Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Bell towers of the Cathedral of Mexico

The bell towers were practically the last sections of the Cathedral to be built. The first bell tower to be built was the east tower. Each stage of the tower had four sides. If you look at the bottom level of this bell tower, you will see that it has an opening or window for a major bell weigh several tons, and then four other openings for smaller bells.

The ladder connecting the first stage of the bell tower to the second higher level is a wonderful work of workmanship in wood. The stairway is not round in shape but elliptical. The main vertical supports are made out of very tall tree trunks, in one piece and not connections. In fact, there are no nails or bolts in the whole stairway structure. This stairway, for reasons of security, is closed to the public.

The largest bell in this belfry is the Doña Maria, 
Cast in 1575 and was part of the first Cathedral. 

Most of the bells in the east tower are hanging bells,
Where one has to pull the clapper with a rope to ring the bell.

This picture reveals a sad fact about the towers.
They have a capacity for 90 bells,
but they only have 38 bells.

This is a swinging bell. This bell is swung on its axis, 
And finally does a full-flip over.
It is very dangerous to come near the bell,
When it is flipping and swaying. 
It is amazing to watch the bell tollers,
as they literally hang from the rim of the bells,
and the bell picks them up from the ground.
There have been, unfortunately, fatal accidents.

One of the largest bells is Santa Maria de Guadalupe,
Over in the west tower.
The red cross marks the "forgiven" bell

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