Anyone who’s traveled extensively in Mexico undoubtedly has a favorite parish church or cathedral. Regardless of whether or not you’re of the Catholic faith, you can’t help but admire the gorgeous churches that grace the principal plazas of every town of any size throughout the country. My choice for the honor of prettiest church goes to Templo de Santa Maria de la Asuncion (St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption) in the tiny village of Tequisquiapan, Mexico.
Templo de Santa Maria de la Asuncion in the main plaza of Tequisquiapan
Founded in 1551, the town of Tequisquiapan is a visual feast of cobblestone streets overhung with lush Bougainvilla blooms, houses of gray quarried stone and wrought-iron windows, all topped with tranquil blue skies. The crowning glory of the town is Plaza Miguel Hidalgo, where a miniature electric locomotive Read More »
Teotihuacan, site of an ancient mysterious civilization that built the monumental Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon is located on a broad valley in central Mexico surrounded by framing hills. The site is close enough to Mexico City (a mere 30 miles northeast) to be subject to the persistent gray pollution that settles over the capital, but even in haze the pyramids soar from the plain in majestic splendor. Unlike many other ruins visitors can still climb to the top of the Sun Pyramid and about 3/4 of the way to the top of the Moon Pyramid, both of which offer panoramic views that crystallize the size of the site and the architectural wizardry of the original builders.
View of Teotihuacan's Pyramid of the Moon from atop Pyramid of the Sun
Yet even with all these physical remains, virtually nothing is known about the original inhabitants, who built the city between 100 B.C. and A.D. 750. By the time the Aztecs arrived in the 1300′s the site was abandoned; they named it Teotihuacan, meaning “the place where men become gods” in their language. It is not hard to imagine why they named it thus. If we are still astounded by these pyramids, how much Read More »
In an unassuming square, three blocks from better known Plaza Miguel Hidalgo, a soaring three-pronged metal sculpture marks a spot in the tiny village of Tequisquiapan, Mexico as the geographic center of the country. It is duly marked as such, with an official looking plaque authorized by one of Mexico’s earlier Presidents, so I had no reason to doubt the claim. But the more I traveled around Mexico, the more I heard Tequisquiapan’s claim disputed.
Monument proclaims Tequisquiapan to be the center of Mexico
In Guanajuato, the 70-foot tall Cristo Rey statue of Jesus sits atop Cerro del Cubilete, a steep-sided hill located about 10 miles north of the city; it too is said to mark the geographical center of Mexico. Lesser contenders for the honor include Zacatecas and Aguascalientes, although Read More »
Capilla de las Animas – the Chapel of the Lost Souls of Purgatory – sits at the foot of La Pena, the giant thumb of rock that thrusts from the plains behind the town of Bernal, Mexico. This small but beautiful chapel was built between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to honor souls that wander forever in purgatory.
Gold and red exterior follows suit wth the other two churches in Bernal
Legend recounts that a local merchant who was being pursued by thieves secreted himself in the bushes and entrusted his safety to these souls, who were said to haunt the site. When the thieves passed by without seeing the him, the merchant vowed to build the chapel out of gratitude for their protection. Read More »