Templo Valenciana Church, Guanajuato Guide
The Temple La Valenciana is one of the most contrived churches of Guanajuato. Inside are some of the most ornate and decorative Churrigueresque carvings found in central Mexico, while the exterior is half finished and mismatched.
The extravagant Temple La Valenciana was funded by the deepest and most dangerous silver mine of Guanajuato and was partially constructed to appease the religious consciousness of the Spanish silver barons. The Temple La Valenciana is one of the finest religious structures in Guanajuato and is worthy of the short trip out of the city.
Templo La Valenciana Information
The 18th century Temple La Valenciana church is both beautiful and grandeur, but sadly was built on hardship and exploitation. The exterior stonewalls of the Temple La Valenciana, which stretch up from the main road, were constructed from pink stone that is solid and imposing while the front façade is a mixture of the finest stone carving and incomplete sections. The portal surrounding the main entrance is one of the finest examples of Mexican Churrigueresque style of elaborate stone carving while just above, the second bell tower has never been started.
The Valenciana church is stunning
The missing tower is not at first obvious as the approach is from the main road via steep steps, which faces the completed tower on the left side. Silver and funds were both plentiful, so the decision to leave the exterior unfinished is unclear and the reasons have been lost over the years.
The church of La Valenciana is only a few hundred meters from the main mining complex of La Valenciana, which funded the magnificent church. The first silver baron of the La Valenciana mine, Antonio de Obregón y Alcocer, funded the Temple La Valenciana and uniquely for the grand silver mine church, it was constructed in a relatively short period between 1765 and 1788, without later additions. The La Valenciana Church is dedicated to Saint Cajetan (San Cayetano in Spanish), but the church retains its close connection to the mine and is always referred to as the Temple La Valenciana.
The Templo Valenciana outside Guanajuato
The Temple La Valenciana was constructed in the classical Latin cross form. Inside the carved wooden altars are gilded with gold leaf and are possibly the most elaborate example in Mexico. The pulpit is lavishly encrusted with ivory and precious hardwoods and magnificent paintings depicting scenes from the Bible adorn the walls. Disappointingly, much of the shine of the gold-coated altars is hidden below decades of dirt and grime and the entire interior needs a good clean.
Travel to Templo La Valenciana Guanajuato
The La Valenciana Church is connected by a public bus service, but due to the infrequency of the service a taxi ride is a more convenient option. A taxi from the Mercado Hidalgo, Guanajuato city centre to the Temple La Valenciana cost approximately $40.00 pesos and a return journey costing $30.00 pesos. The return journey is all downhill. Both the mine and church of La Valenciana are on the main road from Guanajuato to Dolorez Hidalgo, so there is always a constant flow of taxis.