Friday, October 24, 2014

of domes and cracks

Visiting the Nidjei Israel synagogue (see my previous post) would have been plenty for one day.  But there was this quaint square just across, and neither of us had ever visited it (the joys of wandering around the old parts of town!).  This was Plaza Loreto (see photo above).  And on a corner stood, of course, the church of Our Lady of Loreto (Nuestra Señora de Loreto).

This is something that's always fascinated me about this city.  Since the old Aztec capital sat on a lake, the ground is rather soft and, with time, many big and heavy buildings have sunk somewhat or tilted.  This, being a massive 19th century Neoclassical church (I had to look that up, it's my huz who's got the sharp artistic eye, not me, LOL), was no exception: dangerously tilted to one side, sinking so bad that the steps leading to the door actually lead down from the street.  We walked in, and initially the inside looked maybe even worse than the outside: numerous cracks, frescoes damaged out of existence, and even the scattered fragments of a big piece of plaster that had just fallen on a bench!  Fortunately, there were few people inside and nobody sitting there.  But it did make me wonder whether we should make this a quick visit and not linger inside too long!

But then, once you overcome those "distractions"... your eyes eventually wonder towards the source of light above centre:  one of the biggest domes you could see in this city! huge! and around it? absolutely gorgeous remains of frescoes that had somehow escaped total decay! Whoa.  What an unexpected and inspiring sight.  It was a strangely beautiful combination, the stark contrast of the imposing yet naked dome, the remaining frescoes around, and the stained glass lighting it up...   

If you can, visit this place pronto.  It has survived plenty of quakes so far, for sure.  But who knows how it'll fare if a strong one hits.  That'll be a sad day, if it doesn't make it through.

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