Guide to Guadalajara – Castilla La Mancha, Spain
Today, Guadalajara is the capital of the state of Jalisco, the second largest and most important city in the country. The event of the foundation of the city took place where the Teatro Degollado and the Plaza de los Fundadores still stand today.
During the modern age, Guadalajara was enriched with many foundations and monuments, however, today just a few small parts of its city wall still remain, the entrance doors are gone and just one defensive tower remains, that of the ‘Puerta del Cristo de la Feria’.
The most easily recognized building in the city is the Cathedral, around which four open plazas make the shape of a Latin cross. Inside you can find a painting in the sacristy ascribed to the 17th-century Spanish artist Bartolome Estaban Murillo. The open area from the Cathedral East to the Instituto Cultural Cabanas is the Plaza Tapatia. To the Cathedral’s left is the Plaza de Armas, the oldest and loveliest of the plazas.
A cast-iron Art Nouveau bandstand is its dominant feature. Made in France, it was a gift to the city from the dictator Porfirio Diaz in the 1890s. The female figures on the bandstand exhibited too little clothing for conservative Guadalajarans who decided to clothe them instead. Facing the plaza is the Palacio del Gobierno (Government), a broad palace two stories high and built in 1774. The facade blends Spanish and Moorish elements and displays several interesting details that catch the eye. In the plaza on the opposite side of the cathedral from the Plaza de Armas is the Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres; sixteen white columns, each supporting a bronze statue, stand as monuments to Guadalajara’s and Jalisco’s distinguished sons.
Guadalajara is an Arab name which means ‘river of stones’. Nearly 500 years ago Guadalajara was named the capital of the kingdom of Nueva Galicia.
You will be spoiled by the astonishing amount of culture and history compacted into such a small area. In addition to the breath taking cathedral and plazas you will find numerous churches- one former convent is now the University Of Guadalajara School Of Music, the Museo Regional de Guadalajara, the Plaza de la Liberacion- with the Teatro Degollado on the opposite side.
Apollo and the nine muses decorate the theater’s pediment, and the interior is famous for both the acoustics and its rich decoration.
Other towns in the province of Guadalajara
The site of the ancient Segoncia, now called Villavieja. Sigüenza is filled with religious and political history. The cathedral, a sight not to be missed, is a very massive Gothic edifice of ashlar stone. Its façade has three doors, with a railed court in front. At the sides rise two square towers, 164 feet high, with merlons topped with large balls; these towers are connected by a balustrade which crowns the facade, the work of Bishop Herrera in the eighteenth century.
Molina de Aragon
The castle of Zafra, to the South East of Molina de Aragon is set in a commanding place. It belonged to the Lords of Molina who used it as a secure refuge in their feuds with the Castilian and Aragonese Kings. It had a victorious past and was never won by any who laid siege to the castle. Originally islamic, it was rebuilt in 13th C. by Gonzalo Perez de Lara.
Molina de Aragòn is also famous for its natural Hexagonal prisms, which can be up to up to several cm in size and are found in Triassic marls and clay outcrops around the village. Locally they are named: ‘torrecillas’ (little towers).
The origins of Atienza date back to Prehistory and the town is located on a rugged hill, crowned by a castle which was later remodelled
A remarkable feature in the city’s layout is Plaza del Trigo, one of the most beautiful in Castile, with its medieval construction and buildings that date back to the 16th – 18th centuries. The monumental heritage of Atienza is complete with the hospital of Santa Ana, from the 18th century, mansions (including the City Hall from the 18th century) the lodging house of Cordon; the arch of Arrebatacapas (also known as the arch of San Juan) which is what is left of one of the wall’s gates, many noble palaces.