Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico with nearly 4.5 million people living in the metropolitan area. It sprawls across this high plain in the center of the country and reminds me of Denver because Guadalajara is a mile-high city too. The air is dry here, and thankfully it’s a little cooler than it was in the lowlands.
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The heart of the city is the Cathedral of Guadalajara and the adjacent plazas surrounding it which form a cross. The plaza on the southern side of the Cathedral is the Plaza de Armas, and today it’s busy with people and pigeons.
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The State Government Palace is on the plaza too.
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There are blocks and blocks filled with parks, plazas, and fountains.
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The Hospicio Cabanas is a short walk from here and since it’s another UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s a must-see.
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This building complex was originally founded in 1791 by the Bishop of Guadalajara to serve as a hospital and orphanage, and to benefit the growing community.
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At the center of the complex is a large chapel with a central dome. In the 1930s José Clemente Orozco began painting a series of frescoes on the panels inside the cathedral.
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His painting “Man of Fire” below the dome is incredible. Really, they all are…
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I visit a couple of other churches in the center of town, the Templo de Aranzazu and the Church of San Francisco (St. Francis of Assisi). The smaller church is very elaborately decorated and lovely. The Church of San Francisco is bigger and happens to be empty so I take a few pics.
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Guadalajara is a beautiful city. We wander through the markets and districts. I find an area of town that I would call the “garment district” where there are dresses and gowns in every store window. It looks like where beauty pageant contestants must shop…or prom queens. There are lots of sidewalk cafes, museums and shops. We meet a couple we know from Mazatlan for lunch and good conversation. There’s a demonstration downtown today with people carrying signs and marching by the hundreds up the street. It looks like it has to do something with a union. But then people come marching from a side street and join the crowd. They are all dressed in Mariachi band uniforms and the two crowds blend together and keep going. Strange and funny.

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