Cathedral of Guadalajara, or “Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of Mary”, is the parish seat of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara and one of the most representative buildings of the city, because of its towers with neo-Gothic spires and its rich history.

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The first cathedral was built in 1541 in what is now the church of Santa Maria de Gracia. To make this church they originally used adobe and thatched roofs.

On May 18th, 1555 authorization was obtained by royal decree to build the cathedral, whose cost would be covered by the Royal Treasury, the trustees and indigenous community; so on July 31st, 1561 Fray Pedro de Ayala, second bishop of New Galicia, placed and blessed the first stone of this beautiful temple. Then on day May 30th, 1574 it caught fire and was half-ruined.

By royal decree the money for the new cathedral was obtained. By February 1618, the architect Martin Casillas had completed his job. 

Catedral de Guadalajara

By royal decree the money for the new cathedral was obtained. By February 1618, the architect Martin Casillas had completed his job. 

Thus, in April of the same year he moved the Blessed Sacrament of the old church to the new one.

In 1818, a strong earthquake shook the city, whose aftermath left a new tragedy: the towers and dome collapsed. 

They were replaced by new ones, which also collapsed during a subsequent earthquake in the year 1849. 

The new towers were built by the architect engineer Manuel Gómez Ibarra. It took three long years to finish them, around 1854.

Pope Pius XII elevated it to the rank of minor basilica, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary.

The cathedral occupies an area of 77.8 by 72.75 meters. 

Catedral de Guadalajara

Pope Pius XII elevated it to the rank of minor basilica, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary.

It contains altars dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Zapopan (patron saint of Guadalajara), Saint Dominic, Saint Nicholas of Bari, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Christopher, and St. John of God. 

There are 52 carved wooden seats, in addition to the cardinal’s chair. 

The consecration table is made of marble and silver. 

The stained glass windows are imported from Germany.

Also in this room are images of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Christ of Waters, among others. The cathedral also houses relics of the Holy Roman martyr Innocence. 

Three cardinals are buried in the cathedral, and several bishops of the diocese, even the heart of a well-known prelate, Bishop Ruiz Cabañas and Crespo, founder of the former hospital that now houses the cultural center bears his name.

Catedral de Guadalajara

The stained glass windows are imported from Germany.

Among the crypts below what was the royal chapel, is that of the bishops, which contains graves dating from the sixteenth century to the last residence of Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo in 1993. 

Here we see the headwall and foundations of the cathedral as well as coffins in which are the remains of the servants of God Don Francisco Gomez de Mendiola and Don Juan de Santiago Leon Garabito, bishops of Guadalajara, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Just under the altar stand the crypt of the canons, virtually unused since the time of the Reformation, recently restored with cross vault, cathedral archeology vice regal times.

Catedral de Guadalajara

Just under the altar stand the crypt of the canons, virtually unused since the time of the Reformation, recently restored with cross vault, cathedral archeology vice regal times.

By the middle of the nineteenth century, the architect Manuel Gomez Ibarra built the current towers to the liking of Bishop Aranda and Carpinteiro. 

The investment from July 30th, 1851 to June 15th, 1854 was 33,521 pesos.

On the former first part, the second current rises, flattened its four corners. 

Four inverted corbels fill the gaps; each of their faces are paired with elliptical louvers. From there are pyramidal finials coated tiles that were made in Sayula. The four medallions with the arms of the church are flanked on both pyramidal, four pinnacles. Topped with two large Greek crosses, tilled with iron.

Like the other the ancient towers, they had images of St. Michael and St. James, patron of the city and the kingdom, respectively.

Measured according to the triangulation engineer Jose R. Benitez, 65.91 meters which is facing north and 65.55 meters which gives south wind.

The Cathedral of Guadalajara has 19 bells in total and 6 cowbells, which from highest to lowest are: St. Mary of the Assumption, St. Peter, St. Mary of the Rose, the Immaculate Conception, St. Anthony and Our Lady of pains.

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How this Virtual Tour was made

One of the features of the Cathedral of Guadalajara is the great high ceilings and complex thereof. Arches, domes, many of its charms are up there.

For lighting conditions, I recommend using a tripod.

The difference in brightness between the windows and stained glass and the rest of the stay are too strong to cover warranty whole scene in a single exposure.

Therefore, it is very normal that the windows look burned or the church looks very dark, depending on the measurement of light at the place in the scene.

The dynamic range of the camera is unable to capture correctly the form of area lights and shadows without losing form.

In this case I used the technique of “Mascaras Luminance” taking several pictures by varying the exposure, to expose both lights and shadows correctly and then merging the pictures in Photoshop. Certainly a highly recommended technique in churches and cathedrals.

I used the ISO value lower that my camera has, which ensured me a lower occurrence of noise. Regarding the opening, I used f / 11 which allowed me to get the desired depth of field and adjust the exposure time using a manual shooting mode.

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Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa

English language translation made by Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa through the collaboration of Centro de Estudio de Idiomas 

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