22 January 2011

Mexican Meanders: Las Torres del Campanario

In my last post, I blogged about entering the cathedral of Mexico City. It was a huge and grand place, and I figured that it would be a great idea to climb the bell towers if I can.

And sure enough, there was a tour that would go there. That was the only part of the cathedral where a guide was needed, and so I paid my 15 pesos and joined the tour. The tour was in Spanish, and with my limited knowledge of the language, I caught bits and pieces of it, but not a lot.

There were several bells that were installed. And they were quite heavy. The weights of the bells ranged from 2 to 13 tons. This was one of them, and I don't know exactly which is which, but they were all given names, and these were names of saints.

The bell towers each had two levels, and we were only allowed on the lower level for both. There is a circular staircase that allows people to go up and down the levels. And yes, there are bells on both levels, with the more weighty bells on the lower levels.

This is how the bell tower looks like: I took this photo while standing on the roof. Bells are installed inside the arches, with bigger arches on the lower level to accommodate the heavier ones.

Walking on top of the cathedral allowed me to take pictures of the Zocalo, and it was a good thing that the skies were relatively clear. Here's a shot of the Palacio Nacional from the roof of the cathedral. This building houses the President of Mexico.

While on the roof, we weren't allowed to move much, but only in a small designated area. After all, we're walking on a roof, and the floor wasn't flat. It however, provided an interesting new perspective on the cathedral, allowing me to see something that is usually not seen, such as the outside structure of the main dome of the church. The dome above is where the weight which I showed earlier hangs.

All in all, the cathedral was a fascinating place. I considered my 15 pesos well-spent, and it was a great introduction to the city that I conquered.


  1. I am quite afraid of heights... so thank you for going up and taking pictures for me :-)

  2. Sidney,

    Haha, heights aren't a problem for me. I was glad to be of service!

  3. Now I’ll ask you to recommend a book for me if you know of a good one. I know very little about the Philippines and would like to read about its history. I read there had been a Philippines-American war and I am clueless about why and what happened. Do you have a book title on this subject?

  4. I am not a big fan of history, but I could recommend you a couple of historical novels written by Jose Rizal. He's the Filipino national hero/martyr, and every student in the Philippines is required to read his two novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. He wrote in Spanish but they are now classics and widely translated. The last time I checked, they're even available in Amazon, and Penguin Books (the big publisher of classical literature) already has an edition of Noli Me Tangere. These two novels are fiction, but they're highly allegorical of what was happening in the Philippines during the last days of the Spanish colonization.

    For an actual rendition on historical events, I think you would be better if you ask a real historian, since this is something that I am not so sure about myself, as to which book to point you at.

  5. This is neat. Unfortunately I didn't make it to the Cathedral, but its okay since I almost had colonial-church-sickness by the end of my trip. jajaja. Ah well, something for the next time I guess...

  6. Priyank,

    That might not be a bad idea. You still have extra pesos right? :P

  7. I didn't know you could climb!

    The zocalo in Mexico City is amazing. I would have spent the whole day here, watching people minding their business or just relaxing.

  8. Zhu,

    Oh yes, there's so many interesting characters in there!