Puebla’s flavorful colonial center

Known for its flavorful food, the architecture of Puebla’s historic center also has a wide variety of flavors.

The city was founded in 1531 by the invading Spanish, on a site that had not been settled previously. Because the urban engineers and planners were not bound by an existing street or trail infrastructure; they were free to define the city on a grid pattern around the typical rectangular central plaza.

Surrounding this plaza, or “zocalo,” the Spaniards built up their new city over the subsequent centuries. The style and character of the colonial period is evident even now in the architecture of the historic center, mixed in with later styles that were, in their times, the latest trends.

All that variety of original architectural style is matched by all the variety of existing states of decay, adding to the satisfying palate/palette of flavorful downtown Puebla.

Here’s a selection of some of my favorite images from downtown Puebla.

A state office building adjacent to Puebla’s Zocalo.
Bullet holes mar the facade of the Casa de los Hermanos Serdan, which now houses the Museo de la Revolucion Mexicana.
A central courtyard in the oldest part of the historic center of Puebla.
The Zocalo, the main square, has been a gathering place for Puebla’s citizens for almost 500 years.
The horses and burros of the sixteenth century have long since been replaced by cars on Puebla’s central streets.
This 100-year-old archway serves as an entrance to a modern shopping center.
The metal gate of an old building in historic central Puebla.
The newly restored Pasaje del Ayuntamiento, or “city hall passageway,” originally served as a special entrance to the Zocalo for Puebla’s elites.
The old and the new combined on the streets of historic central Puebla.
Appropriately colorful, this building contains a paint shop and hardware store.
A large wooden door on one of central Puebla’s oldest buildings.
Adjacent to the Zocalo, restaurants and cafes offer shade and refreshment.
Detail of a old wrought-iron gate in Puebla’s historic center.
Wooden bracing holds up Puebla’s famous Casa del Alfeñique after it was damaged in the September 19, 2018, earthquake. The building is undergoing repairs and is scheduled to reopen in October 2018.