Driving our Motorhome in the State of Guanajuato, Mexico
Moving On 1
Spending another Winter in wonderful Mexico
Follow along with our adventures in Jennie the RV and Willie the Jeep
Things we've done and places we've been on this trip - Mexico 2009
Back to the main plaza, called Martyrs Square. Here there was another smaller church - again amazing inside - lots of hand painted decorations on the walls and ceiling.
On the same side as this church is the Municipal Palace. At one time in the mid 1800s it was used as a military barracks. It became the government seat in 1869 after being remodeled to its original architecture. Don’t know why we didn’t go in but we didn’t. Around the buildings on one side of the plaza are arched walkways. And narrow alleys that are full of small stores. Over these “alleys” the buildings connect giving kind of a European feeling to the section.
Back in the car we drove to the “Leather District.” Wow! Over 35 square blocks of manufactures, warehouses, outlets and stores. Huge square blocks of leather merchandise. Everything from little leather saddle key chains to leather coats - mens and womens - all sizes shapes and colors. Whole buildings full of purses. Other full of boots or belts.
I read that over 60% of the shoes produced in Mexico are made here in León.
One thing we noticed was the rapid transit system. The big busses have their own lanes with passenger boarding from the center of the street.
We just touched the tip of the city.
Took another day trip out of Guanajuato to the city of León about 40 miles up the road we came in on. It’s a pretty good sized city, in fact the 5th largest city in Mexico. And it is one of the most modern looking (read - looks like being in the US) towns we’ve been to. León was founded in 1575 - but little remains of that time. We saw the many contrasts that exist in the city, beautiful colonial buildings along side modern architecture and wide boulevards. These contrasts reflect a city that is constantly progressing and growing. Unlike in other cities we’ve been to León has been replacing the older buildings with modern ones. The streets are wide with lots of contemporary architecture. Coming into the town we were on a wide four-lane divided street full of US stores and restaurants. If some one just dropped you on the street you would have thought you were in the southwestern US somewhere.
Visiting the city of Leon, Mexico.
The Cities we visited while Rving in Guanajuato , Mexico: Guanajuato Hidalgo León
We passed a big arch (Arco de la Calzada de los Héroes), topped by a bronze of a lion. It was started in 1896 and has been modified a number of times since then. The first lion added in 1943 was made of bricks and mortar. This was replaced by the bronze one in 1958.
As we continued towards the central older part of town we passed one of the biggest Cathedrals we’ve seen. And it was brand new and amazing looking. Its full name is the Santuario Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús (Expiatory Sanctuary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). Construction of this temple was begun in 1920. Since then construction has continued off and on and it is considered 80% complete. Its neo Gothic design is based on the old European medieval cathedrals. (Unfortunately we didn’t stop and tour it.)
We reached the Centro Historic and parked in a lot - walking the couple of blocks to the main plaza. There were still buildings there from the 16th Century but right next to a very old building would be a modern one. Kind of jarring to see. One thing that impressed us about the main plaza were the trees. Most of them were shaped into boxes or cones.
From there we walked to the Cathedral. The streets are closed to traffic. On the way we passed a Burger King and a KFC and numerous small restaurants - including an Argentine one.
The Cathedral, as always was awe inspiring. It is called the Basilica Cathedral of Our Holy Mother of the Light. Construction began in 1746, but was halted when the Jesuit order was expelled from Mexico. A very weathy family took over its construction. It was finally completed in 1866. It has a combination of architectural styles - Baroque and Neo Classic.
Just inside the arch in the courtyard is a statue of one of the Popes. Inside the church is absolutely beautiful. Lots of large very old paintings, lots of gold leaf and stained glass windows. Arched ceilings and gold chandeliers. Hand painted decorations on the walls highlighted by gold leaf. It has a very peaceful feel to it. Spent quite a bit of time just looking around.
For lots of photos of the church and leather district in León Click Here