Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda of Querétaro

This world heritage site comprises five mid-18th century missions in the mountainous region north east of Queretaro. Visiting them all by public transport would have taken some days so I settled on a trip to just one of them, in the largest and therefore the easiest to get to of the small towns – Jalpan de Serra.

on the road to Jalpan de Serra

on the road to Jalpan de Serra

The bus journey there was four hours of sharply twisting roads taken at some speed, so by the time I arrived I was feeling rather queasy. I was then dismayed to discover that I was going to have to go through it all again as there was no bus service onwards to my next stop – there were various options but they all involved going back to Mexico City. Not sure what to do about this I went into town and found that the hotel I’d seen recommended was full and the other only had a room available for one night. That settled it – I would see the mission in the morning and take the stomach churning ride back to Queretaro the next afternoon.

Jalpan de Serra - main square

Jalpan de Serra - main square

Wandering out in the evening to find some food I got chatting at a taco stand to a Mexican university lecturer who was in town for a conference, which explained the shortage of hotel rooms. He helped my acquire a taco without cow brain in it (he assured me it was tasty, I assured him I was English and we get funny about that kind of thing) and when he paid for his and his colleagues’ food, he kindly bought mine as well.

Santiago de Jalpan

Santiago de Jalpan

These missions were built as part of the campaign to convert the hard to reach indigenous people in this mountainous region to Christianity. The ornately decorated moulded plaster facades are seen as a marriage of the Franciscans’ iconography with a local decorative style. The Spanish friar who spearheaded this evangelisation later went on to found the first mission in California.

Santiago de Jalpan - detail of facade

Santiago de Jalpan - detail of facade

I’ve commented before on the evils of missionary work and the UNESCO listing describes the process here thus:

Each mission had to erect the church, find the natives, subdue them, and then group them in huts around the church. The missionaries had to learn the native language, supply the population with food, teach them how to behave, and only then evangelize them.

Santiago de Jalpan - detail of facade
Santiago de Jalpan – detail of facade

 The rather ugly clock in the photo above was apparently added in the 20th century and replaces another figure of a saint. Anyway, on with the Lego!

 

Lego Santiago de Jalpan

Lego Santiago de Jalpan

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Lego, UN World Heritage Site and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda of Querétaro

  1. melania says:

    Holy moly, you are a lego Goddess!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s