account_circle Log in
add Create
cancel Log out
settings Settings
Email address


Ex-convento San Miguel Arcángel, Huejotzingo

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

▶︎ View related▼︎ Tap to hide
Mission of San Miguel is a Fortress monastery in Huejotzingo, a township in Pueblo.

Franciscans established a mission in Huejotzingo in 1529. Construction began in the late 1540s and the complex was completed in the 1570s. Juan de Alameda was the architect and engineer. All four posa chapels are still intact. The church and monastery retain original murals from the 16th and early 17th centuries. The most notable mural (c 1570) is one of the original twelve Franciscan friars who came to Mexico in 1524. Anonother notable mural is of the "Virgin of the Immaculate Conception" (16th century).

Merlon is the high segment of the alternating high and low segments of a battlement. A merlon is often square with a pyramidal cap. It is sometimes pierced, originally to allow archers to shoot from behind it, but more recently for ornamental purposes.


Atrial cross

It also has a remarkable atrial cross with the symbolism for blood.


Posa chapels were a processional chapel. There were characteristically four posas in each Central Mexico monastery, one in each corner of the atrium. Religious processions proceeded counter-clockwise around the atrium, pausing at each of the posas. Indian Barrios built posas and posas were maintained by Cofradias (religous brotherhoods).

The posas at Huijotzingo are characterized by their pyramidal roof, archway framed by colonelettes, linked fetter moldings (bonds of sin?), Franciscan knotted cords outlining an alfiz, center monogram of Christ, relief medallions (one for each of the five wounds of Christ), central symbol of the passion, and stigmata. There is a Franciscan emblem showing the central symbols of the passion: three nails; and five wounds of Christ shown as pre-Conquest glyphs for blood or feathers. The glyphs are examples of chalchihuitl glyphs, symbols of water and blood of sacrifice.

Open chapels

Open chapels with barrel vaults that connect to the atrium.


Monasteries also had porterias: an open, arcaded waiting area at the entrance to a convento or monastery.

Porteria at Huejotzingo was decorated with Nahui Ollin (movement) glyphs. The columns were thick baluster columns with plateresque decorations.


The cloister is an interior patio in a monastery surrounded by arcaded walkways.

This enclosed, secluded area found in monasteries is a place for meditation and reflection. It has a covered arcade and a central gardenfor medicinal plants used for soaps, remedies and condiments.



The preferred processional entry to a Franciscan church. The portincula at Huejotzingo commemorates the rebuilding of the tiny ruined chapel of Santa Maria degli Angeli, outside Assisi by Saint Francis. Only open on feast days, it symbolizes the portals of paradise. It has plateresque baluster columns in a minimized alfiz arrangement.

Church nave

Elegant gothic rib vaults and incredible retablo in the style of the counter-reformation. Gilded retablo frames have paintings signed by Simon Pereyns, 16th century. Windows are made of translucent alabaster.

The baptismal fonts are very thick and fleshy with flowers resembling pre-Columbian motifs. They have multiple baths, perhaps for mass-scale baptisms.


It has its own website!