The Church of Santiago Tlatelolco was built as a symbol of the Spanish conquest in 1521. This was the first cathedral built during the period of the Spanish trying to establish a new-found civilization in the Americas. Cortez wanted to make sure to destroy the previous culture and reinforce the Spanish ways of life. The Spanish destroyed the temples that were currently standing in order to build the cathedral.
The main entrance to the cathedral faces north to the center of the plaza, directly in front of the Aztec ruins. The outside structure is decorated with huge columns of the catholic saints that the Spanish idolized and are still worshiped today. Within the cathedral is a mural of San Cristobal which is around eight meters in height. The cathedral was built to honor of him, who was considered the symbol Catholicism in the new world. Later in 1540, the cathedral was expanded by the creation of two other structures for the missionaries to teach the indigenous children.
Overtime the cathedral has been used for many different purposes other than simply a place of worship. After the school closing, the church became the college of the holy cross and then it was abandoned for a period of time due war. In the 19th century the cathedral was revamped into its original purpose due to the new rail yard that was located nearby. After that, the church was used as a winery and the other structures were used as a military prison until 1944 when excavation began. Finally after excavation and restoration the cathedral was reverted back to its original purpose, a place Catholics could use for worship. Although this structure has been used for many purposes no major changes have been to the original structure.