

The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary is a Catholic teaching that deals with how Mary was born without sin. The teaching says that in order for Mary to be fit enough to bear the son of God, she needed to be without sin completely, including original sin that was passed down from Adam and Eve through regular conception. According to Catholic teaching, Mary was conceived within her mother Saint Anne the same way that Jesus was conceived within Mary. Interestingly, though the church was dedicated to the Immaculate conception, the main dome has a painting depicting the Assumption of Mary. Today, the teaching of the immaculate conception is not officially supported by the Catholic Church.

The Assumption of Mary is a Catholic teaching describing the end of the Virgin Mary's life. The story says that at the end of the her life, the Virgin Mary was assumed into heaven wholly as body and soul rather than dying and only her soul going to heaven. This is important to the Catholic Church because according to the church the soul of every person who accepts God goes to heaven but not their bodies. The story was not recognized as religious dogma until 1950 but was taught in some parishes as far back as the 4th century. Today it is taught by Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches.

The city of Puebla was founded in 1531 as a planned city, meaning when The Zocalo of Puebla was the built as the first block the rest of the city was constructed around it in a grid pattern. Typical of Mexican plazas, it is surrounded on its sides by the Government Palace, the cathedral, and several other governmental and commercial buildings. The Zocalo was the primary marketplace for the city at its founding and was also the center of amusement for the people, a source of water through its fountain, and the place where executions were carried out. Over time the city became a stopping point between the port city of Vera Cruz and the capital of Mexico City. Eventually the city grew as an industrialization center.

Images

Cathedral of Puebla

Cathedral of Puebla

Cathedral of Puebla as seen from the front. From this angle you can see the from black limestone facade that was added closer to the completion date in 1690. View File Details Page

Cathedral of Puebla

Cathedral of Puebla

Cathedral of Puebla as seen from the Zocalo of Puebla at sun set. From this angle you can see the fountains in front of the cathedral that have been put into the ground on what used to be the road, to create a more beautiful public space. View File Details Page

Battle of Puebla

Battle of Puebla

This is a painting depicting the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. While it is a beautiful painting, it is important to point out that the actual battle did not take place in or around the Zocalo area. The battle took place north east of the city center on the hill where Fort Loreto and Fort Guadalupe stand. View File Details Page

Drawing of the Cathedral of Puebla

Drawing of the Cathedral of Puebla

This is a drawing of the Cathedral of Puebla and the Zocalo de Puebla originally published in a book titled Our Next Door Neighbor: A Winter in Mexico by Methodist Bishop, Gilbert Haven. View File Details Page

Cathedral of Puebla

Cathedral of Puebla

The Cathedral of Puebla as seen from the front main doors. From here you get a better look at the black limestone facade in the daylight. Notice that there are only bells in the left tower and not the right tower. This is, according to legend, to prevent the church from sinking into an underground river beneath the church. View File Details Page

City Plan

City Plan

This is an image of the city plan of Puebla. Puebla was one of many planned out colonial cities that began around a central plaza. In the case of Puebla, that was the Zocalo de Puebla that the cathedral boarders on the southern side. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Adam F. Figueroa, “Cathedral de Puebla,” HistoricalMX, accessed November 24, 2017, http://historicalmx.org/items/show/38.

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