The second largest city in the country is considered by many to be the most Mexican city – it is the birthplace of mariachi music, tequila, sombrero and many other folkloric traditions.
Above all, Guadalajara is a cultural metropolis of international format with countless museums, galleries, theatres, universities and a modern exhibition centre. The mighty, double-towered cathedral is surrounded by four squares, one in each direction. In the west, directly in front of the church, lies the Plaza de los Laureles, easily recognizable by the numerous laurel trees to which it owes its name. The Plaza de Armas with the 18th century government palace borders on the south. Murales by José Clemente Orozco in the building reflect Mexican history and its most important figures.
Twelve famous representatives of Jalisco cast in bronze form the “Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres”, which borders on the north. The neoclassical Teatro Degollado dominates the Plaza de la Liberación in the east. Behind it, Plaza Tapatía extends as a modern shopping and strolling mile reserved for pedestrians to the Instituto Cultural de Cabañas. Today a World Heritage Site and one of the most important museums and cultural centres, the neoclassical complex looks back on an eventful history. The site served as a military camp, hospice and until 1980 an orphanage for up to 3000 children, and it was here that Hidalgo signed the proclamation to abolish slavery in 1811. The core piece is a collection of over a hundred works by the painter and muralist Orozco, which contains his most important works. Orozco’s works also decorate the university theater hall, the so-called Paraninfo.
Traditional entertainment is guaranteed by a visit to the Plaza de los Mariachis, where mariachi bands meet the music wishes of guests and passers-by between the tables of the terrace restaurants in the evening – for an appropriate fee. A green lung of the city is the Parque Agua Azul, in which, among others, Guadalajara’s twin cities have designed parts of the complex – Kyoto, for example, a Japanese garden. Guadalajara’s colonial churches are worth a visit: Templo de la Merced; Santuario de Nuestra Señora del Carmen; Templo de Aranzazú and Templo de San Francisco.
The Fiestas de Octubre programme runs throughout the month and offers concerts, ballets and theatre performances from all over the world every year. Many of the events take place in the Plaza de los Fundadores. A distinctive children’s programme is always part of the festival.