When we stumbled upon Hacienda San José del Castillo, we were actually looking for this site. When I first visited several years ago, we managed to access to the capilla (chapel) and the stables. However, we were unable to see any of the interior of the casa grande (big house) or the bodegas (storage buildings and work areas). This time, I was hoping we'd find some way to get into these areas. Most of the photos in this posting are from my second visit. However, I am including some shots I took of the stables during my first visit. The photo above is from that initial visit.
Bordering the eastern and southern parts of the casco are large rectangular enclosures for cattle and pigs. In the center of the complex is the casa grande's courtyard. Within it you can see two large reddish bougainvillea bushes and a small grove of trees. At one time, there may have been other structures outside the casco's enclosure. However, the modern pueblo that grew up around the casco has obliterated any of these that may have once existed.
On the roof above the portales is a long rectangular structure set back from the front wall. This was once the living quarters of the hacendado (owner) and his family. Between the front of the hacendado's quarters and the casa grande's front wall is a broad terrace that acts as mirador (viewpoint).
To the left of the portales is the capilla, topped by a small campanario (bell tower). At the far end of the capilla is a metal ladder that leads to the roof of the capilla and casa grande's terrace. From the roof of the capilla, the whole internal complex of the casco can be viewed.
The gateway stands just to the right of the portales. Through it would have passed the carriages of visitors such as church dignitaries, government officials, and hacendados from neighboring estates. It has been nearly a century since prancing horses pulled one of those fancy carriages through this passage into the casa grande's courtyard.
While many of the other structures of the casco have fallen into ruins, the residents of the pueblo have maintained the hacienda's old capilla as their church. A similar situation exists in many other pueblos which were formerly haciendas.
When we first arrived at the hacienda, the gate to the patio in front of the capilla and casa grande was locked. However, the arrival of a dozen foreigners in a small pueblo rarely goes unnoticed. After a few minutes, a man showed up with the key to the gate, followed by the elderly woman who is the capilla's caretaker. She very kindly opened the capilla for us and showed us around.
The mirador or lookout point
The rest of our party remained safely on the ground, comfortably seated under the shade of a large tree. They followed our progress with great interest and I wondered if they were taking bets on which of us would tumble to the ground first. However, no such disaster occurred and our climb rewarded us handsomely.
The central courtyard
The working areas: Bodegas and corrals
This completes my posting on Hacienda Vieja del Castillo and of my three-part series on Exploring Old Jalisco. I hope you have enjoyed it and, if so, you will leave any thoughts or questions in the Comments section below, or email me directly. If you leave a question in the Comments section, please leave your email address so that I can respond.
Hasta luego, Jim