Welcome to the first in a series of posts relating to Guadalajara sightseeing within walking distance of La Fe Hotel and Arts. In this post we will be focusing on Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento. The cathedral is considered the greatest example of neo-Gothic architecture in all of Mexico!
Archbishop Pedro Loza y Pardavé, along with a committee, held a competition and selected Adamo Boari, a famous Italian architect, to design the cathedral. Boari was originally brought to the country by Mexican President Porfirio Díaz to work on several other projects including the Palacio de Correos de Mexico in Mexico City.
Construction on the temple began in 1897, with the cornerstone laid on August 15, 1897. By 1911, all of the interior columns were complete. However, during the Mexican Revolution, work on Templo Expiatorio stopped for reasons of religious persecution and insufficient funds. In 1920, work resumed and was finally completed in 1972, 75 years after construction began.
The cathedral’s three tympana (triangular decorative wall surfaces on the front facade) include Italian mosaics created at the Vatican by Francisco Bencivenga, who at the time was a painter and expert on the Vatican Museums. Bencivenga came to Guadalajara to oversee the placement of the pieces.
Perhaps the most prominent feature of Templo Expiatorio is its clock. It was imported from Germany at a cost of over $450 million pesos and was installed by German technicians. The clock has four lighted dials, and a carillon of 25 bells playing 25 pieces of both religious and popular music. The chimes can also be played via a keyboard from the choir. The most interesting feature of the clock is the 12 statues of the apostles which rotate in and out of the clock tower whenever a musical piece is played.
The cathedral square is a wonderful place to relax and people watch. You can find many vendors selling traditional Mexican souvenirs, drinks and food. One of the prettiest fountains in all of Guadalajara can also be found in this square. Weekends are an especially great time to visit.
There are many other Guadalajara sightseeing opportunities around the Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento including the University of Guadalajara Museum of Arts. It houses several rotating national and international works. It is also home to several renowned Jalisco works created by Maestro José Clemente Orozco.
You can easily walk to the cathedral in under 20 minutes from La Fe Hotel and Arts via Calle Manuel Lopez Cotilla. If you need help with directions, feel free to ask the front desk staff and they would be more than happy to help you!