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Among the many noble colonial buildings of Morelia, in its solemn grandeur, Morelia's Cathedral of the Divine Savior best epitomizes the austere spirit of this viceregal capital of Michoacán.

Its phases of construction span the colonial centuries, reflecting the changes in architectural style and artistic taste. The cathedral was begun as early as the 1580s but it was only in the mid-18th century that work was finally completed.

Like most Mexican cathedrals, Morelia's has a broad sculpted facade flanked by weighty bell towers. Its sober 17th century classicism was leavened with the later addition of baroque decoration.

A grand relief sculpture of The Transfiguration of Christ, conspicuously set above the center doorway, is cut from white limestone that contrasts dramatically with the rosy masonry of the surrounding facade.

The relief is carved in a direct, popular baroque style, whose animated figures and expressive faces strike an unmistakably Mexican note.

text and illustrations:copyright © Richard D. Perry. 1997

A fuller description of the Cathedral and all the major colonial monuments of Morelia can be found in the first part of our West Mexico guidebook Blue Lakes & Silver Cities.