The Temple of San Fernando is located in a place
which, at the time of the viceroyalty, was
practically on the outskirts of Mexico City on the
Old Road to Tacuba, now Puente de Alvarado avenue.
Today, this temple stands in the middle of important
avenues and its atrium, which has been turned into a
pleasant square, represents the western limit of the
area that holds historical monuments in the centre
of the city.
The temple was built in 1735 by the Franciscan
missionaries of the Propaganda Fide College, an
institution which prepared the priests whose job it
would be to spread the Christian faith in distant
territories such as the Philipines and other places
of the Orient; the architectural complex included a
college and cemetery. The temple displays several
elements which are characteristic to the builidings
constructed in Mexico City during the 18th
Century, like the combination of tezontle stone and
grey quarry stone from Chiluca used around the
windows of the thick walls. The main fašade is
Baroque, richly ornate with fluted and estipite
columns as well as various high reliefs and an
octagonal belltower. In the interior, the temple
boasts a beautiful, golden altar which contrasts
with the relative sobriety of the whole.
When the goods of the clergy were confiscated during
the 19th Century, a great amount of the
property was sold with the intention of using the
land to increase the city's area by broadening its
limits, which means that, today, a large part of the
original construction is missing.
The temple's surrounding area is unfortunately in a
bad state and represents a call for atention to the
integral restoration of not only the San Fernando
square, but its surroundings as well, which in spite
of their neglect, represent one of the most pleasant
open spaces of the Historical Centre.