Guadalajara, a Mexican city, is located in western Mexico. It is known for its mariachi music and tequila, which were both created in Jalisco, were Guadalajara's capital. Guadalajara's historical center is filled with colonial plazas, landmarks like the Teatro Degollado (neoclassical) and a cathedral with twin-gold.
1. Instituto Cultural de Cabañas
The World Heritage-listed Instituto Cultural Cabanas is located in the historic downtown core. It was formerly known Hospicio Cabanas. This magnificent Neoclassical former hospital/orphanage was built at the start of the 19th Century.
The Cabanas Cultural Center and Cultural Heritage of Humanity now call the complex home. Apart from the building's graceful architecture that is inspired by similar designs in Paris or Madrid, the main attraction here is the collection 57 stunning frescoes created by Jose Clemente Orozco. They are widely regarded as some of his most important works.
The ceiling and walls surrounding the huge nave and cupola feature most of the murals. El Hombre del Fuego is a famous mural. The highly recommended guided tours can be booked in English and Spanish.
2. The Government Palace
The Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno) is located just steps from the cathedral on the best of Guadalajara’s four main squares, Plaza de Armas. This magnificent Baroque building, which was built in 1643 and finished in 1774 is worth a visit. It features many columns with zigzag ornamentation and large volutes.
It's fine old staircase is one of its most notable interior highlights. In another chamber, there are a number of mosaics that depict the War of Independence and the heroes of the three Mexican Wars. These were painted by Jose Clemente Orozco (a native of Jalisco).
3. Guadalajara Zoo
The Guadalajara Zoo is located just a few minutes from the city. This fun attraction, which overlooks the breath-taking Santiago Gorge, is not only beautiful but also one of the most important and largest zoos Latin America has to offer.
Its collection includes rare species like white lions, Bengal Tigers, and black panthers. There is also a large contingent of primate species that includes gorillas and orangutans as well as a variety of native Mexican species, such as Mexican Wolfes.
A large aquarium, a reptile house, with many lizards and snakes, are just a few of the highlights. The large number of aviaries at the zoo, including two that are dedicated to songbirds or tropical species, is another highlight. Safari Masai Mara is a ride through the African Savannah filled with rhinos, antelope and other species that kids will enjoy.
4. Rotonda de Los Jaliscienses Ilustre's
The Rotonda de Los Jaliscienses Ilustre's is located just outside the Guadalajara Cathedral Plaza de Armas. It is one of the city’s most prominent monuments. It lives in a park-like setting.
This large circular stone monument was built in 1952 to honour the state's most prominent historical figures. It houses 17 tall columns and the remains of 98 people. The surrounding lawns are adorned with statues of some of these people.
5. The Churches of Santa Mónica and San Agustin
Guadalajara has many wonderful old churches. Most are easily accessible from Guadalajara's historic center. One of the most beautiful churches, the 17th century Church of Santa Monica (Templo de Santa Monica), is just a few blocks from the Cathedral. This church is noted for its Baroque façade with its twisted columns and intricately carved decoration, which includes grapes, cobs of maze, angels' double eagles and symbols of religious order.
Another interesting church is the magnificent Church of San Agustin, also known as Templo San Agustin. This beautiful former convent was built in the 16th Century with Baroque flourishes. The interior boasts a stunning interior with an altar that features the patron saint of the church. Baroque churches that are also worth mentioning include the San Felipe Neri (17th-century), and Aranzazu Churches.
Guadalajara's best months to visit are October and December, when it is dry and temperatures stay in the 80s. Festivals fill the calendar. Because of the lower hotel prices, you can also visit Guadalajara during the five months between January and May.
Guadalajara is a busy city with a lot of people, but it also has some more peaceful and upmarket areas. You can also take day trips, which is why I recommend Guadalajara for at least four days.
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