Considered the greatest Neo-Gothic style church in Mexico, the grand Templo Expiatorio is graced with Italian mosaics, French stained glass, and German carillon bells — all made to exacting specifications by skilled artisans from those three countries. Outside, the church towers over the surrounding neighborhood, and inside, it takes the breath away.
The idea for the Templo Expiatorio came in the late 19th century, when some devout local Catholics decided to build a temple dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament. Together with the archbishop of the city, Pedro Loza y Pardavé, they held a contest to choose an architect and Italian architect Adamo Boari won. Construction began in 1897 and by 1911, the interior columns were finished. During the Mexican Revolution, work on the temple stopped, and in 1927, architect Ignacio Díaz Morales took over the project. The church opened for religious ceremonies in 1931 and was completed in 1972.
The Templo Expiatorio is made of stone, carved as was done in the Middle Ages. Its facade is divided into three sections, each decorated with a mosaic created in the Vatican's Mosaic Factory. The central one represents the Lamb of God; the east, Saint Tarcisius; and the west, St. Pius X.
To the left of the facade, the church’s bell tower features a clock and carillon (a musical instrument composed of bells) imported from Germany and installed by German technicians. The carillon has a mechanism that can play 25 pieces religious and popular tunes and it can also be played from a keyboard in the church’s choir.
A quarter of the way up the bell tower is a balcony with two small doors. When the carillon rings in the hour, the doors open. A second later, the church’s set of figurines representing the 12 apostles pops out of the right door and crosses the balcony before going back into the tower through the left one. It’s a wonderful sight.
Inside, the Templo Expiatorio is awe-inspiring. The vaulted ceilings tower above and the light shining through the church’s French-made stained glass windows is exquisite. If mass isn't being celebrated, take a moment to look at the church’s hand-carved doors before spending some time exploring the church’s interior. And if mass is being celebrated, take a seat and and enjoy the service.
For the full Templo Expiatorio experience, visit on a Sunday, when mass is celebrated inside the church and there’s food and dancing outside on the plaza. Or for a quieter and more introspective experience, visit on a weekday. Either way, be sure to be outside when the clock strikes the hour to see the miniature apostles come out onto the tower balcony.
Templo Expiatorio Essential Information
- AddressCalle Francisco Indelecio Madero 935, Guadalajara 44100
- Tel: +(33) 3825 3410
- Hours of Operation: 8:00AM - 8:00PM