Central Mexico – Dolores Hidalgo

Façade of the church in Dolores Hidalgo.  This town is the equivalent of Concorde and Lexington in Mexico’s struggle for Independence.  Instead of the “Shot heard round the world”  It was the shout heard round the world.  The Parish priest, Miguel Hidalgo, on learning that plans for a rebellion in December had been discovered, decided to set the plans in motion immediately with the ringing of the bell in this church on September 16th 1811.

Façade of the church in Dolores Hidalgo.

Dolores probably lived up to the meaning of its name in the early 1800's. It is on an high and dry plain. The streets are an orderly grid. Wind and dust blow through the town. It is neat and pretty but clearly lacked the colonial wealth of San Miguel or Guanajuato. In the days before electricity and modern transport it was the kind of place to which one sent well connected priests with dangerous ideas so that they would have time to reflect on the cost to them of their free thinkinbg.

Interior of church in Dolores Hidalgo

Renewing the gold leaf on the interior of Dolores Hidalgo.  You can see the wrinkly fresh laid pieces that the young man is laying contrasted with the glossy rolled sections above his head.

Renewing the gold leaf on the interior of Dolores Hidalgo.  The young man on the right was cutting and gluing gold leaf to the stonework while his colleague was rolling and buffing it to a silky shine. They rightly had great pride in their work; it was beautiful.

Painted interior of Dolores Hidalgo church

Renewed gold leaf on a side altar.  The two young men who were working on it had spent 8 years completing it as funds allowed.

Detail Dolores Hidalgo

The pulpit in the church of Dolores Hidalgo.  Hidalgo either delivered his “Grito de Independencia” from the pulpit or the front steps of the church on September 16th 1811

Altar piece of Dolores Hidalgo

Altar to Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is the ever present icon of Mexican mestizo catholicism. The original image of her, so craftily painted by Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, is enshrined high up in the Basilica of Gualdalupe in Mexico City. Given what modern science has done to the shroud of Turin, this painting is kept high and safe.

Organ loft Dolores Hidalgo

Carved pews in the church of Dolores Hidalgo

Zocolo of Dolores Hidalgo

The towns around Guanajuato and Dolores Hidalgo are known for their adventurous ice cream flavours.  At this stand we tried rose petal, Hawaiian and passion fruit along with avocado, beer, corn, cheese, mole (chile sauce) and their prizewinning flavour, octopus and shrimp!!!  For concocting this flavorful innovation the nieverro won a microwave oven!

Father Miguel Hidalgo, hero of the struggle for Independence

Personal libraries were banned by the inquisition but Hidalgo kept this one in his home.

Piano in Hidalgo ’s house

Dining room in Hidalgo ’s house

Courtyard of Hidalgo ’s house

Kitchen of Hidalgo ’s house

Hidalgo’s courtyard

In the courtyard of Hidalgo ’s house