TLAQUEPAQUE, ZAPÓPAN and TONALÁ
are the three
big suburbs at the north and south of Guadalajara. But these suburbs
are more agglomerations because of their size.
There are about 5,000 artisans in pottery, ceramics and blown
glass in this area of Jalisco.
TLAQUEPAQUE 6 km
or 4 miles south from the city)
In the center, there is a huge esplanade called El Parián
(meaning literally: "public market of diverse things)".
There is no Zócalo, like in other Mexican cities because
the shaded sector of the place is completely occupied by restaurants,
cantinas and stores and animated by the Mariachis.
Tlaquepaque has been famous for its pottery and other crafts for
a long time. It has the biggest traditional concentration in Mexico.
Although the quality of the objects is not the same since industrialization,
you will still be tempted by stoneware, wooden objects, dresses,
hand weaved textiles, stain, wrought iron, laminated glass and
ceramics. Note the Museum of Ceramics, (open 10 AM-6 PM, Tue-Sat
and 9 AM-4 PM, Sun; free admission), housed in an old colonial
mansion on Calle Independencia. This walking street leads
to the main plaza, the Jardin Hidalgo and the byzantine-neoclassical
sanctuary (eighteenth century) of Nuestra Señora de
la Soledad. By the side, the Franciscans built the Parroquía
de San Pedro in 1813.
Map of Tlaquepaque :
About 4 miles (7 km) north from Guadalajara,
Zapópan almost became a neighborhood of the city because
of the fast urban and demographic development. The main asset
of the city is home of the Virgin of Zapopan : the city is the
scene of the most picturesque and amazing religious tradition
in all of Mexico, tradition centered on the Virgin
: Our lady of Zapópan. This virgin appeared in Mexican
history in 1531, during a battle between Spanish and Chimalhuacano
Indians. Since the issue of the fight wasn’t clear, Antonio
de Segovia, a Spanish Franciscan friar displayed, from a hillock,
a banner with the image of the Virgin. The Indians, scared, surrendered
and were converted to Christianity.
Paradoxically, this Virgin, originally responsible for the Indian
defeat and the ally of the white invaders, underwent a strange
"conversion": She became the Patron Saint revered by
the Indian population of Mexico. Due to her short
size, the statue of the Virgin of Zapópan was affectionately
nicknamed Zapopanita (little lady of Zapópan).
To go back to the tradition we were talking about, it is a procession,
or more exactly a pilgrimage of the statue from June to October.
And during more than four months, she visits and blesses the different
churches of Guadalajara
and its agglomeration (more than 30 parishes). In every parish
she stays, there are celebrations with fireworks. She leaves the
Cathedral of Guadalajara
on October, 12 to go back to Zapópan. The tradition started
in 1734, when the city was devastated by the plague. The bishop
of the city, Gomez de Cervantes allowed the statue of the Zapopanita
to be taken where the plague was at its height. When she is not
travelling, the Virgin’s home is the Basilica of Nuestra
Señora de la Expectación. This church was built
on September 8, 1730, and features a tiled mudéjar (Spanish-Moorish)
dome and a Plateresque facade. Wearing a blue dress and a crimson
coat, the Patron Saint proudly sits above the high altar. The
church dominates the main place of Zapópan (open daily
10 AM-8 PM).
If you have time,
you can visit the Museo Huichol Wixarica de Zapópan
which displays the art and traditions of the Huichols Indians
of northern Jalisco
its neighbor states of Zacatecas
and Nayarit (open 9:30 AM-5:30 PM. Mon-Sat and 10 AM-3 PM,
Sun; MXN$6). It is located ave. Hidalgo # 152 Centro).
little further than Tlaquepaque, Tonalá is a charming little
village where you can find nice potteries and ceramics. This old
village is serviced by the bus 275, (departure on Avenida 16 de
Septiembre), like Tlaquepaque.
Located 9 miles (15 km) southeast from Guadalajara
this village is known for its workshops of pottery and blown glass.
Tonalá means “city where the sun rises” or
“city of sun” in Náhuatl. It was temporarily
the capital of the New Galicia until a shortage of water made
the inhabitants leave. Every Thursday and Sunday, there is a huge
craft market (tianguis or open-market since the Pre-Hispanic
time) famous in the whole country for the diversity of its products.
It is huge and popular. Not to be missed. It is worth it. You
can obtain excellent deals. Bargaining is mandatory ! If the days
don’t fit your schedule, you can visit the workshops and
shops featuring earthenware, blown glass, wrought iron, stained
glass, papier maché and copper craft, wickerwork and wooden
objects. The prices will be the same but you will miss the special
atmosphere of the market ! Visit also the Casa de los Artesanos
(Ave. de los Tonaltecas Sur # 140, open Mon-Fri and Sat morning)
which displays a noticeable production from about fifty local
Map of Tonalá :
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