Carlos Terres had the honor of sculpting the replacement crown in 2009 for the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, the church that is the main symbol of the city around the world.
After finishing the main tower of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in 1952, the path was laid to finally finish the original sketch designs Priest Rafael Parra Castillo had envisioned, these included a crown he designed on top of the tallest tower. As an important clarification the crown is NOT a replica of any crown supposedly worn by Carlota in the XIX Century.
This original concrete crown built by José Esteban Ramírez Guareño was placed on top of the church in 1965 as cited by the city historian, Carlos Munguía Fregoso. It was there in place until the Colima earthquake hit the city on October 9th, 1995, an event that in Puerto Vallarta was felt as a VII intensity tremor/quake on the Mercalli Scale.
Original Guadalupe Parish crown from an old postcard photo.
Read more about the history and details of the Guadalupe Parish
It took 14 years to rebuild a replacement for the crown, in the meantime a fibreglass version was placed on the tower, a model that, as it grew old, started falling apart and lost its shape when it couldn't bear its own weight any longer.
On October 12th, 2009, a new crown based on the design of José Esteban Ramírez Guareño was sculpted by artist Carlos Terres (born in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico, October 30th 1950) was once again placed on top of the Guadalupe Church, re-establishing the symbol that represents Puerto Vallarta around the world in full glory and majesty.
The crown itself is called "Tecuntlanopeuh", that translated from Nahualt is "La que tuvo origen en la cumbre de Las Peñas" (The one that was born on the peak of Las Peñas) the original name of Puerto Vallarta was "Las Peñas de Santa María de Guadalupe". It is 10 meters (31 ft) in diameter and 15.5 meters high (48 ft). The crown was sculpted using a technique called "terroca", which uses a cemented rock composed mainly of silicates enriched with zeolite.
The crown itself embraces a series of symbols and numbers that all have a specific religious meaning.
There are, for example, 8 angels that hold the crown up, which is actually the Virgin Mary's crown, all have Marian symbols on their chests and these eight sides/eight angels, in turn represent the eight points on her symbolic star.
The 24 jewel boxes around the ring of the crown represent the hours of the day.
The 5 small palm fronds symbolize the mysteries of the Marian Rosary.
The 5 large palm fronds represent important dates in Pto. Vallarta's history, including its foundation date.
The crown is topped with a glass world dome and a cross, like the ones carried by kings and queens.
The crown is located on top of the Guadalupe Church, the main church in downtown Puerto Vallarta, one block from the main plaza on Hidalgo Street, there is no way to miss it if you wander into town along the malecon, the seaside promenade.
More on the impressive work by Carlos Terres at: http://carlosterres.com.mx
Author: M. A. Gallardo