Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Illustrious People of Jalisco

Another staple of historic downtown Guadalajara is the gorgeous Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres (Rotunda of the Illustrious People of Jalisco).  Located just to the left of the Cathedral (when viewing it from Plaza Guadalajara), the rotunda occupies space formerly reserved for the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Solitude and the Garden of Solitude.  And, apparently, a post office and telegraph building.  

That was all cleared out in 1949 to make way for this rotunda, designed by architect Vicente Mendiola, which stands as a tribute to people of distinction who helped write the history of Jalisco with their words, art and actions.  First named "The Rotunda of the Illustrious Men" upon completion in 1951, the monument's name was later changed to rightfully include important people from both genders.  

The rotunda features a quarry stone ring supported by 17 Doric columns.  Ninety-eight tombs are provided to house the remains of illustrious people, though most are currently empty.  An eternal flame stands (awkwardly enough, unlit) in the center, an intended homage to the illustrious children of Jalisco.

Lining the rotunda are various statues cast in copper that represent some of Jalisco's most distinguished citizenry.  Due to their dark color and Guadalajara's perpetual sunshine (I know, what a problem to have), it is often difficult to snap good pictures of them.  Here are three that somewhat do them justice:

(L to R):  Pedro Moreno and Rita Perez de Moreno, insurgents in the Mexican War of Independence; Jose Clemente Orozco, Mexican social realist painter.

Such a shame that I can't get good pics of them all; they truly are gorgeous.  Hopefully time and weather will wash these puppies out into a photogenic light green, Statue-of-Liberty-style.

Somebody, please call me when that happens.  With only eleven days left here, I'm already looking for excuses to return to Guadalajara and visit all of the illustrious people that I have met over the last two years.

They may not have led righteous wars or painted famous murals in historic buildings...but they are my friends.  They are doctors and scientists, lawyers and accountants.  They are the Foreign Service Nationals that welcomed us to post and showed us how to do our jobs at the consulate...and will do so again when our replacements arrive.  They are students working for a better tomorrow.  They run family businesses and help take care of their nieces.  They are our friends.

And we are going to miss them terribly.          

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