The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe (La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe) is the most recognizable symbol of Puerto Vallarta. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church is in the main square of the town right across the City Hall. The church stands high above the other buildings and dominates the downtown skyline. It is an icon that appears in many postcards, paintings and photos. This impressive church represents the changes of Puerto Vallarta, going from a small village to a big tourist city.
Work began on the construction of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1803, when Puerto Vallarta was just a minor town on the map. Since then, it has expanded in size and grandeur. By 1917, the church included its existing foundation with the main pillars and walls in place. The church, over the following years, has developed even further with the main bell being added and more room made around the working chapel. Each phase of work added a new concept in style and architecture and has culminated in the diverse structure that is now admired by so many. The Parish Church has various styles: neoclassical in the main building, renaissance in the towers and the crown is reminiscent of baroque European temples. The church tower is topped with a wrought-iron crown lifted by angels.
There’s always something going on within the church and around it, the church bells ring prior to each service. You’ll hear the church bells ring most frequently between December 1st to the 12th of each year. This time of year, is called Our Lady of Guadalupe Festival (also known as Feast of Guadalupe). During the 12-day Feast of Guadalupe Festival (December 1 –12) large processions of the faithful from all over the area come to Puerto Vallarta. Singing on their way to the church, are often colorful floats, Mariachis, and Aztec dancers among others in the crowd. The festival pays respect to the Virgin Mary who appeared to Juan Diego in Guadalupe on December 12th, 1531. Vendors are set up around the church selling food, drink and religious items day and night. These festivities are attended by tens of thousands, locals and visitors.
This architectural jewel of Puerto Vallarta is one of the most definable images showing that Vallarta is a very charming destination where you can find a real Mexican town on the beac surrounded by the Sierra Madre mountains. You will find red roofs on the white houses, cobblestone streets and bougainvillea decorating the streets.
If you are going to visit Puerto Vallarta, add it to your list of things to do in town. You’ll get a look at of one of the most important monuments of the city and the spiritual center for the Catholics in town. You don’t need to attend mass or tour the inside of the red brick Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, but you should pause while you are strolling down the Malecon to take a photo or two of this gorgeous landmark for a souvenir.
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