Metropolitan Cathedral

The Metropolitan Cathedral, often referred to as the Catedral Metropolitana in Mexico City, is the oldest and largest church in Latin America. The church in Mexico City, which has been updated several times over the years, dates back to the year 1567 and was completed in the year 1788. It is centrally located at the Plaza de la Constitucion, or Central Square in Mexico City. Even if you aren’t religious, visiting the church in Mexico City offers a chance to see a spectacular piece of architecture and interesting artwork as well as learn more about the history of Mexico.

Religion plays a large part in the lives of the people in Mexico. Most people who attend church in Mexico City are Catholic, although other Christian religions are common. The Metropolitan Cathedral is an Episcopal church and was inspired by the Spanish cathedrals in cities such as Malaga, incorporating elements of Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, and Neo-Classical architecture. The massive church is around 360 feet long and 180 feet wide and has over 150 windows. It also contains sixteen chapels, a large central dome, 51 vaults, and two Neo-classical style bell towers that hold 18 bells. Although the building is still standing and is considered safe for visitors, its immense weight of 127,000 tons has made it sink considerably. Until a more permanent solution is developed for its foundation, the building is mainly stabilized by scaffolding.

Besides marveling at the interesting architectural features of the Metropolitan Cathedral and learning more about the role of religion in Mexico, you can also see colonial-style art work, such as the Altar of Kings that was carved by Jerónimo de Balbas, a Mexican sculptor and architect. The altar is situated directly across from the Altar of Forgiveness, an elaborately adorned altar that was also carved by Balbas. Although the altar was severely damaged by a fire in the late 1960s, it has been restored to its original condition.

The church’s Sacristy contains paintings by Cristóbal de Villalpando that date back to 1665. Most visitors to Metropolitan Cathedral remark at the fine details of the paintings, which depict the immaculate conception of Christ.

Another interesting feature of Catedral Metropolitana in Mexico City is the crypt, which holds the tombs of former Mexico City archbishops.

The staff at Catedral Metropolitana in Mexico City occasionally hosts a sound and light show that takes guests on a candlelit tour through the cathedral while listening to choral music. The cathedral is open most days of the week and is closed on major holidays. Visitors can also attend mass on Sunday mornings, although the service tends to be crowded.

After you tour the church in Mexico City, visit some of the other buildings and attractions in Mexico City such as Chapultepec Park and the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco. Although Mexico City is extremely large, it is easy to get to the Metropolitan Cathedral or any other attraction by taking a public bus or train.

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