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GUADALAJARA

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-Plaza Tapatía: it extends from the Degollado Theatre up to the Cabañas Institute. Its creation responded to an effort of urban renovation driven by the locals, who demanded the authorities a zone where to walk within the urban centre. The plaza is ideal to stroll around with no hurry whatsoever, ignoring the city traffic and enjoying the atmosphere of steadiness that reigns in this urban haven, one of the main arteries in Guadalajara's heart.
Inaugurated on February the 5th of 1982, its architectonic features correspond to a design by Juan Gil Elizondo. Its 70000 square metres embrace the plazas of Los Fundadores, Degollado, Morelos, Lopez Portillo and Weber, besides the so-called Central Esplanade and the Paseo del Hospicio.

-Cabañas Cultural Institute: a true architectonic luxury that adorns the streets of Guadalajara since 1843, year in which the works started four decades before were finally finished, thanks to the impulse given by Bishop Juan Cruz Rodriguez de Cabañas y Crespo to the project. This monumental building, designed by Manuel Tolsá and executed by Jose Gutierrez, was a hospice for orphan children in its early years. It is currently a promoting centre for cultural activities.
Of neoclassical style, its entrance shows a portal with columns of the Toscana order, whilst there are 23 patios surrounded by most beautiful corridors on the inside, along with a neat chapel designed by architect Manuel Gomez Ibarra, which houses exceptional murals by Mexican artist Jose Clement Orozco.
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    The genial brushstrokes of Orozco represent the four elements of nature, water, earth, air and fire, and the historical characters who accomplished Mexico's independence. The mural called Man of Fire is on the chapel's dome, and the frescos of The Franciscan Friar, The Chevaliers of the Conquest, Philip the II and The Cross, are on the right side of the vault; and the frescos of Cortes and the Victory and War Scenes on the left side.
    It is located on 8 Paseo del Hospicio, between Hidalgo Avenue, Plaza Lopez Portillo and Weber Avenue, in the eastern zone of the Tapatía Plaza.

    Liberty Market: it is a colourful, agitated and noisy place full of goods, of people staring, asking, bargaining, hesitating, feeling encouraged, and buying; of sells people offering from the simplest and everyday artefacts to the less expected objects. It has all sorts of things for all sorts of tastes.
    That is how Liberty Market or San Juan de Dios, which bears the fame of being the largest market on the western hemisphere, is; however, it is an authentic attraction for travellers, who will feel like at a huge classroom because they will learn a quick lesson on the customs, habits and peculiarities of the people of Guadalajara and of the State of Jalisco.
    Before their graduation visitors can put to practice what they have learnt and adventure to purchase some of the multiple handicraft objects offered at the Liberty. The fan of possibilities is fairly ample and the most probable thing is that you will have some trouble choosing between the footwear and the hats, between the traditional toys and the pottery objects, between the silver and the gold jewellery.
    It is located on Javier Mina and Cabañas Avenues, behind the Tapatía Plaza.

    -Plaza of the Mariachis: animated and musical, folkloric and full of tradition, that is how this corner of the city is, when every afternoon groups of mariachis gather together to intone, guitar in hand, those most dear and popular songs that have turned into true Mexican hymns.
    The plaza has the official name of Pepe Guízar Morfín, in honour of the so-called "Mexico's musical painter", a local songwriter and singer who was born in the capital of Jalisco in 1912. Guadalajara, a theme in which he stands out the provincial soul of its land, juts out amongst its compositions.
    Visitors can taste the best of the local gastronomy in this plaza whilst enjoying the music. It is located on Independencia Street, one of the main arteries of the city.

    -Expiatory Temple: it was designed by architect Ignacio Diaz and it dates back to 1897. It is of neo-gothic style and its façade presents three portals with bas-relief that evokes passages of the Holy Scriptures. A French stained glass window located in the main apse stands out in its interior.
    Due to its architectonic characteristics, the temple resembles the Cathedral of Orvieto, in Italy. It is located on Lopez Cotilla y Escorza Street.

    -Tlajomulco of Zuñiga: this town full of small interesting places, whose name translated to English means something like "Place of the Bunch of Earth" or "Earth in the Corner", is inhabited by the descendants of the ethnic group of the Nahuas.
    Besides the Chapel of the Hospital, from the XVIII century and the Parish of Santa Anita, from 1732, this town is famous for its handicraft production, with the leatherworks, saddles, wooden handles, suites, ceramics, metalwork and the cute and colourful little donkeys made of leafs of maize, standing out.
    It is located less than 20 minutes away from Guadalajara.

    -Tlaquepaque: it is not necessary to leave behind the metropolitan area of Jalisco in order to find an evoking place, with artisans of overflowing creativity. This town of colonial gesture emanates a bohemian aura that summons, catches and fascinates travellers, animated by the voices, cords and winds of the mariachis.
    Its name comes from the Náhuatl word Tlalipac, which means "Place over High Mud Hillocks", that same mud that yesterday's and today's ceramists use to create the beautiful objects that are part of the variegated artistic offer of a town in which the handicraft shops are abundant.
    Small or big, modest or luxurious, shops in Tlaquepaque always have something nice to offer: ceramics, objects made of blown glass and crystal, hand carved suites, sculptures with a scrap-iron heart, and graceful figures made of papier-mâché, amongst other peculiar objects fruit of dexterity, children of inspiration.
    The visit would not be fulfilled without trying the typical local cuisine and listening to the mariachis that congregate at the Parían, a building built in 1883, with portals that work as makeshift food stands and a stage were music spectacles take place.

    -Tonalá: it is a peaceful town of artisans whose name derives from the Náhuatl word Tonallan, which translated into English means "Place where the Sun Rises"; but beyond the presence of the king sun, the community are a group of imaginative people, heir to a really long pottery tradition.
    The zone was populated by the Zapotecas at the dawn of Mexico's cultural development; then other ethnic groups appeared, amongst them the Tonaltecas, who imposed their habits on almost all the ambits of the original society.
    The handicraft offer of the town mainly spins around pottery, where you can find an incredible variety of dishes, pitchers, cups, vases, jars and pots, amongst other utilitarian and decorative objects.
    Tuesdays and Sundays are especial days, animated and colourful, because the streets in the city centre are taken by the artisans of Tonalá and the neighbouring towns during the tianguis (market), an impressive event whose roots go back to the pre Hispanic period. The town is located at 15 kilometres from Guadalajara at an altitude of 1600 metres above sea level.

    -Zapopan: this municipality founded in 1541 is located 8 kilometres away from the city centre at an altitude of 1584 metres above sea level. Amongst its multiple attractions we have the Basilica of the Virgin of Zapopan, Patron of Guadalajara, and the Huichol Ethnographic Museum, which exhibits objects created by the men and women of this ethnic group, standing out.
    • Basilica of the Virgin of Zapopan: its construction began in 1690, being finished after 40 years. Later the portals of the atrium would be built, in 1837, and lastly the profusely decorated belfries in 1892. It has a façade of baroque style whilst the Doric columns of the inside show certain gothic features. Its main altar, made of marble and cypress, contains the image of the Virgin of Zapopan, made of maize cane and known as "The Pacifier" because, so they say, one time the Spanish friars used it to calm down the belligerent spirits of the natives.
      It is located at the end of the Paseo Teopilzintli, a nice pedestrian area.

    • Huichol Ethnographic Museum: the chapter house of the Convent of San Francisco, in the architectonic compound of the Basilica of Zapopan, is since 1998 a space that sum up the history and way of life of the Huicholes, a people of pre Hispanic origins that inhabits the Western Sierra Madre. Besides, it exhibits craftsmanship elaborated by the men and women of this ethnic group.
    -Tequila: it is the cradle of the Mexican beverage, that which sparks the spirit and cheers the heart. Its name in the Náhuatl language means "Place of Wild Herbs", maybe in reference to the plots of blue agave cactus, the raw material for this extremely strong drink. The Blue Weber agave variety, the only one suitable for the production of tequila, a drink that has turned into one of the main symbols of Mexican culture, grows only in this zone of Jalisco and in some areas in the State of Michoacán. The so-called tequila Express, a train excursion across the fields full of agave that allows knowing the secrets of the beverage, is a good alternative to know this tempting zone.



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