Historic Centre of Puebla

Puebla is a city founded by the Spanish in 1531 that for once did not stomp all over a pre-existing native city. I reached it on my first solo bus trip here – two hours on a very plush coach with huge legroom and with a free bag of snacks handed to you as you get on, shortly after they’ve checked you’re not carrying a weapon. An old man getting on just in front of me was relieved of his penknife/multitool by the security man.

Puebla

Puebla

I had sketched a quick map of the walk into town from the bus station (what would I do without Google maps?) but in the event decided to try a rackety local bus. I had to guess the stop to alight at and then ask a passerby for directions but I found myself on the edge of the historic district so marked that as a success. The centre has a grid street pattern and lots of attractive houses (often with tiled exteriors) and Baroque churches. It also has a lot of bilingual interpretive signs and themed walks.

Puebla

Puebla

The town is renowned for its food and sweets. On a street full of confectionary shops I saw my first real life (dead?) sugar skulls in sizes ranging from ‘remember to floss’ to ‘goodbye teeth’. For lunch I tried a seasonal Mexican delicacy, Chile en Nogada, a large stuffed chilli pepper in a white nut sauce sprinkled with coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds giving the red, white and green of the Mexican flag. I’m fairly sure the filling had chicken in it but didn’t enquire to closely. It was an interesting savoury/sweet dish and very tasty.

Puebla

Puebla

An on-line review of the town had tipped me off that one particular chapel was worth seeing, although without mentioning which church it was in. Luckily one of the historic trail signs included it as a site to visit and led me to the Rosary Chapel in the Church of Santo Domingo. Now if you followed my blog through Spain you’ll know that I’d started to become immune to over-the-top gilt Baroque altars but this chapel pretty much out-Baroqued them all.

Puebla - Rosary Chapel

Puebla - Rosary ChapelPuebla - Rosary Chapel

I’ve seen them before, but the cathedral here was the first time I felt able to photograph the rather fabulous warning effigies some churches have of sinners suffering in hell.

Puebla - a woman suffers for her sins

Puebla - a woman suffers for her sins

Close by was another of those glass coffins holding a disturbingly gory post-crucifixion Jesus lying on a rumpled satin sheet. Later I found a religious acoutrement shop selling tiny versions of the same thing (about 10 inches long) complete with an internal light. I cannot emphasise how much I wanted to buy one, but I doubted the glass would survive a journey home through the Mexican and British postal systems so had to pass it by.

Puebla - Zocalo

Puebla - Zocalo

Puebla’s central square (Zocalo) is a lovely space full of trees, fountains and garden beds and sporting some European style pavement cafes on the edge. Just off it is one of the city’s earliest houses with this marvellous 16th century carved stone doorway. 

Puebla - 16th century doorway

Puebla - 16th century doorway

The town has a building, the Casa de los Hermano Serdan, that was the site of the first battle of the Mexican revolution in 1910. It retains bullet holes on the facade from the occasion.

Puebla - Casa de los Hermanos Serdan

Puebla - Casa de los Hermanos Serdan

I decided to make this my Lego model for Puebla. The green window shades are obviously not original so I made two versions of the model, one with them and one without.

Lego Puebla - Casa de los Hermanos Serdan

Lego Puebla - Casa de los Hermanos Serdan

 

Lego Puebla - Casa de los Hermanos Serdan

Lego Puebla - Casa de los Hermanos Serdan

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