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Guadalajara

Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city, offers travelers a wide range of traditional and contemporary experiences. Visitors travel to this cosmopolitan destination to experience a plethora of attractions including nearby magical towns such ...

Categories: Mexico


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Toledo (Spain)

Located in central Spain, this former capital of the Spanish Empire was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. As one of Europe’s oldest cities, Toledo is home to many historical sites, including the Alcázar Cathedral and the Zocodover, a...

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Guadalajara can be held responsible for the mixed blessings of mariachi music, tequila, the Mexican Hat Dance, broad-brimmed sombrero hats and the Mexican rodeo. Part of Guadalajara's huge appeal is that it has many of the attractions of Mexico City - a vibrant culture, fine museums and galleries, handsome historic buildings, exciting nightlife and good places to stay and eat - but few of the capital's problems. It's a bright, modern, well-organised and unpolluted place, with enough attractions to please even the pickiest visitor. Highlights include the giant, twin-towered cathedral and the lovely plazas that surround it, the Instituto Cultural de Cabañas and its frescoes by José Clemente Orozco, the Plaza de los Mariachis if you're a masochist, and the twin handicraft-filled suburbs of Tlaquepaque and Tonalá.
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8-Nights Mexico's Magical Colonial Cities

Price: $3,739 - # of Days: 8 days
For centuries, Mexico’s signature mole Poblano has dazzled the palate with its dizzying number of surprising ingredients, including fruit, chocolate, and chili peppers among the list of twenty or more components to the delicious sauce. The varied sights and sounds of Colonial Mexico have the same as...

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Guadalajara


Guadalajara is a city of contrasts. The second-largest city in Mexico has undergone significant modernization in the past couple of decades and has attracted numerous multinational businesses, particularly in the high-tech industry, leading to Guadalajara's distinction as Mexico's Silicon Valley.

But Guadalajara remains true to its traditions, and at its heart, Guadalajara is still a conservative, very Mexican city. Its inhabitants, known as tapatios, often refer to Guadalajara as a large town. Guadalajara has the size (and pollution) of a large city but retains the flavor and community of its past.

Mariachi music, tequila, the sombrero and the Mexican hat dance were all born in Guadalajara, and the Mexican city has managed to keep these icons alive without turning them into cliches (or lifeless tourist attractions). Each week a traditional charreada (Mexican-style rodeo) takes place, carrying on the region's hacienda culture.

Visitors will find that Guadalajara is making an effort to preserve the beautiful colonial architecture of its historic center, much of which is arranged around the four main plazas of the original town. These public areas are great for people-watching and absorbing the culture of old Guadalajara. Artisan fairs and live musical performances are often held in or near these plazas.

Must See or Do

Sights—The Catedral; Parque Mirador Independencia and its view of the canyon; Palacio de Gobierno to see Jose Clemente Orozco's legendary mural; Ballet Folclorico, the University of Guadalajara's respected traditional dance troupe.

Museums—Instituto Cultural de Cabanas for Jose Clemente Orozco's murals and his masterpiece, Man of Fire; Museo Regional de Guadalajara for a quick overview of anthropology and painting in the state of Jalisco; Wixarica Museo de Arte Huichol for background information about the yarn paintings and beadwork that represent Huichol culture; one of the ceramics museums in Tonala or Tlaquepaque.

Memorable Meals—Gourmet cocina alta Mexican cuisine at Cocina 88 or El Sacramonte; gourmet regional specialties and an agave education at La Tequila; an interesting fusion dinner with the Guadalajara creative class at neighboring I Latina or Anita Li.

Late Night—Salsa and various Latin dancing at Casino Veracruz; a true cantina experience at La Fuente.

Walks—Sunday's Via Recreativa, in which Avenida Juarez/Vallarta is closed to automobiles; Saturday walking tours originating at Plaza Guadalajara; a stroll from the Catedral through plazas and pedestrian zones to Instituto Cultural de Cabanas.

Especially for Kids—The Zoologico Guadalajara; Trompo Magico Museo Interactivo; Selva Magica amusement park.

Geography

The capital of the state of Jalisco, Guadalajara is located in the Atemajac Valley, on a highland plain that is 5,141 ft/1,567 m above sea level. The city is surrounded by hills and sierras, some of which are falling prey to housing projects. The metropolitan area comprises the neighboring municipalities of Zapopan, Tlaquepaque and Tonola.

To the northeast of the city, there is a huge canyon known as Barranca de Oblatos, with an impressive waterfall called Cascada Cola de Caballo (Horsetail Falls). A large forest, La Primavera, borders Zapopan to the west of the city. Much of the forest, which is home to natural hot springs and more than 200 animal and bird species, is protected natural land. Miguel Hidalgo International Airport lies beyond Tlaquepaque to the south. Past the airport, about 25 mi/40 km south of the city, is Lake Chapala. The communities surrounding the country's largest lake have become expat enclaves, drawing many U.S. and Canadian retirees to the temperate climate.

History

Although the area around Guadalajara saw an agrarian society blossom as early as 200 BC, it did not foster a pre-Columbian empire comparable to others in Mexico. Indigenous groups such as the Huichol and Chapalas were residents of the surrounding highland areas.

The region was brought under Spanish domination in 1532 through the bloody campaign of Nuno de Guzman, whose exploits were so brutal that he was recalled by Spanish authorities in 1538. A final site for the city of Guadalajara, which was named after Guzman's birthplace in Spain, was not chosen until 1542, after three previous sites were abandoned because of attacks and rebellions.

Guadalajara, which became the capital of Nueva Galicia (and later, the state of Jalisco), was an important agricultural and commercial center in the colonial period, trading wheat, cotton, wool and livestock, and developing important textile and leather industries. Its university was founded in 1792.

In 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costillo, a liberal priest and a leader in the independence movement, established a revolutionary government in Guadalajara, but his troops were defeated the following year. Rebellion and civil war marked the mid-19th century (War of the Reform) and early 20th century (Mexican Revolution), with Guadalajara the site of some fighting.

By the end of the 19th century, Guadalajara was becoming an economic powerhouse, known as the "Pearl of the West." This is reflected in the neighborhoods outside the city center, most notably along the Avenida Juarez-Vallarta, where the wealthy built elegant houses with a European flair, modeled on villas in France and Spain.

This prosperity and growth continued in the 20th century, when a variety of industries flourished. Industries settling there can count on a strong work force consisting of the 65% of the population that is younger than 25. The city also has the prestigious University of Guadalajara and many other schools that turn out prepared professionals.

Potpourri

Artist Jose Clemente Orozco lost his left hand in a firecracker accident as a child; you can see this in a statue of him in the Rotunda of Illustrious Men next to the cathedral.

Mexicans (and tapatios) claim the best-looking people are from Guadalajara, many of whom have pure Spanish, French or even German ancestry. It's not unusual to see a green-eyed man or natural blonde woman who was born there.

Guadalajara's Chivas soccer team is noteworthy in that it fields only Mexican players.

If you arrive at the Gothic Templo Expiatorio church on the hour, look up: Miniature statues of the 12 disciples exit small doors and re-enter other doors in rotation while carillon music plays.

Secret tunnels underneath the Catedral connect with passageways to other old buildings in the city's center. They are remnants from the days of colonization, war and religious persecution. Some houses downtown still have tunnel access.




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