Los Rico y Los Pobres

Yesterday I spent some time wandering around Guanajuato and familiarizing myself with its many narrow twisting streets, but two places that I visited made Mexico’s historical dichotomy between rich and poor extremely apparent. tmp_28071-chandeliers in church 8031655324356tmp_28071-church 080316782395105The Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuto is located off the Plaza de la Paz, and its numerous murals, chandeliers, and statues illustrate the great wealth of the church in colonial Mexico. On the other hand, my visit to Alhondiga de Granaditas showed the other side of life in colonial Mexico. The Alhondiga was the site of the first battle in Mexico’s battle for independence. The royalists and many of the city’s weathly citizens retreated to the Alhondiga to make their stand against the soldiers of the insurrection. Initially the insurgents were unable to gain entry through the massive walls and doors, but then El Pipila strapped on rocks for protection and crawled up to the thick wooded doors to coat them with hot tar and set them on fir allowing them to gain entry and take Alhondiga. Today the building is a museum, and the history of the region is portrayed in its murals and artifacts. tmp_28071-stamps 0810316-1901385864The displays contain a large variety of carved stone stamps that were used to print both paper and textiles, but I think my favorite was the statue of the Aztec god, Xochipilli – the God of Dance, Flowers, Music, and Love. tmp_28071-xochipilli 80316172637306Apparently, the church was unable to convince the indigenous people of Mexico to give up their worship up this God as they held to their belief that if they failed in celebrating him he would punish them with inflammations of their genitals. I can understand their reluctance to take the risk.  Viewing both the opulence of the basilica and the museum in the same day makes it easy to understand why the people of Mexico fought so hard for their independence.

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