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Notes on the Geography of Mexico: Mexico City: Photo 35

world pictures Mexico: Mexico City

The Jesuit's Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso was founded in 1575 to oversee the training of priests in Mexico, and the adjoining Church of San Pedro y San Pablo was completed in 1603 and remained in use until the Jesuits were expelled. (The educational function is hinted at by the small figure of Pallas Athena in the pediment and perhaps as well by the Spanish coat-of-arms that survives at the top of the building.)

The church was then used as a barracks and subsequently by the Augustinians. The Jesuits were allowed to return in 1816 but found the church nearly in ruins. With Independence, the church was used for political assemblies including the convention that created Mexico's first constitution. The building reopened as a church in 1832, but Juarez made it part of the National Preparatory School in 1867, and in 1929 it became the library of the National University of Mexico, which reassigned the space in 1996 to become the Museo de la Luz, a science museum.

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