Historic Centre of Puebla

Historic Centre of Puebla

Puebla, which was founded ex nihilo in 1531, is situated about 100 km east of Mexico City, at the foot of the Popocatepetl volcano. It has preserved its great religious structures such as the 16th–17th-century cathedral and fine buildings like the old archbishop's palace, as well as a host of houses with walls covered in tiles (azulejos). The new aesthetic concepts resulting from the fusion of European and American styles were adopted locally and are peculiar to the Baroque district of Puebla.

Centre historique de Puebla

À une centaine de kilomètres à l'est de Mexico, au pied du Popocatepetl, Puebla, fondée ex nihilo en 1531 et devenue une grande ville, a conservé à la fois de grands édifices religieux, comme la cathédrale (XVIe et XVIIe siècles), de superbes palais, dont l'ancien archevêché, et une foule de maisons au revêtement mural d'azulejos. Ces nouvelles manifestations esthétiques, nées de la fusion des styles européen et américain, ont été adoptées localement et sont uniques dans le quartier baroque de Puebla.

الوسط التاريخي في بويبلا

على بُعد 100 كلم تقريبًا من شرق مكسيكو وعند أسفل بوبوكاتيبيتل، تأسَّست بويبلا في العام 1531 وهي لم تكن موجودةً في السابق وصارت مدينة كبيرة. وحافظت هذه المدينة في الوقت نفسه على العمارات الدينية الكبيرة، مثل الكاتدرائية (القرن السادس عشر والقرن السابع عشر) وعلى قصور رائعة من بينها المطرانية وعلى مجموعة من المنازل جدرانها ملبّسة بمربّعات من الخزف المطلي بالميناء والمنقوش. فهذه المظاهر الجمالية التي وُلدت من اندماج الاسلوبَيْن الاوروبي والاميركي، تمّ تبنّيها محليًّا وهي كانت فريدةً في الحي الباروكي في مدينة بويبلا.

source: UNESCO/ERI

普埃布拉历史中心

普埃布拉城建于1531年,位于墨西哥城东约100公里的波波卡特佩特火山山脚下。那里保留着许多重要的宗教建筑,包括公元16世纪至17世纪修建的大教堂、古老的大主教宫殿和许多用瓷砖(上光花砖)装饰的房屋。这些新的美学理念来源于欧洲风格、美洲风格与当地特色的融合,这一点可以从普埃布拉地区的巴洛克风格中很好地看出来。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Исторический центр города Пуэбла

Город Пуэбла, который был основан в 1531 г. на ранее пустовавшем месте, расположен примерно в 100 км к востоку от Мехико, у подножия вулкана Попокатепетль. Здесь сохранились такие выдающиеся религиозные сооружения как кафедральный собор XVI-XVII вв., прекрасные здания, подобные старому дворцу архиепископа, а также целый ряд жилых домов со стенами, облицованными цветными изразцами – «азулейжос». Новые эстетические концепции, базирующиеся на сочетании европейского и американского стилей, были адаптированы к местным условиям и являются характерными для барочного района Пуэблы.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Centro histórico de Puebla

Situada a unos 100 kilómetros al este de México, al pie del volcán Popocatepetl, la ciudad de Puebla fue fundada ex nihilo en 1531. Ha conservado grandes edificios religiosos, como la catedral que data de los siglos XVI y XVII, palacios magníficos, como el del arzobispado, y un gran número de casas con paredes cubiertas de azulejos. El barrio barroco de la ciudad es único en su género, debido a la adaptación local de los nuevos conceptos estéticos surgidos de la fusión de los estilos arquitectónicos y artísticos de Europa y América.

source: UNESCO/ERI

プエブラ歴史地区

source: NFUAJ

Historisch centrum van Puebla

De historische stad Puebla – uit het niets gesticht in 1531 – ligt op ongeveer 100 kilometer ten oosten van Mexico Stad, aan de voet van de vulkaan Popocatepetl (een van de hoogste vulkanen in Mexico). De grote religieuze bouwwerken van de stad zijn bewaard gebleven, waaronder de 16e en 17e-eeuwse kathedraal, maar ook mooie gebouwen zoals het oude aartsbisschoppelijk paleis. Verder resteert er een groot aantal huizen met betegelde (azulejos) muren. De nieuwe esthetische concepten – het gevolg van de mengeling van Europese en Amerikaanse stijlen – werden lokaal toegepast en zijn karakteristiek voor de barokke wijk van Puebla.

Source: unesco.nl

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Outstanding Universal Value

Brief Synthesis

The city of Puebla de los Ángeles was founded ex nihilo in 1531, among the boundaries of the indigenous dominions of Tlaxcala, Cholula and Cuauhtinchan, following Spain’s regal recommendations to not take possession of indigenous territories. The original city Ciudad de los Angeles was laid out according to a Renaissance urban grid formed by rectangular squares laid out in a northeast-southeast orientation.

The city is situated in the Valley of Cuetlaxcoapan at the foot of one of Mexico’s highest volcanoes, known as Popocatepetl. It commands a strategic location on the commercial and cultural trade route betweeen the Port of Veracruz and Mexico City, approximately 100 kilometres to the west, which allowed Puebla to be an important intermediate point and a core part of the Atlantic axle for over two centuries.

The city exercised considerable influence in the 16thcentury and was the recipient of several nobility titles during this century. 1532, it received the “Title of city”(as the city was founded in 1531) and in 1538 the “Coat of arms”; both given by Charles V and signed by his wife, Elizabeth from Portugal. In 1558, it received the appointment as “Noble and Loyal City of Los Angeles” and, in 1576, by means of another Royal decree, it was declared “Very Noble and Very Loyal City of Los Angeles”. Many buildings from the 16th and 17th century have survived including the university founded in 1587 as Colegio del Espíritu Santo, major religious structures such as the Cathedral (dating from 1575), and fine buildings like the former archbishop's palace, the location of the Palafox Library established in 1646 and credited with being the first library in the Americas. Many houses are clad in coloured tiles known as azulejos. The use of these tiles illustrates a new aesthetic concept and the fusion of European and American styles particular to the Baroque district of Puebla.

Reform laws in the mid-19th century required the closing of many religious institutions, which impacted the urban landscape. However, this era also saw the rise of high-quality public and private architecture.

Criterion (ii):  Puebla’s strategic location on a major transportation corridor permitted the exportation of its regional style of Baroque architecture, a fusion of European and indigenous styles, after the 16th century. The urban design of the historic centre based on a Renaissance grid plan has exerted a considerable influence on the creation of colonial cities across the country.

Criterion (iv): As an untouched urban network, the Historic Centre of Puebla is composed of major religious buildings such as the Cathedral, the churches of Santo Domingo, San Francisco, and the Jesuit Church, superb palaces including the old archbishop’s palace the location of the Palafox Library, the university, and many houses whose walls are covered with gaily coloured tiles (azulejos). 

Integrity 

The Historic Centre of Puebla has retained its integrity primarily through the retention and extension of the original Renaissance grid plan laid out the mid-16th century. It is currently preserved by the protected perimeter or buffer zone around the historic core. Moreover, there are a large number of religious, public and residential buildings illustrating the city’s evolution from the 16th to the 19th century.

One of the threats to the property’s integrity is its overall deterioration and the lack of regular maintenance of the building stock. The exceptional character of the religious architecture, for the most part, is well preserved and retains a great part of its original design. Because there are many public buildings, they are found in various states of deterioration and restoration. In general, the buildings in the best condition are those still used for their original purpose as administrative, educational and cultural institutions. Furthermore, these buildings often have restoration programmes in place to preserve their historic values. While some of the deterioration to residential buildings has been addressed, this is, for the most part, not adequate. Much of this restoration is the result of municipal programmes. 

Additional threats within the historic core have been identified relating to uncontrolled tourism development as well as inappropriate demolitions and development. The region is subject to natural disasters, such as strong earthquakes and floods. Damage occurred during the 1999 earthquake has been largely repaired.

Authenticity

The original urban rectangular grid plan, based on Renaissance design, is still partially visible although due to rapid population growth and industrialization, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish the historic city. During the mid-19th century, the Reform Laws (1857) resulted in major changes in the use of buildings including the closing of many large convents. Regardless, the historic centre still contains many significant religious buildings such as the Cathedral, the churches of San Francisco, Santo Domingo, the Jesuit Church, and the former archbishop’s palace.

The construction systems and the handling of materials illustrate the architectural styles through time, the historical events, and the evolution of the city. All these attributes, provide the Historical Centre of Puebla the necessary elements to preserve its ‘spirit of the place’ safeguarding its cultural authenticity. 

Protection and management requirements

Restoration of individual buildings dates from the 1940s when private sector funds were provided for the restoration of the Cathedral. During the middle of the century, the government supported the façade restoration of the Church del Carmen. Since the 1970s, heritage protection and restoration has been carried out in a more organized fashion with additional regulations and government programmes at both the State and local levels. Specific legislation is under the Political Constitution of the United States of Mexico, General Law of Human Settlements, Political Constitution of the State of Puebla, Urban Development Law of the State of Puebla, and municipal Organic Law. The city is protected through the “Law of protection and preservation of typical villages and natural beauty of the State of Puebla”.

The Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH) provides technical assistance for restoration with the assistance of Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA), the Ministry of Infrastructure of the State of Puebla, the Ministry of Public Work and Urban Development of the City of Puebla and the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. Financing is provided primarily through INAH with federal, state, and municipal funds for specific projects. A revised Plan de Regeneración y/o Redensificación Urbana de la Zona de Monumentos y su entorno Cuidad de Puebla was completed in September 2012. Today, a university consortium has been created with the participation of the main institutions of the State Higher Education which are currently in charge of the performance of updating the Partial Program of the Historical Centre and the realization of the management plan to establish the goal image to be reached in 2031. 

Out of the need of having an organization responsible  for the rescue, preservation, protection, promotion and diffusion of the Historical Centre, the agency for the Historical Centre and Heritage is in the process of being created.

The Plan de Regeneración y/o Redensificación Urbana de la Zona de Monumentos y su entorno Cuidad de Puebla, whose completion was encouraged by the World Heritage Committee in 2003, has documented strategies to address a number of the concerns related to the preservation of the historic core including the preservation of historic and artistic monuments and sympathetic infill development.

Long Description

In an untouched urban network, the Historic Centre of Puebla comprises major religious buildings such as the Cathedral Santo Domingo and the Jesuit Church, as well as superb palaces such as the host of old houses whose walls are covered in gaily coloured tiles (azulejos). Although 19th-century transformations resulting from the Reform Laws (1857) modified the urban landscape through the closing of many convents, they made it possible for Puebla to be endowed with high-quality public and private architecture.

Puebla and Cholula lie some 100 km east of Mexico City, at the foot of Popocatepetl, one of the highest volcanoes in Mexico. The two cities constitute the same type of colonial city/pre-Hispanic city combination as Oaxaca and Monte Albán further to the south.

The two cities, which are about 12 km apart, are very closely associated with the history of New Spain and Mexico. Cortés reached Cholula during the summer of 1519 and it was there that he ordered one of the bloodiest massacres of the entire conquest, with the number of victims among the population reaching between 3,000 and 6,000.

It was in Puebla on 5 May 1862, that General Zaragoza won the first significant victory over the French expeditionary corps. The city was subsequently renamed Puebla de Zaragoza in memory of this event of national importance.

The cultural heritage of Cholula and Puebla, which is of considerable interest, cannot be reduced to such simple definitions as an archaeological site or a historic centre.

In Cholula the Spanish city was built on the ruins of the temples which were burnt during the massacre of 1519. Legend has it that the Spaniards, by building a church on the site of each temple, founded a total of 365 churches, one for each day of the year. This is clearly an exaggeration, but the church of San Gabriél, which the Franciscan began building in 1549, lies in fact on the site of the Quetzalcoatl Sanctuary, and Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, which was built in the 18th century at the very top of the enormous acropolis-pyramid clearly illustrates an unbroken historical continuity stretching from pre-Hispanic times to the present day.

In Puebla, the urban layout of the 'Ciudad de los Angelos', founded ex nihilo in 1531, has been greatly extended into the Cuetlaxcoapan valley. It is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish the original historic city from the highly industrialized (steelworks, mechanical constructions, canning factories) conurbation of over 1 million inhabitants, and the balance between the new city and the old Indian city has been lost for good. Cholula now appears to be just a western suburb of Puebla and it is bound to merge with the state capital in the medium term, even if the two communities remain district.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC