Gringo in Guadalajara

Statue City

One of the lovliest things about Guadalajara is its preponderance of statues.  It is very difficult to overestimate how many statues there are in the city.  Virtually every park, public square, rotary circle and church plaza has at least one statue, and often a whole series of statues.  It makes the city a kind of public museum, a place that both honors its past and teaches a little history to anyone who happens to walk by and look up.

The grandest statues in the city stand triumphantly in the prominent rotaries or round-abouts which you find at major intersections.  For instance, the Ninos Heroes Statue at the intersection of avenidas Chaputepec, Mariano Otero and Ninos Heroes is a 50 meter-high remembrance of the legend of six cadets who refused to surrender during the American invasion of 1847.  It is made from pink canterra stone and crafted by Juan OlaguĂ­bel.  Nearby is the famed Minerva fountain and statue which represents the Roman goddess of war, poetry, and wisdom.  The statue is the creation of Joaquin Arias and includes a base containing the names of eighteen Tapatios (Guadalajara residents) who helped create the city. 
The Ninos Heroes statue in Guadalajara.


There are also many sets of themed statues.  For instance, along the center passage of the Avenida de Americas, each American country is represented with its greatest leader (the U.S. gets Lincoln).  Another set of statues in nearby Zapopan marks streets named after famous composers with their busts.


Of course, sometimes the number of statues can border on overkill --- can there really be so many heroes in Mexican history worth honoring in stone?  Does every resident get a statue to call his or her own?  And of course there are political and sociological questions to be raised...are women fairly represented? (doesn't seem like it) Are all of these honored leaders worthy? (undoubtedly no).  But the questions arise only on a close and rather cynical inspection.  Most of the time it is a lovely experience to walk through a park and come upon a famous figure about whom you knew nothing before.