Alhóndiga de Granaditas

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Museo Regional de Historia, El Alhóndiga de Granaditas
Alhondiga de Granaditas.jpg
Alhóndiga de Granaditas is located in Mexico
Alhóndiga de Granaditas
Location within Mexico
Established 1958
Location Mendizabal 6, Historic District, Guanajauto, Guanajauto
Coordinates 21°01′08″N 101°15′29″W / 21.0189°N 101.2581°W / 21.0189; -101.2581
Type History museum
The interior of the Alhóndiga

The Alhóndiga de Granaditas (Regional Museum of Guanajuato) (public granary) is an old grain storage building in Guanajuato City, Mexico. This historic building was created to replace an old granary near the city's river. The name translates roughly from both Arabic and Spanish as grain market or warehouse.[1] Its construction lasted from 1798 to 1809, by orders of Juan Antonio de Riaño y Bárcena, a Spaniard who was the quartermaster of the city during the Viceroyalty of New Spain.[2] The building received World Heritage listing as part of the Historic Town of Guanajuato in 1988.[3]

Architecture[edit]

The Alhóndiga is an example of Neoclassical ideas.[4] The original design was drafted in 1796 by Josė Alejandro Durán y Villaseñor, who was the master of public works.[4] Josė de Mazo y Avilés modified the plans later.

It measures 72 by 68 metres, with a height of 23 metres, and occupies an area of 4,828 square metres. It is constructed on the side of a hill and two of its sides are surrounded by elevations.[4] There are no ornamental facets on the exterior, except for a few windows at the top of each storage room.[5] It has cornices built in a Doric style, constructed with two types of regional stone—reddish and greenish. This gives it a curious appearance, resembling a stronghold or a castle, which it has come to be called by the people of Guanajuato.[citation needed] In the interior, there is a porch that leads to a spacious central patio. The porch contains Tuscan columns and adornments. There are two staircases that lead to the upper floor. The Alhóndiga has only two access doors, a small one facing the east, adorned by two columns, and a large door of the same basic style, facing the north. The edifice was used for the buying and selling of wheat, corn, and other grains.[6] Prior to the Mexican independence from Spain, it was used as a warehouse, military barracks, and prison. Currently it serves as a regional museum.[5]

History[edit]

The corner of the Alhóndiga where Hidalgo's head used to hang.
A part of one of the two murals in the Alhóndiga

When Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla's insurgent troops threatened to take over this city during the Mexican War of Independence, Riaño secured himself in the Alhóndiga on 28 September 1810, along with many other Spaniards and some rich criollos.[7] There were about 300 loyalists who took refuge from 20,000 rebels led by Hidalgo.[8] Riaño believed that the strength of the building, its ample supplies and its positioning would make it easy to repel the insurgents' attacks.[6] In addition to the corn the building already held, other provisions and twenty-four women were brought in to "make tortillas."[6]

At first the building held, but soon the insurgents surrounded the building and began throwing rocks. Riaño died in this attack. His death caused "division and discord among the defenders of the Alhóndiga."[6] The insurgents decided to burn down the eastern door to be able to enter and attack their oppressors. The man chosen to perform this task was Juan José Martínez "El Pípila", an extraordinarily strong local miner. He tied a large flat stone to his back to protect himself from the bullet and rock storm expected once he entered.[7] He poured petroleum on the door and lit it using a torch. When the door burnt down, the attackers stormed into the Alhóndiga, led by Martínez. Everyone inside the Alhóndiga was killed[7] and the building sacked. Reportedly, blood stains from the attack could still be seen on the pillars of the building and the main stair case as late as 1906.[9] At the end of the day, hundreds of bodies were buried, and the whole city of Guanajuato pillaged. This event would encourage Hidalgo not to attack Mexico City, afraid his followers would repeat the massacres and looting of Guanajuato.

These first insurgents eventually fell. The four main participants - Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, and José Mariano Jiménez - were shot by Spanish firing squads, and their bodies decapitated.[10] The four heads were hung from the corners of the Alhóndiga, to discourage other independence movements.[11] The heads remained hanging for ten years, until Mexico achieved its independence. They were then taken to Mexico City and put to rest under el Ángel de la Independencia.

In 1867, during the French Intervention in Mexico, the Emperor Maximilian ordered the Alhóndiga to be converted into a prison.[2] It remained a prison for nearly a century.[4]

Between 1955 and 1966, artist José Chávez Morado painted murals on the the building reflecting the historical significance of the place.[12] In 1958, the Alhóndiga opened officially as a museum.[12]

Public venue[edit]

Attached to one side of the Alhóndiga is a large plaza with a set of wide steps that rise to meet the edge of the building. During the annual International Cervantino Festival, this space is converted into a large open air auditorium for live performances. The shows (often music and dance by groups of worldwide acclaim) are free to the general public, with reserved seats directly below the stage.

Inside of the museum are exhibits and art honoring heroes of the Independence.[13] The museum also holds a collection of Pre-Columbian art donated by Morado and his wife in 1975.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Museo Regional de Guanajuato (Alhondiga de Granaditas)". Conaculta (in Spanish). Instituto Nacional de Anthropologia e Historia. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Bower, Doug; Bower, Cindi (2006). Guanajuato, Mexico: Your Expat, Study Abroad and Vacation Survival Manual in the Land of Frogs. Boca Raton, Florida: Universal Publishers. pp. viii–x. ISBN 1581129289. 
  3. ^ "Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines". World Heritage Center. UNESCO. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d Pelaez, Luis Gordo (2013). "'A Palace for the Maize': The Granary of Granaditas in Guanajuato and Neoclassical Civic architecture in Colonial Mexico" (PDF). RACAR: Revue D'Art Canadienne / Canadian Art Review 38 (2): 71–89. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "La Alhonidga de Granaditas". Mexico Deconocido (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d Alaman, Lucas (2003). "The Siege of Guanajuato". In Joseph, Gilbert M.; Henderson, Timothy J. The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Duke University Press. pp. 176–187. ISBN 9780822330424. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c "Museo Regional de Guanajuato Alhóndiga de Granaditas". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "Museo Regional de Guanajuato Alhóndiga de Granaditas". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Martin, Percy F. (1906). Mexico's Treasure-House (Guanajuato). New York: The Cheltenham Press. p. 22. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "Guanajuato". History. A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Baird, David; Bairstow, Lynne (2006). Frommer's Mexico 2007. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley Publishing, Inc. p. 204. ISBN 9780471922421. 
  12. ^ a b "Museo Regional de Guanajauto (Alhondiga de Granaditas)". Sistema de Informacion Cultural (in Spanish). 18 May 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  13. ^ "Museo Regional de Guanajuato Alhóndiga de Granaditas". Recursos Turisticos (in Spanish). Guanajuato: El Destino Cultural de Mexico. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "José Chávez Morado, el último muralista, es recordado en ocasión de su 103 aniversario". Secretaria de Educacion Publica (in Spanish). 3 January 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 21°01′08″N 101°15′29″W / 21.01889°N 101.25806°W / 21.01889; -101.25806