What religious organization once had its headquarters on one side of this plaza?
On another side of the plaza is a colonnade where a group of people have been practicing their unique profession since colonial times. Can you name their occupation?
Joan, who correctly answered my two previous quizzes, is on a roll. She identified the photo as the Plaza de Santo Domingo, named after the church of the same name which dominates the square.
Now can anyone answer the bonus questions???
Before I could even finish writing the above update, Joan attempted to answer the bonus questions. She correctly answered the second question.
The colonnade along the west side of the plaza has long been known as the "portal" of the scribes. In days past when much of the population was illiterate, people would go to the scribes to have letters written or documents filled out.
Since most of today's population is literate, there is no longer a demand for the professional letter writers. Today the "portal" is filled with merchants who print business cards and invitations.
One bonus question remains to be answered. What religious organization once had its headquarters on one side of the plaza?
Joan correctly answered the first bonus question. It is true, as Joan pointed out, that the Church and Monastery of Santo Domingo were the seat of the Dominican order in Mexico, but the religious institution that I was looking for was the Inquisition. The Spanish brought with them the dreaded Church tribunal to root out heresy in their New World colonies. The headquarters of the Inquisition in Mexico were located on the Plaza of Santo Domingo... a logical place, since the Dominicans were in charge of the tribunal.
When Mexico won its independence from Spain, the Inquisition was abolished. The building became the School of Medicine of the University of Mexico (UNAM). In the 1950s the University moved to its new campus, but UNAM still owns the building. It now contains the Museum of Medicine. More recently, a second museum, the Museum of the Inquisition, was established in the building. I visited that museum last year, and although it has some interesting information about the Inquisition, I found the exhibits to be quite tacky, like something out of a wax museum.
Congratulations to Joan!