The conventual temple of Santo Domingo de Guzmán is a Catholic Church that belongs to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Province of Santiago de México, of the Order of Preachers, within the archdiocese of the city of Puebla, under the invocation of San Miguel Arcángel.
It communicates the body of the temple with the great Chapel of the Rosary, a splendid example of the New Spain Baroque, considered in its time as the “eighth wonder of the world”.
The foundation of the conventual temple
The order of Dominican preachers was the second to arrive in Mexico in 1526, and in April 1534 a vicar of the order of Santo Domingo was already residing in Puebla.
Fray Julián Garcés was a member of this order who was appointed as the first bishop of Tlaxcala based in Puebla and the first in America who granted his religion, in the newly founded city, some lots destined for his Greater Church.
At the end of 1534, according to a request from the city to the Royal Court, they already had a provisional church and were in the process of building a large one, which formally began in 1571 and in which the architect Francisco Becerra himself intervened. owes the layout of the Angelopolitan Cathedral.
The convent received a water grant in 1549 when the Dominican friars found springs near the road to Tlaxcala and in 1551 they opened three spills or fountains from which the city was supplied.
According to Carrión, the temple was started in 1571 to finish, except for the dome and the tower, in 1611. But an inscription on the floor of the temple seems to contradict him: “The year of 1659 finished”.
Later it was added with modern letters “Reformed 1901” referring to the transformation of the parquet floor of the temple in the slabs of St. Thomas that are currently observed.
The Chapel of the Rosary, which deserves a part theme, was inaugurated in 1690, and the tower, the last architectural element to be undertaken in 1801, was never completed.
Architectural characteristics of the Church of Santo Domingo
The plant is a nave in the shape of a Latin cross, without a dome, the transept leads to the sumptuous Chapel of the Rosary.
The gray stone façade is a purist, an example of the few facades of this style in Mexico. It consists of two sections with a final, in the first, next to the arch, two pairs of Tuscan columns stand attached.
The second with two pairs of smooth columns flanking a large square window and below it an image of Saint Michael in marble.
At the top of the façade, there is a statue of Santo Domingo in marble from Tecáli, and above it is a Greek cross, the coat of arms of the Dominican order surrounded by a rosary.
It is flanked by two dogs with a torch in their snouts and a balloon between their feet, a symbol of its founder.
The Convent gate
Making an angle with the facade of the temple is the old convent gate, keeping the style of all the conventual temples, today it is part of the José Luis Bello y Zetina Museum, as it ceased to be part of the architectural complex when the goods were transferred by virtue of the Reform Laws, it was then acquired by the wealthy merchant José Luis Bello y Acedo who in turn inherited it from his son José Luis who kept it until 1968, the year he died and currently houses his art collection.
This façade, an example of the most beautiful exterior Puebla baroque, housed the Pilgrims’ Portal and inside the Chapel of Profundis that served for the burial of the religious, currently its three-walled arches and in the upper part with exuberant Mannerist decoration are observed. the windows today turned into balconies.
In both arms of the transept, there are rich Churrigueresque altarpieces and on the side of the epistle, in large format, a painting attributed to Alonso López de Herrera representing the Santo Domingo Transit.
The large patio was paved with slabs carved in 1780 and was formerly enclosed with walls. Until 1826 it was customary to make a representation of the battle between Moors and Christians in the atrium that is still represented in some towns and neighborhoods today.
In the atrium, two ill-formed ships were placed on wheels, in one don Juan de Austria, brother of Felipe II and victor (victor) in the naval Battle of Lepanto (1571) against the Turks, and in another the Moors. Our Lady of the Rosary arrived, leaving the Cathedral and waiting at the door, looking inside.
They lit the rockets that made a lot of noise, and when it was finished, Don Juan de Austria left his ship, already victorious, he would give thanks to Our Lady, and the image was withdrawn.
In 1873, with the loss of spaces that resulted from the confiscation of ecclesiastical property, its atrium was divided to serve as shops, forming a small alley between the temple and those buildings.
In 1986, the state government together with the City Council returned the atrium space to the city in its original splendor.