It might sound very tasteless to say that "a visit to Guadalajara is not complete without giving a tour of the Hospicio Cabañas", but I think it is very true. Beyond the imposing of its building, the merit lies in its history, everything that those walls have witnessed ... And what about the roofs!
It all started with the arrival to the city of a Spanish bishop, Juan Cruz Ruiz de Cabañas y Crespo in the late eighteenth century who had the idea to build a home for children and the elderly. But not only that, the site would serve as a school / workshop where they would be teach any craft. So they decided to hire the best architect of the time, Manuel Tolsa. It began to built in 1805 and the process lasted for almost one hundred years although it opened in 1810, long before being completed, it was named "Casa de Mosericordia."
To its bad luck, that year war of independence broke out and the building became headquarters of the Spanish side: jail, warehouse and military barracks. Its name was changed in honor of its main sponsor and stayed as we know it today.
The building is one of the greatest exponents of neoclassical in Mexico and in its interior has many corridors with arcades, 23 patios, a beautiful chapel besides numerous rooms.
In 1937 the Jalisco artist Jose Clemente Orozco received a task: to decorate the old chapel of the place. Thus, in the walls and ceilings capture in what for many would be his best work: 1200 square meters of murals and paintings. For two years he painted 57 murals that relate conquest, colonial and modern times, a way to teach Mexico ihis ideology and the country's history. The best of all is definitely the so-called "El Hombre de Fuego" which is in the dome of the chapel. It is a man wrapped in flames surrounded by three figures representing the four elements of nature: air, earth, fire and water.
In 1983 opened the doors of a museum that has 12 rooms of Mexican artists as Dr. Atl and Raul Anguiano, besides other temporary exhibitions.
At present, it is the seat of the Instituto Cultural Cabañas and the Secretaria de Cultura de Jalisco.
Among the activities that are taught in the Institute are music classes, theater and ballet. It also offered spectacles of dance, music and theater besides here is also the School of Visual Arts.
The Hospicio Cabañas was declared a World Heritage Site on December 4, 1997 by Unesco.
The Museum and Chapel are opened Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00 hrs and Sundays from 10:00 to 15:00 hrs. Ask for guided tours, they are great and give you a very different and complete vision of what is seen in the ceilings and walls of the chapel.