Begun in 15e5 and consecrated in 1649, Puebla Cathedral is the second largest in Mexico. It has a fairly austere exterior, but the spacious interior includes 14 chapels and an interesting octagonal altar.
Construction on Puebla Cathedral began around 1535 under the patronage of the Bishop of Tlaxcala, but a few decades later, the plan for the cathedral was changed to a larger and more elaborate building. Designed by by architect Francisco Becerra, the new project began in 1575.
After a few more decades of construction, the money ran out. The project came to a halt in 1626, but not for long. In 1634, the master architect of Mexico City Cathedral, by architect Francisco Becerra, amended the plans for Puebla Cathedral yet again. His design gave it a more basilical appearance and incorporated the Neoclassical style.
Construction started up again, and the cathedral was complete enough to be consecrated in April 1649 by the Bishop of Puebla. But work continued until nearly the end of the 17th century: the main portal was completed in 1664, the north tower in 1678, the north portal in 1690, and the south tower in 1768.
What to See
Puebla Cathedral was built in the Renassiance and Baroque styles, with some transition to the Neoclassical style visible on the facade. Despite the typically effusive decoration, the exterior is rather austere due to its dark grey stone.
The west facade is decorated with statues of saints including Peter, Paul, Joseph, James the Greater, Rose of Lima, Michael the Archangel, Teresa of Avila and Gabriel the Archangel. There are also high reliefs of the four Spanish kings from the Habsburg line: Charles V, Philip II, Philip III, and Philip IV.
The cathedral is the second-largest in the country after Mexico City Cathedral and its twin bell towers are the tallest in Mexico at 226 feet (69m). One of them can be climbed for excellent views of the city and surrounding volcanoes.
The spacious interior has a Latin cross plan, with a wide central nave flanked by two aisles on each side. There are no less than 14 chapels throughout the cathedral, all decorated in the effusive Baroque style.
The highlight of the cathedral's interior is the unusual octagonal altar, designed by Manuel Tolsá and built in 1797. It has two levels supported by Corinthian columns, topped with a dome modeled on that of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Quick Facts on Puebla Cathedral
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|Coordinates:||19.042885° N, 98.198344° W (view on Google Maps)|
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Map of Puebla Cathedral
Below is a location map and aerial view of Puebla Cathedral. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.
- DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Mexico (2003), 152.
- Puebla Attractions: Churches - Frommer's Mexico
- Catedral de Puebla - Spanish Wikipedia
- Puebla, Puebla: Cultural Attractions - Wikipedia
- Puebla Cathedral - Planetware
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