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Colegio de las Vizcaínas

Photo: AlejandroLinaresGarcia on Wikimedia Commons

The Colegio de las Vizcaínas is a building that feels like an entire street. And not a street from our century, either.

The Colelgio de San Ignacio de Loyola Vizcaínas is probably too big be photographed, and its name, Vizcaínas, is just as apt to be used for the street outside and the plaza on the other side. It’s that big. And Vizcaínas is fascinating, deep, dark, and often overlooked, but in part because you can just glance at it and know it would take a lifetime to study its mystery, its shadow, and its very essence. It’s frankly a bit overwhelming.

Having operated as a school since it was founded in 1734, it’s accepted students and taught them ever since. The only school in Mexico to have continuously  operated since colonial times, they still run kids from preschool straight through high school.

One José Miguel de Rivera Saravia a master, or dilettante of the Baroque, designed the massive structure and it has been studied ever since. He’d been responsible, in 1725, for the Church and Convent of San Matías Apóstol de Iztalaco. That parish church seems almost quaint in comparison. (It’s impressive too.)

The Colegio de Vizcaínas today houses a museum with an impressive collections of oil paintings by colonial artists like Miguel Cabrera, José de Ibarra, Cristobal Villalpando and others. There are also cane, wood and ivory carvings, embroidery, musical instruments, liturgical objects, books, and pharmaceutical items from the time of its construction.

Tours are offered on Wednesdays only and a much better view of the facilities can thus be had. As it is, Vizcaínas is almost too big to experience without the tour, but well worth wondering about, even if your only passing by on a lonely and rainy evening.


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