There’s a very simple reason to visit this wonderful, expansive museum comprising the restored Jesuit Iglesia de San Francisco Javier and an adjacent monastery. Much of the folk art and fine art on display – silver chalices, pictures created from inlaid wood, porcelain, furniture and religious paintings and statues – comes from Mexico City cathedral’s large collection, and the standard is very high.
Once a Jesuit college of indigenous languages, the complex dates from 1606. Additions were made over the following 150 years, creating a showcase for the developing architectural styles of Nueva España.
Don’t miss the Capilla Doméstica, with a Churrigueresque main altarpiece that boasts more mirrors than a carnival fun house. The facade is a phantasmagoric array of carved saints, angels, plants and people, while the interior walls and the Camarín del Virgen adjacent to the altar are swathed with gilded ornamentation.