It is hard to imagine what Tlaxala, Tlaxcala, looked like when the Spanish, i.e, Cortez and his conquistadors, made it their home base in order to conquer the Azetecs in nearby Mexico city. However, we do have some idea what the priests that accompanied him were doing by the architecture they left behind. They built the first open or outdoor chapel, the first church building, and the first bell tower in what is now the downtown centro of Tlaxcala. The approach to the church building and bell tower is just off the main plaza (from the secondary plaza’s corner), and it looks like this.
Of course, in the 1500s their where no trees, just a wide bare ramp for crowds of people to travel UP and pass UNDER the bell tower passage way and to the church building and the open air chapel. Standing in front of the church building and looking back, one now sees the following view of the elevated passage way of the bell tower.
Instead of having you turn slightly to the right and observing the actual first church building on the continent, we will now go a bit farther and look at the first open air chapel because it was built first.
But, wouldn’t it be nice to just see how it actually looked in the 1500s WITHOUT the trees and vendors and WITH only the people? Thanks to builders of models, we can do just that. Click on the next two thumbnails to what Cortez would have seen.
And, we end with a wide view of the outdoor chapel and a sign describing its unique contribution to this continent. Our guide, Robert Cox (Mexico Mystic), added that the chapel was the only place at first the native people of Mexico would gather (in front of ) because they were afraid to enter buildings.