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bear495 Salamanca - A travel report by Russ
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Salamanca,  Mexico - flag Mexico -  Guanajuato
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bear495's travel reports

Religious Influences in Colonial America

  15 votes
Page: 1 2
Salamanca, Guanajuato is one of the historical colinial cities of the Spanish Empire. Its religious heritage can be seen in almost all aspects of the area.

Old Cathedral Tower
Old Cathedral Tower
The broadening of the 16th-century Spanish Empire came about for a two-fold reason: 1. Spain was seeking gold and riches. 2. The Roman Church was involved in a self-effacing crusade to rid itself of all external influences. Historically, we call this period the Inquisition. These aspects extended throughout the world, and became evident in the many colonial cities of the New World. Salamanca is one of those colonial cities. This city is located in the center of the country and has numerous churches and festivals. One can see the influence of the Church by the ostentatious and luxurious appointments that are found throughout the religious buildings. Even though much of the populace has little economic assets, the churches are some of the most ricly-decorated that one can find in Central Mexico. This shows the attitude of the people toward their belief that the place that they worship should be the most illustrious place in their community. Not only is the Catholic Church important in Salamanca. but the city boasts a special significance in the Protestant Church as well. This is the city where the first converts to the Methodist Church occurred and the first Methodist Church in Mexico was built. This church, and some of the descendants of those firsts converts, still inhabit the area.

Favourite spots:
The Black Christ
The Black Christ
I especially enjoyed viewing the cathedral in Salamanca. This church was established in the middle of the 16th century. It was originally completed in 1605. Upgrades to the building made in 1910 insured that this cathedral remains as one of the larger and more beautiful buildings in all of Mexico. The artwork, the frescoes, the golden icons, and other treasures are as beautiful as many that can be found in Europe. One of the special features in the cathedral is the 'black Christ.' This image was originally carved from wood and inlaid with gold. A fire in the early 1800's burned much of the interior of the building. The people tried to restore the church to its original luster, including the 'Christ.' However, the image remained blackened from the fire damage. It is now viewed as a miracle, and is one of the more important features within this massive building. The frescoes on the cupola of the dome include gold leafed figures. Other works of art within the building are unequalled.

What's really great:
The "Chevy Cathedral"
I enjoyed roaming the streets of Salamanca. There is a mixture of modern and colonial that allows the mind of the traveler to imagine that he/she is roaming the streets in 1620, only to be awakened and see aspects of the 21st century. The people of the city are friendly, helpful to the traveler, and make one feel safe and at ease. Many festivals, fairs, and parades occur in this city. Stars of the opera, dance, and music perform their artistry at the clubs and public arenas here on a regular basis. I only wish that I had more time time spend in this city than I did.

Cathedral Art
Cathedral Art
Walking along the streets of Salamanca, eerything can be found for a traveler to do. In the evenings, look for the small restaurants with the roaming mariachis. Be aware that these bands may ask for a donation of $5 - $10 per song that you request.

During the day, much of the activity reveolves around the central plaza of the town. There, one can find an open-air market, flea market items, and numerous other shops.

Salamanca travelogue picture
Guanajuato is the state of mole, a rich sauce that is served on meat, potatoes, rice, bread, and anything else that people might eat. This delicious food is made by roasting and grinding 10 types of chiles, almonds, peanuts, cashews, chocolate, onions, spices, and other ingredients, then slowly cooking them to blend all of the flavors. The entire process to make the traditional mole takes three days. Then, it is eaten with the main dish of the meal.

One of the pleasant meals that I ate was at the Hotel El Monte. This is a small hotel, with a restaurant that seats about 40. It has a full service bar and a small dining area. However, the food is lovongly prepared daily by the cooks. I recommend the beef tips in chipotle.

One of the special places in Salamanca is La Nueva Michoacana, which serves home-made ice creams and frozen yogurts.

Published on Friday June 17th, 2005

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Sat, Jun 18 2005 - 01:30 PM rating by milana

A very interesting report, Salamnca will be in my "to do" list!Especially I liked the Black Christ!To my mind it's very good that you put some history in your report, it makes it really captivating!

Sat, Jun 18 2005 - 12:22 PM rating by jgrant8

Great job! This is a different angle. Johnnie

Fri, Jun 17 2005 - 11:46 PM rating by davidx

I think we could do with more reports from a very specific angle like this, so long as they keep the travel relationship - which this one certainly does. Most interesting.

Fri, Jun 17 2005 - 07:09 PM rating by rgrant9

This is another very fine report. Keep up the great work. Roger

Fri, Jun 17 2005 - 01:20 PM rating by djcummin

Another great report. DJ

Fri, Jun 17 2005 - 12:57 PM rating by rangutan

Your reports always very informative of diverse cultural themes, specially those of Mexico, for me extremely valuable, great!

Fri, Jun 17 2005 - 12:53 PM rating by picasso

Hi Russ,i had enjoyed your report a lot.Very interesting and informative.*****


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