Guadalajara, Mexico has a rather precipitous history, having been founded four times in a span of ten years between 1532 and 1542. In a valley where there were no settlements, it is estimated that 300 inhabitants founded the city that today is one of the most populated, important, and economically strongest cities in Mexico.
There are endless activities in Guadalajara, especially when visiting the city. A wide variety of cultural activities, museums, history, and above all, food and drink are the highlights of any visit to the city. Jalisco, the state where it is located, is part of the region where the traditional Mariachi and tequila were born.
Learning about the history of Guadalajara at its core
History begins in the historical center, the best place to learn about the origins of Guadalajara. Distinguished by its colonial architecture, since the first settlements in this area were Spanish or of Spanish origin. An excellent choice to find hotels in Guadalajara is in this area.Among the most emblematic buildings are the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Degollado Theater, the Cabañas Cultural Institute, the Templo Expiatorio del Santisimo Sacramento, and the Iberoamerican Library. The Metropolitan Cathedral has an organ of French origin, the second largest in Mexico. The Cathedral lost its original towers in an earthquake in 1818, a little more than 250 years after its construction in 1561. Inside, its white color and neo-Gothic style dominate the view, with rectangular and oval stained-glass windows at the top of the dome and behind the altar.
Another important Catholic temple in Guadalajara is the Templo Expiatorio del Santisimo Sacramento (Expiatory Temple of the Blessed Sacrament). Also, the city center is considered the highest example of neo-gothic style in Mexico. It was built in a span of 75 years, between 1897 and 1972. The clock was imported from Germany, with a musical carillon with 25 bells that can play up to 25 melodies (religious and famous). The clock is decorated with miniature statues of the 12 apostles and has four illuminated faces.
The Cabañas Cultural Institute (also known as Hospicio Cabañas) is a neoclassical building, very emblematic of the city. Initially an orphanage, today it is a cultural center with workshops, a museum, and different activities. The church was painted by Mexican muralist Jose Clemente Orozco. Although very different in style, the church gives a sense of similarity to the Sistine Chapel, being filled with murals on the ceiling, walls, and a dome.
The Iberoamerican Library occupies the nave of the church of a former Jesuit College, a building from the 16th century, and has in its interior the artistic heritage of Mexican muralism. It is dedicated to the Mexican writer Octavio Paz. It was the seat of the first University of Guadalajara, and today it is one of the most complete libraries in Mexico.
Culture and heritage all around
The museums in Guadalajara are an excellent place to start learning about the culture of Mexico and the region. However, this city has cultural activities that go beyond the walls of the museums. The MUSA (Museum of the Arts), the Museum of Sacred Art, and the Museum of Archeology are the main ones that are recommended to visit, but without leaving behind what the streets of the city offer to anyone who wants to know and learn more about the heritage of this city.
In the region that includes the states of Nayarit, Michoacan, Colima, Jalisco, southern Zacatecas, and Guanajuato, is where the Mariachi music was born. The Mariachi repertoire covers traditional songs of rural life, as well as parts of music from all over the country such as jarabes, minués, serenatas, and corridos (typical Mexican ballads that tell stories of battles, heroic deeds, and love stories).
Equally important to Mexico’s heritage are its artisans. The town of San Pedro Tlaquepaque, part of the Guadalajara metropolitan area, is full of experts in different types of crafts, from clay to sweets. You can take a tour of the artisans, and even a workshop to make a sculpture or clay object of your own. It is a good option to look for hotels in Guadalajara in this area, as it is not very far from the city center.
Food and drink for every hour of the day
The food of Guadalajara is characterized by different types of meat, although the main dish known is the torta ahogada. A sandwich literally drowned in salsa, is considered a delight, especially when prepared in this city. Pozole, birria, and jericalla for dessert are some other delicious choices.
On Chapultepec Avenue, you can find an endless number of food alternatives for any time of the day. Breakfast, coffee at noon or dinner and drinks, any option can be found in this street that is also recommended to visit at night.