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A Walking Tour of Mexico City

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The Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)
Catedral Metropolitana

Mexico City's Cathedral

© Suzanne Barbezat

The construction and decoration of this cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, took nearly 3 centuries. Construction began in 1573, and the building was dedicated, although still unfinished, in 1656. The cathedral is host to a mixture of styles, a result of being built over such a long period of time.

Sinking building
The cathedral, like many buildings in Mexico City, is gradually sinking into the ground. Various factors contribute to this problem:

  • the city's soft clay subsoil
  • the considerable weight of the cathedral
  • uneven foundations, due to being built on top of prehispanic structures
Sophisticated restoration works begun in the 1990s have stabilized the building. Although restorers have been unable to halt the sinking altogether, they have corrected the tilting towers and ensured that the cathedral will now sink uniformly.

The interior of the cathedral is as impressive as its exterior, with many retablos dating from the 16th and 17th Centuries. One painting from the main altar that's particularly noteworthy is titled "The Assumption of the Virgin." It was painted by Juan Rodriguez Juarez in 1726, and was recently restored.

Continue your Mexico City Walking Tour
Exiting the Cathedral, turn right and go to the corner, cross the street and walk 1 block South to Francisco Madero Street. Madero Street was originally called San Francisco Street because there is a Franciscan church and monastery here. There are many historical buildings along this street, which in 2010 was closed to traffic and converted into a pedestrian street.

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