Posted by: ktzefr | April 16, 2019

Celebrating Holy Week/Semana Santa: Queretaro, Mexico

Over the years I’ve spent Holy Week (Semana Santa) several times in Latin America — Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico.  This week I’m celebrating this sacred season with photographs.  Today: Santiago de Queretaro’s beautiful old churches.  The city has at least 40 churches and 25 chapels!

Located in Mexico’s Bajio region, Queretaro’s capital city has one of the oldest and most historic centers in Mexico.  It was named a World Heritage Site in 1996 and largely remains unchanged since the 16th and 17th centuries.  Though the surrounding area has become a major industrial center, the city is clean, very walkable, and not touristy. It’s one of the most authentic of Mexican cities.

Early morning from a rooftop nearby…

The Templo de la Congregación.  The church is also known locally as the home of the Virgen de Guadalupe.  It’s usually not in English guidebooks and there’s not much info on the net, but it’s a gorgeous church.  It was built in the 1700s with the local cantera rosa, a pinkish stone, in the Baroque style.  Note Mexico’s colors — red, white, and green.  (located on Calle Pasteur Nte. s/n at Calle 16 de Septiembre, Centro)

Templo de la Congregacion de la Virgen de Guadalupe, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

Temple of the Congregation of our Lady of Guadeloupe, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

Temple of the Congregation of our Lady of Guadeloupe, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

*****

The Parroquia de Santiago (St. James Parish) is another lovely church that is not mentioned often in English-language guidebooks and little is found about it on the net.  The brochure/guide in Spanish to the city’s historic sites doesn’t even include it.  A pity, since it’s a special spot.  I happened across this beautiful place a few years ago while walking along the back streets of the historic center.  (located at Prospero Cristobal Vega s/n and Calle 16 de Septiembre, Centro)

Parroquia de Santiago, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

Parroquia de Santiago, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

As is so often the case in an area with a multitude of churches, you can look out the door of one and see another…and the sound of church bells rarely ceases.

Parroquia de Santiago, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

*****

One of the churches that is mentioned in all the guide books and brochures is the Templo de Santa Clara.  This beautiful church was originally commissioned by Diego de Tapia, the son of one of Queretaro’s wealthy founders.  It was started in 1606 and was considered one of the most beautiful architectural achievements in the country during the colonial era.  Parts of the church and convent were destroyed during the Reformation, but it is still recognized as one of the country’s finest baroque buildings.  The interior with its carved altars, painted saints, and other unusual handwork by master craftsmen is stunning.  It is washed in gold leaf.  Not a place where one can duck in and out.  Too many small — and large — marvels to see.  (located at Calle Francisco I. Madero 42, Centro)

Templo de Santa Clara, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

On an earlier trip, a few years ago, the pretty dome was being cleaned and renovated.  My photos were mostly of  scaffolding and workmen.  Today…

Templo de Santa Clara, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

Templo de Santa Clara, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

Templo de Santa Clara, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

*****

The Templo y Ex-Convento de Santa Rosa de Viterbo is another magnificient temple that is always mentioned in guides to the city’s historic center.  Originally designed and started in 1754, Santa Rosa is distinct from other Baroque churches in Mexico by its ornate exterior with flying buttresses, carved stonework, and garish gargoyles.  (located at Calle General Arteaga 89) 

Templo y Ex-Convento de Santa Rosa de Viterbo, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

Templo y Ex-Convento de Santa Rosa de Viterbo, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

*****

The Templo de San Francisco towers above the Jardin Zenea, one of my favorite spots to people watch in Queretaro.  The park is a busy place during the day with people walking back and forth through it’s lovely green spaces to work, to lunch, to shop.  At night it’s impossible to find an empty bench.  Families come to let the children play with friends and be entertained by clowns.  Musicians perform, the parents dance, teens stroll through the shadows hand-in-hand.  And the San Francisco Church, one of Queretaro’s oldest and loveliest, watches over all.  Construction began in the1540s and the original Baroque sandstone entryway is lined with life-size saints.  The former monastery adjoining the church is now a regional muesum with 11 rooms full of historic artifacts.  

Templo de San Francisco and Jardin Zenea, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

Templo de San Francisco, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

*****

Easter Celebrations in Mexico:

San Miguel de Allende

Guanajuato City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excellent piece from the New York Times archives (2002).  Though some tourist information is obviously out of date, the historic info and the must-see attractions are still the same.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Thanks, Katie! So uplifting and beautiful explanations & photos for this special time!

  2. Great photos. Thank You. In Finland we do not have gold inside of ours churches. Our churches are modest, but they have something which do not exist elsewhere. For example, have heard about Votive ships or poor-man statues. Generally, we have wooden churches and our bell towers are separated from churches. We have also churches on which walls are full of paintings. I show You Votive ships:

    Ships inside churches

    This church has painting on all walls:

    Church of Haukipudas

    Happy new week!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: