Altars, Churches in Mexico

Churches around my part of Mexico (the central highlands) are replete with amazing altars, lighting fixtures, and statuary.  Now when I say “amazing,” I don’t necessarily mean lavish or ornate, although often I do.  Sometimes I just mean that I’m amazed at what I find in a church.

By the way, I’d like to apologize in advance for the lack of clarity in some of these photographs.  I have a setting on my cheap little Kodak digital camera called “Manners/Museum” which I use when I’m in a church with parishioners.  In order not to disturb them during their worship, this setting withholds the camera flash and even the very slight “click” that the camera makes.  Unfortunately, it also means that I often get rather blurry pictures.  But I’d rather do that than upset the faithful.

Today, I’d like to show you some altars in churches I’ve visited.  Like, for instance, the one in the photo above that’s located inside the church on the plaza in Tizapan el Alto, Jalisco, population maybe 20,000.  Not a particular large town, and the church isn’t particularly large either.  But that altar is pretty overwhelming.

Here’s a little closer look at it:

This altar has what most altars around these parts have…ornate columns, statues, flowers, a virgin (that’s her in the little red cape), and candlesticks.  Oh, wait, you can’t see the candlesticks, can you?  Well, here they are:

And just look at the size of them!  If they really had to be lit by a match, a person would need a stepladder just to reach the wick!

On the other hand, the Templo Expiatorio in Guadalajara, which is so ornate in so many ways, both inside and out, has this rather understated altar:

In the little church in the little town of Cojumatlan, Michoacan (population maybe 9,000), inside a rather plain exterior, one encounters this:

It’s such a shock that I always include a stop at the pueblo’s church when I’m going with folks to Sahuayo or Zamora on the south shore of Lake Chapala.  And I’m always happy to see that first-time visitors are also amazed by what they are seeing.

In the town of Jamay, Jalisco (population about 21,000) there’s a “new” church near the plaza dating from the late 1800’s.  The interior of the church is quite plain by Mexican standards

but the altar is pretty ornate!

The Santuario de la Virgen de Guadalupe in Sahuayo, Michocan, is impressive from the outside and equally impressive from the inside.  The day I shot these pictures, the church was preparing for a wedding, so the matching flowers may be a bit more abundant than usual.

The rather unprepossessing church in Concepcion de Buenas Aires, Jaliso, has a rather unprepossessing altar, as well:

but it does have some oddly compelling “statuary” that I will show you in a later post.

But for now, let me give you a couple more photos of altars great and small.  Here’s the altar at the church of Santiago Apostol in Tequila, Jalisco (population maybe 28,000).  Even with the scaffolding in front, it’s impressive.

But, ya know what?  I find this very simple altar in the little church in Las Trojes, Jalisco, just as appealing:


About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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7 Responses to Altars, Churches in Mexico

  1. joe says:

    Gotta say barb, I Love It!! I am always fasinated by the architecture I see in Mexico. Your blogs are better than any travel book I have ever seen. You seem to hitg on most of what interests me with that personal touch. Keep bloggin’ till I get there…lol

  2. Barbara says:

    Dude, you’re just reading the wrong travel books!

  3. Sartenada says:

    This is great post. Your photos praise the beauty of Mexican churches. They are majestic, so beautiful. In Finland our churches are very basic. I love pulpits inside them.

    Here are some of them:

    Pulpits in churches

    Happy blogging!

  4. Peggy says:

    Yes, I am amazed and delighted at your interest in churches in Mexico. All of your stories about places you visit inspire me to look around with new eyes at my current locale.

    • Barbara says:

      Peg, that’s the hard part about living anywhere for any length of time. you tend to ignore what others find beautiful or interesting.

  5. Peggy says:

    Your tour of altars brings to mind the relatively old “painted church of Texas”
    located in my neck of the woods (South Texas). You can view them at

  6. Pingback: Inician trabajos de saneamiento y mantenimiento del panteón municipal Coatzintla – Veracruzanos

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