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Plaza de Santo Domingo

santo domingo plaza

The Other Big Square in the City Center

The Plaza de Santo Domingo is a classic city square in the northwest of the Centro Histórico, and a long term center for the city’s stationers and smaller print shops. The “Plaza 23 de Mayo,” though seldom referred to, is that section of the Santo Domingo Plaza directly in front of the temple, and separated from Santo Domingo Plaza, proper, by the Calle Belisario Domínguez.

The square is believed to be the site of the former home of Cuauhtémoc who had become tlatoani (i.e.; the last Aztec emperor) at about age 25, in 1520. The Spanish re-assigned the site, empty of any construction, to the Dominicans, who built the Temple of Santo Domingo on the north side of the square.

Most of the buildings in the area succumbed to sinking land and flooding problems and were rebuilt in the 18th century. This mass rebuilding led to a bit more harmony in the area and many buildings in the immediate vicinity share the New Spanish Baroque style. Besides the Temple of Santo Domingo, visitors can also see:

  • The Palace of the Inquisition
  • The old Customs Building, today the offices of the Secretariat of Education
  • The building of the Portals and Evangelists by architects Diego Pedraza and Juan Jaramillo.
  • The Chapel of Our Lord of Atonement (Capilla Señor de la Expiación), across Calle Bellisario Dominguez facing Plaza 23 de Mayo.
  • A fountain by Italian sculptor Enrique Alciati. It depicts the independence heroine, Doña Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, known to history as “La Corregidora.”

Alciati is better known for having sculpted the Angel of Independence, and for the statue of Benito Juarez presented as a gift to the United States. That work is presently in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, DC, near the Department of State.

Since the 19th century, the portals on the west side of the plaza have been a center of scribes, often locally called “evangelists.” The job of  writing letters began here with feathers, and jars of ink, and only later involved typewriters. The current stationers still provide printing services related to social events, academic theses, tax vouchers, titles, and professional certificates.

The imperial General, Santiago Vidaurri, is said to have been executed here, by firing squad, on July 8, 1867, for his collaboration with the government of Maximiliano of Habsburg.

Price: FREE


República de Brasil s/n, Col. Centro.