Published On: Fri, Jul 7th, 2017

The bricklayer that miraculously transformed San Miguel Arcángel Parish

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Without the majestic parish of European style that rises in the center of San Miguel de Allende, this city of Guanajuato would probably not be one of the most important tourist destinations in Mexico and the rest of the world.

And not everybody knows that the creator of this temple’s image was not a famous architect brought from Germany but a short and chubby bricklayer of humble indigenous origin named Zeferino Gutiérrez Muñoz.

And we say creator of the image because it should be known that the parish of San Miguel de Allende has not always looked as it looks today, the church was initially Plateresque style.

Over time the walls began to crack, and so Zeferino was asked to change the whole facade, but no one ever imagined that these modifications would be so drastic.

via GIPHY (Mexico Desconocido)

Based on engravings of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, which the bricklayer zealously kept at home, he began to build a whole new neogothic façade to the Parish of San Miguel, to fulfill his idea extracted pink quarry from the skirts of the extinct Palo Huérfano volcano, located about 5 kilometers south of San Miguel de Allende.


Zeferino Gutiérrez Muñoz (Foto: Pinterest)

Those works began in 1880 and ended up 10 years later. Immediately, Zeferino’s work started to receive criticisms, detractors said that its vertical lines broke with the baroque style of horizontal lines predominant in town.

Over time people began to accept the design of their new parish and subsequently, they ended up loving  it.

A document gathers the following testimony of a specialist of the time called Guillermo García:

“It is 20 meters high and it lacks hundreds of tons to reach the slender ogival, but it is charming in its candor. The Parish of San Miguel symbolizes the talent of our national style”.

Zeferino Gutiérrez Muñoz died on March 23, 1916, during an epidemic of typhus and in the midst of the Mexican Revolution.





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