Franciscan Missions of the Sierra Gorda

The Sierra Gorda is also home to the Franciscan Missions, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a “Missions Tour” to view ancient, ornate missions and churches built by Franciscan monks. Tour the the five Franciscan Missions which symbolize the last phase of the Mexican evangelization.

MISSION OF SAN MIGUEL CONCA Even though the construction of this mission began in 1754, it was the first one to be finished. This mission is probably the most Mestiza, since its ornamentation of big flowers and foliage, and the rough sculptures, clearly show in its edification the indigenous artist’s hand. Two unique details stand out in the Latin-American baroque temples: the figures of the sun and the moon, which represent the universe’s duality and the merging of the Spanish with the indigenous cultures.

MISSION OF SANTIAGO DE JALPAN Built between 1751 and 1758, this mission’s construction was directed by friar Junípero Serra. It was the first of the five missionary temples in the Sierra Gorda and that’s why it was dedicated to Apostle St. James. Its façade is painted in a strong saffron color and it is adorned with Flowers. In the niche that once was occupied by the image of Apostle St. James, there is now a clock that was placed there in 1898 by General Rafael Olvera, who turned out to be more famous for his aesthetic crime than for his military achievements.

MISSION OF LANDA MATAMOROS Dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, this temple is probably the one with the most ornaments. Friar Miguel de la Campa built it between 1761 and 1764. On the different levels of the facade, all the characters that conform the city of God are congregated: Christ, the archangels, the apostles, martyrs, nuns and writers. Archangel Saint Michael, who won the battle with the devil, stands out at the center top. Landa’a mission marks the end of the spiritual conquers in the Sierra Gorda.

MISSION DE LA LUZ DE TANCOYOL Friar Juan Ramos de Lora built it between 1761 and 1767. Its facade is the most elaborate. Traditional details from the European influence can be observed right next to the indigenous elements. The facade represents different saints together in a choir singing to the Virgin, over columns bursting with vegetation; this is why it is said that it symbolizes divine mercy.

MISSION OF SAN FRANCISCO DEL VALLE DE TILACO Dedicated to San Francisco de Asís (Saint Francis), this Franciscan Mission was built between 1754 and 1762 by friar Juan Crespi. This is the smallest and simplest of the five missions. In its facade one can appreciate a garden with angels moving a theater curtain, as if they were letting the light go into the precinct. It represents a naive and pure faith through the magnificence of its entrance, full of flowers and fruits.

Tour Operators for Franciscan Missions of the Sierra Gorda

The following are among the most popular tour operators for touring the Franciscan Missions. These companies are all based in the city of Queretaro:

Descubre Turismo Alternativo Address:Río de la Loza No.6, Unit 3, Col. Centro Histórico District, Querétaro. Phone:+52 (442) 212-4565. Business hours:From 9:30 am to 7:00 pm.

Acueduc Tour: Culture, adventure and legends. Tours in Queretaro, Bernal, San Joaquin, Peñamiller, Pinal de Amoles and the Sierra Gorda. Address: Privada Nardos manzana 24 lote 18, Colonia:La Negreta, Querétaro. Phone:+52 (442) 140-5288.

Paloma's Tour Querétaro Address:Diamante 917, Colonia:Lomas de San Pedrito Peñuelas, Querétaro. Phone:+52 (442) 190-6001

Vocho Tour Address:Privada circunvalacion No 21 int 1, Querétaro. Phone:+52 (442) 265-4256

Tomas Tour Profesionales Address:Calle Independencia 49 A esq. Pasteur, Colonia:Centro, Querétaro. Phone:+52 (442) 140-9123 / 340-7050

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