Hospicio Cabañas

Calle Cabañas 8, Las Fresas, San Juan de Dios, 44360 Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico

This 19th-century complex, originally built as a hospital for the disadvantaged, is host to an impressive display of modern art, most notably a series of frescoes by famous Mexican muralist Jose Clemente Orozco. The collection includes one of his most well-known murals, El Hombre de Fuego, which earned its building the nickname “the Sistine Chapel of the Americas.” A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hospicio Cabañas is a perfect example of Guadalajara’s ability to embrace its history and its future, combining 1790s architecture, 1930s murals, and, finally, a space for rotating exhibitions of contemporary art.

Having functioned as an orphanage, an insane asylum, and a military barracks in the past, Hospicio Cabañas also has a spooky side. There are several ghost stories about the space, including a legend about a clock that stopped whenever a child died in the orphanage.

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Ogle Orozco's Murals

José Clemente Orozco was one of the founders of Mexican muralism and one of his most famous frescos, “El Hombre de Fuego” (“Man of Fire”), is on display here. The piece is painted in the cupola of the building formerly known as Hospicio Cabañas; because of the grandeur of the work, it is often referred to as the Sistine Chapel of the Americas. The building is also a World Heritage Site. Seeing the dramatic, massive work is all the more impressive when you consider that Orozco painted the piece with just one hand; he lost his left hand during a childhood accident.

Guadalajara: Early Morning Streets

Absolutely sleep-deprived from a red-eye flight to Guadalajara, Mexico, we somehow managed to make fake our Spanish and make our way to the city center by bus, two buses to be exact. The sun had yet to rise over the horizon. The streets were eerily empty, the shops not yet open, and only the sounds of birds and street cleaners to welcome to us at 7am. Without the calm and the lack of people this photo wouldn’t have been possible. The haze of the sunrise gave the most mysterious glow around Guadalajara’s Hospicio Cabañas building (UNESCO Heritage Site). It was just perfect timing, thanks to that terrible red-eye flight.

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