neo-classical steeple was added in 1764 and is the one of many changes to the church over the centuries. Its twin to the south wasn't added until 1946. There are three levels to each steeple, and each level has four bells, giving the two towers a total of 24 bells of various sizes. The earliest religious structure built on this spot was a rustic chapel put up by evangelising Franciscan friars in 1575, the year the city was founded by Juan de Montoro. He created Aguascalientes as a postal and rest stop on the route between Guadalajara and the booming silver mines of Zacatecas to the north.
Exploring Colonial Mexico, four Doctors are displayed. They include Saints Ambrose and Gregory on the bottom level and Saints Augustine and Jerome above. The title "doctor" denotes a saint who is considered special for making a significant contribution to Catholic theology. Each niche is supported by a pair of pelicans which are shown pecking at their breasts to draw blood. This related to the blood sacrifice of Jesus. The columns are decorated by spiralling floral vines in a style called Solomnic, which originated in the Eastern Mediterranean. Legend has it that the Roman Emperor Constantine (the first Christian Emperor) brought three spirally-carved columns to Rome from the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Since Solomon's temple was destroyed almost 1000 years before Constantine's time, this is unlikely. The original "Solomnic" columns probably originated in Greece. There are four of these niches in the facade, two on the first and two on the second levels, each framed by the columns.
House of Eagles, the headquarters of the most important Aztec warrior cult at Mexico City's Templo Mayor. Each of the four petals of the Aztec flowers represents one of the sacred cardinal directions and each direction has a special god assigned to it. For example, the east was assigned to Tlaloc, the god of rain, life, and fertility. Indigenous craftsmen who built churches like this all over Mexico often included the old designs as a subtle way of keeping their religions alive. Church leaders directing the construction would probably not have understood the symbolism. The indigenous workers who provided the forced-labor used to construct these great edifices would have had the last laugh.
The Government Palace
tezontle for the walls and creamy pink cantera to frame the windows and doors. Tezontle is very strong but, like most volcanic rocks, is light. The Aztecs used it in their building projects and believed it to be the remains of a previously destroyed world. Cantera is also of volcanic origin, but softer and easier to carve. Because of this, and because it can absorb air and moisture without expanding, cantera was favored by colonial architects for fine exterior work.
macuahuitl, an obsidian-edged broadsword carried by the mounted warrior at the top left. Meanwhile, the women steal the horses of the fallen Spaniards. This was classic guerrilla warfare, with hit and run tactics by light, highly mobile war parties against a heavy, slow-moving enemy. In addition to being encumbered by armor, the Spanish were reluctant to leave the silver caravans unprotected to chase their attackers. This is one reason the war lasted 50 years. In my next posting, I will show many more of the wonderful murals of the Palacio Gobierno.
This completes Part 2 of my Aguascalientes series. I hope you enjoyed it and can sometime visit Aguascalientes and see the Catedral and Palacio Gobierno for yourself. If you would like to leave a comment, please do so in the Comments section below. If no one has previously left a comment, it will say "no comments" at the bottom of the page. Just click on that and it will take you to the Comments section.
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Hasta luego, Jim