(Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico)
The city's cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana) is also known as the 'Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady' and serves as a Roman Catholic place of worship. Famed for its beautiful Renaissance facade, the cathedral boasts twin neo-Gothic towers and has suffered much earthquake damage over the years, leading to numerous structural repairs of its crowning dome.
Capital of Mexico's state of Jalisco, Guadalajara is located within the Western Pacific area and has played host to many major international events over the years. The city is often nicknamed 'Mexico's Silicon Valley', since it is home to innumerable leading software and electronics companies.
The downtown district is particularly historic in character and contains some of the city's most impressive buildings and structures, including both the Degollado Theatre and the Metropolitan Cathedral.
One of downtown's most instantly recognisable landmarks is the Rotunda of Illustrious Jalisco Men and Women, which is better known to locals as the 'Rotonda de Los Jaliscienses Ilustres'. The Rotunda is sited alongside the cathedral and within a charming green park.
The Rotunda structure stands next to a series of mature trees and actually marks the very site where many important past residents have been buried. Completed in the early 1950s, the Rotunda comprises 17 columns in total and is surrounded by almost 100 historical urns.
Located in the city centre, the Plaza Tapatia is a large public square, where plenty of shops and restaurants are located. Close to the downtown district, the Plaza Tapatia is located near to both the cathedral and the Instituto Cultural Cabañas, and is always a good spot for some refreshing ice cream.
The Calle Hidalgo is a prominent local thoroughfare and is sited within the city centre. A number of reliable gift shops are to be found here, selling Mexican curios, such as art, wines and coloured glass decanters.
Close by, the city of San Pedro Tlaquepaque lies on the southerly outskirts of the city. Tlaquepaque's Benito Juarez Market is worth looking out for, as are the churches of San Pedro and El Santuario de Nuestra Senora de la Soledad.
Part of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Zapopan is another nearby city and is especially popular with tourists visiting this part of Mexico, since it contains an excellent selection of shopping malls. These include the Plaza Milenium, the Centro Magno and the Plaza del Sol. Zapopan's Santiago River canyon is also worth searching out.
Tonala is a neighbouring city with a population of just under 400,000 people. Attractions in Tonala include regular street markets, where local pottery is sold.