click here. (Scale model from Museo de la Ciudad)
Catedral de San Ildefonso
Ildefonsus, a Visigoth whose Germanic name was Hildefuns. The Visigoth barbarians sacked Rome in 410 AD and eventually overran much of the Western Roman Empire, including Spain. In 589 AD, they converted to Christianity, and by 657 Ildefonso had become Bishop of Toledo. His writings made him a potent force among Spanish Christians for centuries, eventually leading to his canonization. To honor him, Yucatan's colonial church authorities gave his name to their new cathedral. The Visigoths themselves were not so fortunate. In 712 AD, their king and many leading men were killed by invading Moors from North Africa. The Moorish Muslims ruled Spain for the next 700 years, until they were finally defeated and expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela. These are the same two who financed Christopher Columbus' voyages of discovery which eventually led to the conquest of Yucatan.
Pedro de Aulestia and Miguel de Auguero. The cathedral in Mexico City was also built by Auguero, but at a later time. In addition to the crucifix, there are two other notable features in the interior. One is a painting above a doorway depicting the Maya ruler Titul-Kiú, meeting with conquistador Francisco de Montejo el Mozo. These two allies defeated other Maya who were resisting the Conquest. Such alliances were typical of the Spanish divide-and-conquer strategy. Titul-Kiú converted to Christianity and his descendants still live in Mérida. The Catedral's other interesting feature is a Maya woodcarving of Christ. The wood for the statue was taken from a tree that the Maya saw burning all night without being destroyed, leading them to believe it was sacred. The carving was originally kept in a church at Ichmul which later burned down. However, the statue survived intact except for some blisters. It was removed to the Catedral in 1645 and is now kept in a nook called the Chapel of the Christ of the Blisters.
sacked during the Mexican Revolution. In 1915, General Salvador Alvarado was appointed Governor of Yucatan by the revolutionary government in Mexico City. He is famed today because of the many social reforms he implemented to help the Maya and other ordinary people. However, because the Church had provided political support for the ousted dictator Porfirio Diaz, General Alvarado ordered the sacking of the Catedral. He even went so far as to use it as a stable for his horses. In 1924, he was murdered in Chiapas, possibly in retaliation for his social reforms. Since that period was the prelude to the Cristero War between the revolutionary government and Catholic fanatics, it could also be that Alvarado was an early victim of that conflict.
Santiago, Guatemala, people who have safely returned from the US leave expensive designer scarves around the necks of statues of their saints.
La Casa de Montejo
Centro Cultural Olimpo, which contains a theatre, a planetarium, and space for exhibits and conferences. Every Tuesday evening, Olimpo sponsors a free concert which includes traditional Mexican songs and dances. The gleaming white building was inaugurated in 1999.
North side of Plaza Grande
This completes Part 1 of my Northwest Yucatan series. I hope you enjoyed it. I always enjoy comments and if you'd like to leave one, please do so in the Comments section below or email me directly. Also, feel free to send a link to my blog to family and friends if you'd like.
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Hasta luego, Jim