Sinking & Leaning

by afatpurplefig


So, Mexico is sinking…

The Aztecs established their capital on what was once an island, but when the Spaniards conquered the Aztec empire in the sixteenth century, they razed the buildings and filled in all the waterways, replacing them with streets and squares.

As a result, Mexico is sinking…except it isn’t sinking evenly (what with the remains of the ancient city beneath it), so its buildings are all on the lean. It can be seen all over the city, where streets that were once flat and straight have started to undulate. And it is particularly noticeable inside many of the buildings of the Zócalo, where floors never seem quite flat, and walls never seem quite straight.

The Basilica of Guadalupe, however, is a different matter altogether.

It is already an incredible place. The most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world, it attracts 20 million people every year, with 6 million of them turning up on the 12th December alone, to commemorate the day that Our Lady of Guadalupe revealed herself to Juan Diego.

I had planned to write something more specific about the methods utilised to establish the Catholic faith that is now held so dear to so many Mexicans, who see Guadalupe as their collective mother, but I really don’t want to be dismissive about something that it so important as to bring entire families to the basilica to walk on their knees in the square, in thanks and supplication.

Instead, take a look at the sinking and leaning going on here:


The parts of the buildings that house the bells sink fastest, as seen in the church on the right.



And, here she is, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe from the sixteen century, on a piece of cloth that shouldn’t have lasted more than 20 or 30 years. I had to wait in a throng of devotees, and navigate a series of moving walkways to get these shots.

If I’d accidentally left the flash on, I fear I may have been arrested.