2015 APR – HISTORIC PUEBLA

Historic Puebla is just fascinating.  The city has a long history of buildings and architectures to dazzle the eye.

BIBLIOTECA PALAFOXIAN

The oldest book in this spectacular library dates from 1473 and the most recent is from 1910.

IMG_4466The library was established in 1646 by Juan Palafox who donated 5,000 books of his own collection. It was the first library in the Americas and the only one to still exist today.

Stone doorway is entrance to the library

Stone doorway is entrance to the library

Rows of books stretching to the ceiling

Rows of books stretching to the ceiling

I was surprised to see the windows uncovered and sunlight streaming into the room. It gave a wonderful ambiance but the damage to these ancient books must be substantial – and can only get worse over time.

 

FORT LORETO

This fort was instrumental in the Battle of Puebla and thus the famous Cinco de Mayo commemorative day.

Fort involved in the Cinco de Mayo during the Battle of Puebla

Fort involved in the Cinco de Mayo during the Battle of Puebla

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THE MUNICIPAL PALACE

This historic palace occupies one side of the zocalo (plaza), facing the Cathedral on the opposite side. It has two towers on either side and a central garret with clock.

Palace on the plaza

Palace on the plaza

I loved how they prevented one walking on the sidewalk in front of the palace by placing fountains along the way. Of course, children still ran through the fountains but the adults walked under the awnings.

 

CHAPEL OF THE ROSARIO

Mexicans consider this the 8th wonder of the world, and it is truly magnificent!! The chapel was started in 1659, took 40 years to complete, and was dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary.

Stunning cupola decorated in 23 carat gold

Stunning cupola decorated in 23 carat gold

The chapel is covered in gilded plaster that dazzles the eye and was created by local artisans from Oaxaca. Legend has it that the architect arrived with the artisans and gave them carte blanche to decorate as they pleased. And boy, did they ever.

Still glued up there 400 years later!

Still glued up there 400 years later!

It is said that the Oaxaca artisans first covered the walls and domes in stucco. Then they sealed the stucco by smearing blood on the walls. The glue was made from honey, eggs, leaves, flowers, faecal matter, and more blood. This entirely organic glue was then used to adhere the dazzling mosaics, sculptures, and carved woodwork to the walls and ceilings. And amazingly, 400 years later it is all still stuck in place! Nothing has come unglued.

Detail is dazzling

Detail is dazzling

The walls and ceiling are extravagantly covered in pure gold leaf. Near the door is 14 carat gold. The spectacular altar is 22 carat gold and the ornate cupola of the church is 23 carat gold. (Pure gold is 24 carat). Almost every inch of the chapel is elaborately covered in gold leaf.

Natural light floods the lavish interior making the gold glow in the sunlight.

This chapel truly deserves to be the 8th wonder of the world…!

 

 

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