The cathedral was built atop Templo Mayor, the Aztec temple where human sacrifices were performed and where the emperor stood on a ritual throne.
The conquistadors ordered a cathedral to be built on top of this sacred site, showing their domination over the Aztec people and furthering the Christianization of Mexico.
The construction began in 1573 and remained a work in progress during the entire colonial period, resulting in a mix of architectural styles, with successive generations of builders striving to incorporate the innovations of the day.
Upon entering, you'll see an elaborately carved and gilded altar of forgiveness. The altar was given its dark colour when it absorbed poison from a clergyman's lips. Behind it is the 18th-century altar of the kings, which is covered with gold leaf.
The cathedral has 14 chapels on each side, as well as intricately carved choir stalls by Juan de Rojas that were built in the 17th century.
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