Jamay, Jalisco, Mexico is a great little town, although there’s not too much to see there, with the exception of this FABULOUS monument to Pope Pius IX. But that, my friends, is totally worth the trip!
You can see from the picture at the top of the post just how large it is, and get some idea of just how intricate it is. So here’s this pueblo on the north shore of Lake Chapala, about an hour and a half drive from here, that most gringos never go to. And smack dab in the middle of town is a monument that puts the royal wedding cake to shame.
For those of you who [like me] don’t have a clue who Pope Pius IX was, here’s a little info. He was the longest reigning pope ever….32 years….from 1846 to 1878. And, more importantly, he’s the Pope who came up with the concept of the Immaculate Conception! Okay, perhaps I misspoke there. He didn’t necessarily “come up” with the concept, but he proclaimed the dogma thereof.
More fascinating to me is why a little pueblo in the middle of Mexico would feel obliged to erect this beautiful, hand constructed monument in his honor between 1874 and 1878. While I have been unable to find the definite answer, the most likely reason is that a local priest, who commissioned the monument, was an ardent fan of Pius IX.
[Just an aside: it’s amazing to me how much information is out there on the world wide web about places in the United States and Europe; and amazing how little is out there about the other places in the world. Maybe it’s not so worldwide after all.]
But to continue about this fabulous piece of architecture in Jamay: Oddly enough, the number eight plays a much greater role in the monument’s design than does the number nine, which would be fairly self evident. The monument has eight sides, eight levels, eight columns on the inside and eight more on the outside.
Moving a little bit away from the monument, near the church on the plaza in Jamay, is this. Care to venture a guess as to what it is….and how old it is?
Yep, it’s a sundial and extremely accurate. Particularly since it was built in the mid 1700s! [Things like this always remind me of something I once read about the difference between the United States and England: “In the US, 100 years is a long time, and in England, 100 miles is a long way.”]
Close by the sundial is the church, originally built in 1766. Destroyed by an earthquake in the late 1800s, stones from the original church have been incorporated into the “new” church dating from the beginning of the twentieth century.
For those of you in this part of the world who are of a mind to visit Jamay, head north on the highway to Guadalajara from Chapala and take the La Barca turnoff. This will lead you directly to Jamay.
And since you’ll be looking for a place to eat [and you KNOW you will], there are numerous restaurants right on the highway between Ocotlan and Jamay. On our trip, we had lunch at one of the first restaurants after leaving Ocotlan, on the mountain side, and had great food and four star service for way less than $10US a person!
I seriously urge you to visit Jamay. It’s a nice drive, but, more importantly, you really need to see this monument to appreciate it. And remember, we’re talking about something that was built in the 1870s in a country that still does most of its building using only human labor!