Classic Spanish archways stretch down the main hall, their white paint trimmed with gold emulating the purity of the Virgin Mary, to whom the Ponce Cathedral is decorated. Located in downtown Ponce, Puerto Rico, this cathedral is a remarkable place to visit, whether it’s to attend a Sunday service, or to experience this unique part of history.
This Cathedral was originally built as a small chapel in 1670, dedicated to the Lady of Guadalupe, the Virgin Mary. Over the years, fires, earthquakes, and tropical storms have ruined the original church. Since its construction, it has been remodeled and rebuilt many times, each more beautiful than the last. The latest reconstruction was in 1931, which gave the once small chapel a more cathedral like atmosphere. Today, the 1930’s model still stands, incorporating the salvageable remnants of each past construction that has been destroyed.
As one of the oldest churches in Puerto Rico (though it may not seem like it because of the modern architecture), the cathedral does an excellent job portraying classic Spanish architecture. Throughout the interior of the cathedral, archways are everywhere you look. The baby blue ceiling, the same color as the sky outside, is arched in the most dramatic of ways, and ornamented with gold linings that exaggerate the half circle ceiling. Lining the pews are white pillars that support bold dramatic arches, stretching all the way down the tiled hallway. Identical crystal chandeliers stretch down the main room where mass is held, and glistening organ pipes arc to touch the ceiling. On every border, stain glass windows with portraits of Virgin Mary and her holy child make the sun’s rays dance through them to light up the cathedral.
Though the interior portrays typical Spanish architecture, the exterior displays a more modern style. With everything starchy white and geometrically symmetrical, it is an entirely different sort of beauty. While the interior of the Ponce Cathedral flows smoothly through arches and detailed designs and bright coloring, the exterior of the chapel is made of clean cut lines and geometric figures, making an entirely different sort of detail.
The Ponce Cathedral is a spectacular sight, and an incredible part of history. Whether you plan on attending a sermon, or simply want to tour this remarkable piece of history, it is definitely worth a visit. Free of cost, this is an excellent place to visit and tour for history buffs, religious experts, architects, or for the simply curious at heart.