San Gabriel Convento in Cholula

Built in 1520 by the Spanish, San Gabriel Convento in Cholula is known for being the oldest religious temple in the Americas. This temple was built on the ruins of a previous temple honored to Quetzalcoatl who was a God known as the feathered serpent. The current temple is dedicated to San Gabriel who was an archangel and is well known throughout Mesoamerican history. Fraile Martin de Hojacastrosa, known as the third bishop of Puebla, was the first one to lay a stone.

Throughout this structure we can see the history of this area. The architectural style used is Plateresque and Gothic. Plateresque was extremely popular during the 15th and 16th centuries especially in Spain. The word Platereque is derived from the Spanish word (plata) which means silver.

The convent is followed by the cloister, fence, open-roofed entrance, Pilgrims Portal, and the chapels. One of the chapels is known as the Real or Naturales which is famous for the unique work and the style used called Mudejar. Inside of the structure there are portraits of San Francisco de Asis, Sacred Art gallery, and a bit of of neoclassic style.

This site is also known where Cortez’s Massacre occurred which led to the fall of the Aztec Empire. The Cholula massacre occurred in 1519 when Hernan Cortes, Spanish conquistador ordered his men to viciously attack a group of Cholulans since he had accused them of treachery. Hours later more thousands of Cholulans were murdered. This massacre sent a powerful message to Mexico especially the Aztecs. The Spanish were not to be messed with and that no law shall go unpunished.

There have been various natural disasters that have damaged the convent. For example there have been fires and several earthquakes especially the tremor in 1999. The most recent one in 2017 which greatly impacted the convent and still to this day has been under reconstruction.