A Plaza in a Spanish pueblo is the centre of the town, a place of meeting and mingling, dating back as far as records go. There are no architectural norms, and each pueblo presents its own plaza, specific and unique in size and shape.
From the geometric to the delightfully odd and unexpected, with worn cobbles speaking vividly of history, the plaza is traditionally flanked by
- the church
- the town’s administrative or council buildings
- the audiencia, the law centre.
In the past this was where those with legal grievances could be given an audience.
- If the town was large and the plaza more or less square, the fourth side may have contained some form of military or police presence.
Good times or wartime, crises or fiesta, this was the space where the people would gather.
A place of serious debate and celebrations, a place for the relaxed fellowship of an outdoor local market, and – when needs called – a place for the local military forces to muster.
A community has a centre of being that incorporates the spiritual and the social, as well as justice and order.
Just so must be the local church.
No matter the shape or form of it, it carries on its flanks the issues of spiritual life, of social justice, the upholding of righteousness, and the defence of the body.
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