Mexico/Queretaro: Jalpan de Serra

Jalpan de Serra lies in the very heart of the Sierra Gorda mountains and it is the site of one of the five UNESCO World Heritage-listed Franciscan missions built here in the mid 18th century to evangelize the hostile locals. All mission churches had similar elements – they had very elaborate facades with extensive stucco and sculptures that combined the local plants with the European themes of saints and religious figures (“blend it and they will come” approach). The style is known as Mestizo Baroque. The mission in Jalpan de Serra is the Mission Santiago de Jalpan built between 1751 and 1758 and it was the first of the five missions. Stunning stonework all made in ochre and red colors covers the entire front of the church, while the interior is packed with plaster figures of jesuses in pain.