Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven (In Spanish: Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de la Santísima Virgen María a los cielos)…
Say that 5 times fast!
Faith has always been at the core in any culture. Mexico City is home to the largest cathedral in Latin America, so it was a “must see” on my list. Situated on the north side of the Plaza de la Constitución, the Cathedral was constructed over a former Aztec sacred site using the stones from the former Aztec structure. Construction started in 1573 and ended in 1813 showcasing Baroque, Neo-Classical and Mexican architecture. The foundation alone took over 42 years, but because the cathedral was built on a dry lake bed, soft clay soil, and an uneven previous Aztec foundation, the cathedral is slowly sinking and shifting into the earth. The foundation was reconstructed in the 1990s to help stabilize it, but there is a distinctive lean on the right side of the building.
The largest 18th century organs in any Latin American church, the two organs inside the cathedral have been replaced and rebuilt over the past three hundred years with the latest rehab finished in 2014. They are still playable today.
The 16 individual chapels are finely decorated with painting .and sculptures, but the bells had a life of their own. The two bell towers house 25 bells, and it was exhilarating to hear their melody across the Plaza. Look closely at the video and you can see real people putting all their might into ringing the bells.
Tours are available for the cathedral and the bell towers, but the day we visited Cardinal Norbert Rivera Carrera was giving a sermon and being honored for his 50 years of service to the church. LCD screens were setup throughout the cathedral and outside in the Plaza to transmit the word of the Cardinal to the masses. Exploring the cathedral in more detail will have to wait until the next trip, but it was exhilarating to see a prominent figure of Mexican culture.