Querétaro state

December 27th, 2004

Fiestas de Diciembre, Querétaro

Tina ManleyThanks to Tina Manley, who sent me this photo taken on 23 December of folk dancers parading in the streets of Querétaro – the culmination of the Fiestas de Diciembre in the city.

Filed in Art, Culture & Music, Events & Festivals, Querétaro state

March 22nd, 2004

Bringing in the New Dawn

Peña de Bernal - April 2003Last year I was up before dawn and waited in the dawn mist at Dzibilchaltun to greet the new sun. This weekend, thousands converged on the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan, near Mexico City while the usual hordes gathered at Chichén Itzá in Yucatán to witness the Feathered Serpent descend El Castillo. Others danced at El Tajin. At Bernal, where the average longevity of the locals is 93, they are drawn to the 350m-high Peña de Bernal, a craggy monolith an hour’s easy drive or bus ride from Queretaro.

A reminder that Mexico sets the clock forward one hour at 2:00am on Sunday 4th April, one week after we do the same this side of the Atlantic.

Filed in Events & Festivals, Querétaro state

August 4th, 2003

Colonial Cadereyta

An email from virtual amigo Dick Perry, publisher of Espadaña Press. This month his Exploring Colonial Mexico website features two extraordinary colonial works of art to be found in Cadereyta, Querétaro.

I took the photos of the superb gilded 18th-century Churrigueresque retablo (altarpiece) and rare painted atrial cross in April during a visit to this tiny colonial gem of a town, located one hour’s drive or bus journey northeast of Querétaro, the state capital.

Filed in Colonial Mexico, Querétaro state

July 9th, 2003

Franciscan missions newest ‘world wonder’

The Mission at Landa de MatamorosOn Thursday, UNESCO announced that the five Franciscan missions of the Sierra Gorda (Querétaro) have been recognised as of “special interest” by the United Nations for their “richly decorated church facades”, and had given them World Heritage Site status.

Built during the last phase of the conversion to Christianity of the interior of Mexico in the mid 18th century, the diminutive settlements which grew around the missions at Jalpan de Serra, Landa de Matamoros, Tilaco, Tancoyol and Conca, have retained their provincial character. The Missions are located some 5 hours drive north from Mexico City.

I witnessed the last stages of a painstaking renovation over the past 12 months and am personally delighted these extraordinarily beautiful buildings will now attract wider attention.

Junipero SerraThe Missions joined 23 other newly inscribed natural and cultural sites on the World Heritage list. They included the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, south-west London – created in 1759 – one year after the tireless Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra left the Sierra on foot bound for California, Arizona and Texas.

Junipero Serra is still a well-known figure in California, for the missions he founded throughout the state two centuries ago – including those of Los Angeles and San Francisco – and his statue stands in the National Statuary Hall of the US Capitol in Washington DC and in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

Mexico now joins Italy, Spain, France, India and China with 23 sites UNESCO feel are deserving of World Heritage status and protection.

Further thumbnail images of the Missions can be viewed here.

Filed in Mexico's World Heritage Sites, Querétaro state