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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Plaza Santo Domingo

Mexico City, Mexico

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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Mexico City is steeped in history of all sorts.

One could spend countless hours reading the personal stories of the characters who have lived in the city over the centuries and the wars and bloody violence performed here. Mexico City is the oldest capital city in the Americas and founded by Aztecs in 1325. It was originally built on an island of Lake Texcoco and was called Tenochtitlan.

The Spanish Conquistadores came and destroyed this whole area in 1521, and then rebuilt it to Spanish standards. We now call the buildings Colonial Architecture, which we have come to accept as being beautiful. This place has been known as Mexico City since 1585.

Plaza Santo Domingo

Here in the center of the photo you see the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. Due to poor construction, the soft soil, and earthquakes, the current church you see here is the third one built on this site. The front is made from a deep red volcanic stone and the entrance is mostly cantera, a white/grey stone.

To the right of the photo you see the Inquisition Palace. It has a flat front so that it can face the plaza, and both streets on either side of the building lead squarely to it. At the time of construction, this design was considered innovative and attractive. However, over the years, it earned the name of "Squat-faced House" to describe the doorway.

The Tribunal of the Holy Inquisition was not fully established here until 1571. For those of you who might not know of the Inquisition, this was a group of Vatican approved institutions within the Catholic Church's governing body whose aim was to combat heresy. Ferdinand and Isabela, the King and Queen of Spain, sought to unite their country and "purify" the people and made a request to the Pope to spread the Inquisition to their country, territories and conquered lands.

 

It was a dark time in the Church, imprisoning, torturing and decapitating "heretics." This building served as the headquarters of the Inquisition and it had hearing rooms, judges chambers, a secret chamber, a jail and accommodations for two inquisitors.

The Inquisition was officially disbanded in Mexico in 1820.

Today it serves as the Museum of Mexican Medicine.

The view out to the plaza from the Cathedral

It's a wide open square and the building to the left also has that deep red volcanic stone as part of its construction. There is a fountain in the center left.

A closer look at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo

Here you get a better view of the Church front with the red stone making up a large percentage of the construction. Notice that the building on the left has this same color of stone.

There used to be several smaller churches to the left of the Cathedral, one was especially for teaching the morenos or the dark, indigenous people. Those churches are no longer there.

Inside Cathedral Santo Domingo

As in many cathedrals, inside is beautiful and stately. This church doesn't have as much gold leaf as the Church of Santo Domingo in Oaxaca, Mexico, but it is beautiful nonetheless. 

To the left is the Cathedral

This is another square behind the Church arches. A movie was being filmed here and we watched the camera crew and actors working.

Ancient and modern together

To the right in the photo you will see the original walls of the convent which housed the nuns in service to Santo Domingo Cathedral. Because the ground is so soft and used to be a lakebed, buildings over the years are sinking. In this particular case, the walls on the right in the photo and the walls on the left (outside the photo) leaned in opposing directions, and the roof collapsed.

In the center here now, is a modern auditorium where plays and concerts are presented.

A different view of the convent from the auditorium

On the right is the opposing wall, and on the left is the wall in the previous photo. As you can see, the roof is gone, but parts of the face of the convent still stands. Inside the rooms of the convent you can still see original murals on the wall: angels, clouds, famous people of the Church and gold banners written in either Latin or Spanish.

From the front of the convent looking down the square

There was not a lot of foot traffic on this day. You can see how clean the street is, and how old walkways have been modernized all into one level. No more cobblestones or broken sidewalks.

 

Fountain in the Plaza

The Cathedral is to the right outside of the photo. We are looking at a building that houses dozens and dozens of printing and scribing businesses. I don't know who the man sitting in the chair atop the fountain is. He looks like a cleric, rather than a political figure.

Aries Printing

This is cupboard number 9 and is called Aries printing. Apparently you can get business cards printed here in these shops in about an hour.

This sign advertises that they do social and commercial work.

A closer look at the businesses working out of this building

Clerks, secretaries and transcribers all work here with old typewriters (not electric!) and antique printing machines. They offer their services to illiterate clients similar to what a lawyer, counselor or a financial consultant might do.

 

You can also get anniversary cards, wedding invitations, and Quinceanos party cards made here as well.  

Keeping cool with blocks of ice

Yes, blocks of ice are still delivered to businesses in this day and age. This vendor is prepared and also has a bag of ice cubes available for sale as well.

From the Inquisition Palace back to the Plaza

Another view of the Plaza from the Inquisition Palace.

Because of its affiliation with the Inquisition, this Palace had a hard time being sold to other businesses who might want to be located here. So much death, torture and personal destruction marred the reputation of the building for decades and decades.

Now it is the Museum of Mexican Medicine, but I wonder how it feels inside. Years ago when we were visiting Ha Noi, Vietnam, we visited the "Ha Noi Hilton" . Even though all the prisoners and guards have been long gone, it didn't take too much imagination to "hear" the screams and see the physical suffering that took place within those walls.

It all leaves me a bit speechless. 

For more photos and stories of Mexico, click here

 

About the Authors

 
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.


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