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DURANGO

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The evoking streets in the centre of Durango drive to impressive buildings of colonial reminiscences or with ornamented French airs. An awkward though strangely fascinating combination that wraps the City, thus transforming it into a delight for the visitor.

But the journey is not reduced to a slow walk through the bucolic streets of the Historical Centre, for it gets enlarged and takes a cinematographic substance within its nostalgic whereabouts, where more than a hundred movies have been produced, with stars as Paul Newman and John Wayne, just to mention a couple of famous actors of the seventh art.

Adventure and mystery have also their own room in Durango, specially in the area of El Silencio, a salt desert where compasses are unable to point to the North and the radio waves become suddenly lost. Or in the Cavern of Rosario, with its strange calcareous formations and a great number of stalactites and stalagmites.

And your travelling itinerary will have more stages, which you will start to know within the following lines:

Attractions in the City

Cathedral of Durango, is the first Church that was built in the City. In its beginnings it was only a modest parish of adobe and straw roofs that was by then called San Mateo. Its present structure -a blend of several architectonic styles- was constructed between the years of 1685 and 1787, being consecrated as Cathedral on August 31st of 1844, devoted to the Inmaculada Concepción.

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    This monumental stronghold of Catholic Faith has a baroque styled façade. There is an iron cross cast in Spain over its cornice, along with the balconies on the western tower and the railings of the main altar.

    The side hallways of the Cathedral were built between 1764 and 1775 with a churrigueresque style. In its interior, the Temple treasures some priceless pieces of art, as the benches made in 1715, with its 57 carved wood chairs and gilded with gold leaves. There is also a board with 33 sculptures depicting the saints of the church.

    Another delightful piece is the sculpture of the Purísima Concepción, carved from a single piece of ivory. It is believed that it came from the Philippine Islands and that it was elaborate in 1764. The Cathedral is situated in the 20 de Noviembre Avenue (no number) across the Main Square. Open all days between 9:00 am and 7:00 pm.

    -Presidencia Municipal (Palacio Escárzaga) - City Hall, in the late 19th century, Pedro Escárzaga Correl, one of the most powerful miners and traders of the region, decided to invest a small part of his fortune in the construction of a casona (old mansion) to match his overwhelming wealth, in order of which he hired the prestigious engineer Estanislao V. Slonecki who had previously designed several of the most emblematic building for the government of Porfirio Díaz (1876 to 1911), a president who was adamant in bestowing an European air to the cities of the Country.

    The outcome of so an ambitious project was the fabulous Palacio Escárzaga, a sober and majestic construction, with the likes of an old French hotel. Its outside walls are made of whitewash and plaster, but its interior is a perfect combination of stone and adobe. This glamorous mansion is accessed through a huge lifting iron door, the only one of its kind in Durango.

    In the year of 1917 the northern wing of the Palace was demolished, in order of attaining a better alignment with the 20 de Noviembre Street. Nowadays, this area shows a different architecture than that of the rest of its monumental areas.

    Some years later, in 1930, the property was handled to the City Hall, thus transforming its luxurious halls into the offices of the municipal assembly. Under the administration of the commune, a slight restoration was made, and in 1954, the elaboration of a three bodied mural befell on the hands of the artist of Durango Francisco Montoya de la Cruz, which will depict the history of the City.

    The Palace is located in the Historical Centre, at one block distance from the Cathedral. It can be visited between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, and if the tour happens to be on Friday morning, you will be able to attend to a public session of the City Council of Durango.



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