The "Alhóndiga de Granaditas" in Guanajuato, Mexico
This historic building located in the city of Guanajuato, was built in 1797 with the purpose of serving as a grain storage for the people and took twelve years to be completed. It was built by Juan de Dios Perez and Francisco Trinidad Ortiz de Castro and used the then millionaire budget of 21,830 dlls. It has also hosted major national events and now is home to the Regional Museum of Guanajuato supervised by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH by its acronym in Spanish).
Right after the site was built in 1809, it began to store food inside and it was a year later when the battle for independence, for which is known, took place: On September 28, 1810, the insurgent army came to Guanajuato; the rich Spanish and some Creoles, took refuge inside the storage, as these were loyal to the king and also feared the theft of their resources. So because of its thick walls and strong gates, realists were being able to withstand the assault. It was only then that a mining-hero known as The Pípila tied a stone slab on his back (to avoid being shot), and got just close enough to the door just to sprinkle it with oil and set it on fire . The royalists were virtually massacred.
After the defeat of the troops commanded by Hidalgo and Allende, it was ordered to hang their heads (along with that of Juan Aldama and José Mariano Jimenez), in cages, at the four corners of the Alhóndiga de Granaditas to show the punishment to those who wished to rebel against the Viceroy. These heads were exposed there for almost ten years.
Following the consummation of independence, the Alhóndiga was used for storage, besides being the venue for buying and selling of grain. Some years later it served as military headquarters, until the time of the Second Empire of Maximiliano of Hasburg in 1864 when it became a prison. In fact you can still see where the prisoners carved the stone with signatures, drawings and others. The prison was later abandoned in 1949 and in 1958 the federal and state government of the state of Guanajuato decided to turn it into a museum.
This museum has a total of fourteen rooms (ten permanent exhibits) with themes of archeology, history, arts and crafts of Guanajuato, among others. It has celebrated both the 200 years since its foundation, as well as 50 of its use in teaching with lectures, temporary exhibitions and book presentations and photographs, as well as conferences hosted by intellectuals.
It is worth to mention that for a long time, visitations to the Alhóndiga de Granaditas have bee part of many school programs and institutions, so if you decide to visit it during weekdays, it is almost certain to find elementary and middle school students there. Its influence during high season becomes more than eight hundred visitors a day, on average.
The Alhóndiga de Granaditas has no website but there is a profile on Facebook where you can learn about its events and exhibitions:
http://es-es.facebook.com/pages/La-Alh% C3% B3ndiga-de-Granaditas/134004193338327
With dimensions of 75 meters long by 68 wide and 23 meters high, the Alhóngida de Granaditas is an example of the neoclassical style during the Colony. It has no decorations on the outside except a Doric green and red cornice. This way, it resembles a Tuscan building, typical of that era.
Inside, the Alhóndiga is decorated with murals from Artist José Chávez Morado, a native of the state. These murals underwent a restoration in 2009, so now they look very colorful. So, in your next visit to Guanajuato, the Alhóndiga de Granaditas is a trip you can´t miss!
Article produced by the Editorial Team of "Explorando Mexico".
Copyright Explorando México, All rights reserved.
Photo: El finísimo jarritos