Puebla is a big city about two hours from Mexico City. The motorway goes over 10,000 foot ridge to get to the place. It is a big place with over one million inhabitants. It is also a Unesco World Heritage Centre. At least the centre is, the less said about the edges the better. They are, mostly, the usual chaos of breeze blocks and dust.
Puebla was founded in 1531 and there was nothing there before that. So it is laid out as a Spanish Colonial town on a rigid grid system. The street names still reflect that. The following photo was taken at the corner of 6 Oriente and 8 Norte.
Many of the buildings in the centre are very old and not much modified. They are highly decorated with the characteristic Puebla tiles and plasterwork,
but they do not encourage people to look in – they tend to exclude the passer-by.
But if you can get past the outside door they are rather different.
The centre of the house is usually a courtyard which can be lovely.
But there are not only private houses in the centre, there are a multitude of churches. Being Catholic and Spanish, they are highly decorated, none more so than Santo Domingo, a Dominican foundation.
It starts off fairly sedately with the nave.
There are some nice touches to the roof.
And it has a nice pulpit with inlaid marble decoration.
The east end with its gold encrusted altar gives a foretaste of what is to come.
When we turn left into the Capilla del Rosario – the Rosary Chapel.
The amount of decoration is overpowering and it is everywhere. The dome is perhaps the high point (sorry!).
(Download the original to see the overwhelming detail. Click on the photo, click on “Actions”, click on “View all sizes”, then click on “Original”.)
And here are some more details:- Charity
And a well fed angel.
I think that here, all that glisters, is gold.
And here is some more.
There is a lot more to Puebla, including the Cathedral
but it is time to move on to Cholula.
Cholula is a short bus journey from Puebla – it is virtually a suburb. But, once upon a time, it was an important pre-Hispanic centre. And it has the largest (in terms of volume) monument in the world. This is the Cholula Pyramid.
Indeed it is so big that the Spaniards thought it was a hill and built a church on top. More recently excavations have shown that the hill / pyramid contains several temples. These were abandoned in the 12th Century and by the time the Spaniards arrived it looked like an overgrown hill.
The Church is the Santuario de la Virgen de los Remedios but you have seen enough of Spanish churches. But there is a nice view of Popocatapetl from the church.
Cholula is an arty crafty sort of place and there was some good stuff to be had. We didn’t get this.
But we did get this.
I could write more about Puebla and Cholula, especially the difficulty of finding and getting access to cash machines – Puebla seems to have very few and keeps them locked away in cubicles, in contrast to every other place in Mexico. But this post is long enough. More posts and other places to follow.