Catedral de Merida
The Door of Forgiveness leads into the first cathedral completed in the Americas, which is dedicated to San Ildefonso of Toledo. Construction began in 1562 on this sober, Renaissance-style house of worship, which was completed in 1599. It rises 42 meters above the Zócalo. If the interior seems sparsely decorated it is because anti-church vigilantes ransacked the cathedral in 1915, destroying its 18th century gilded altar and the chapels dedicated to St. Joseph and the Rosary. You can still visit the chapels on the north side, including the one containing the much-beloved statue of Christ of the Blisters. In September and October of each year the Christ of the Blisters is carried daily from the cathedral and through the streets, venerated by local workers' syndicates – think butcher, baker and candlestick maker. "Los Gremios," as the processions are called, are noisy, colorful affairs with each syndicate trying to outdo the others.
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