Saturday, November 16, 2013



The second day we spent all day in Guadalajara. We started in the historical district and worked our way to the shops. Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico and birthplace of the mariachi band, is a bustling metropolitan city that is alive with parks, monuments and historical 16th century buildings.

The first site we engaged in was the government palace. The government palace, or Palacio de Gobierno, is located on the east side of the Plaza de Armas. This building dates from the second half of the 18th century, and was built to replace an adobe structure which had been in use since 1643. The baroque facade was completed in 1774, and the building was completed in 1790.

The Government Palace was first occupied by the governors of New Galicia during the colonial period and later served as a residence for Miguel Hidalgo, who, in 1810, passed a law abolishing slavery in Mexico from this very palace.

From February 14 to March 20, 1858, the building was the official seat of the Mexican federal government, when President Benito Juarez and his cabinet resided in Guadalajara during the Reform War.

Famed muralist Jose Clemente Orozco painted Miguel Hidalgo, the father of Mexican Independence in the main staircase of Guadalajara's government palace in 1937. This mural shows Hidalgo brandishing a fiery torch at shadowy figures representing oppression and slavery.

Orozco painted another mural in this building, in the State Congress chamber on the second floor. Here you can see Hidalgo signing the decree to abolish slavery in Mexico and below Benito Juarez is depicted signing the reform laws. Both murals I had taken pictures of and was overwhelmed with the size and detail.

The second location we visited was Guadalajara's Cathedral Metropolitan which is located at #10 Avenida Alcalde between Avenida Hidalgo and Avenida Morelos, directly north of the Plaza de Armas.

Construction of this cathedral was ordered by Philip of Spain and began in 1568 when Bishop Pedro de Ayala laid the first stone. The cathedral wasn't dedicated until 1618, however. The original towers were square; these were damaged by an earthquake in 1818, and later demolished. The current Neo-Gothic towers date from 1848 and are covered with yellow tiles from Sayula; a town located about 60 miles south of Guadalajara.

The cathedral is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. The interior has 9 altars and three chapels. The cathedral's Baroque decorations were removed between 1810 and 1820 and replaced with neoclassical decoration which was preferred at the time. The current altarpieces date roughly from 1820 to 1835. A late 19th-century French organ, one of the largest in Mexico, is located in a loft above the main entrance. As we entered the church, we noticed there was a service underway so we just walked through from one opening to the other.

Behind the
Cathedral lies the spacious Plaza de la Liberacion (Liberation Square), nicknamed La Plaza de Dos Copas (Two Cups Plaza) for its two fountains. Here you can admire a statue of Miguel Hidalgo breaking the chains of slavery, commemorating his decree of 1810 abolishing slavery in Mexico.

The Degollado Theater is located at the Far East end of the plaza. Construction began on this theater in 1856. Designed by architect Jacobo Galvez, this is a fine example of neoclassical architecture. The portico has 16 Corinthian columns supporting the portico with a marble tympanum depicting Apollo and the nine muses, sculpted by Benito Castañeda. Inside, the vaulted ceiling contains a fresco depicting a scene from Dante's Divine Comedy painted by Jacobo Gálvez and Gerardo Suárez.

Originally called the Teatro Alarcon after the Mexican playwright Juan de Alarcon, upon the death of General Santos Degollado, governor of Jalisco, the theater's name was changed to honor him. The theater opened in 1866 with a performance of the opera Lucia di Lammermoor starring Angela Peralta. In 1966, in celebration of the theater's centenary, famed tenor Placido Domingo performed the same opera here. We were unable to enter the theater, but I was able to peek in and take a picture of the chandelier and in amazement the size was incredible.

The next stop of course was the shops. My daughter wanted to check out the different items that were sold there. The Mercado Libertad (Liberty Market) is also called the Mercado de San Juan de Dios because of its location in the Barrio San Juan de Dios (San Juan de Dios neighborhood). Designed by architect Alejandro Zohn, the market was inaugurated on December 30, 1958. This is one of the largest traditional markets in Mexico, with three different levels, and over 2600 stalls. It is open from 6 am to 8 pm daily. In this market you will find a large selection of goods including handicrafts, clothes, shoes, flowers, produce, leather goods, traditional candies, electronics, household items, and food stalls. We were there until it closed and didn’t leave empty hand.

Not far from all this history was another town called Tlaquepaque (Spanish pronunciation: [tlake'pake]), historically San Pedro or Georgetown, is a city and the surrounding municipality in the Mexican state of Jalisco. During the 20th century it was absorbed by the outward spread of the state capital and is now a neighborhood of the Guadalajara conurbation, lying only a few kilometers from the city centre. The city had a 2005 census population of 542,051, while the municipality had a population of 563,006. The municipality's area is 270.88 km2 (104.59 sq mi) and lies adjacent to the south side of Guadalajara. Its largest community besides Tlaquepaque is the town of Santa Anita, at the municipality's southwestern corner.

The name Tlaquepaque derives from Nahuatl and means "place above clay land". The area is famous for its pottery and blown glass.

Tlaquepaque features El Parián, a large plaza flanked by columned arcades and surrounded by restaurants and bars. The main square in the city centre is known as El Jardín Hidalgo ("Hidalgo Garden"), named after Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the "Father of Mexican Independence." A larger-than-life statue of Hidalgo dominates the square. Other main features include the two important churches, El Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Solitude) and San Pedro (Saint Peter), and the Benito Juárez market.

During the annual San Pedro festivities, El Jardín is filled with stalls and street-sellers. On the day of San Pedro itself, towering firework-festooned structures known as the Castillo ("castle") and Toro ("bull") and are set alight. Tlaquepaque is known for its mariachi bands.

This is where we ate dinner and enjoyed a traditional Mexican dish while listening to mariachi. When we were done we rode a taxi back to the bus station. Finally the day ended with watching Sunday night football.



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