Carlos Terres had the honor in 2009 of sculpting the replacement crown for the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, the church that is the main symbol of the city around the world.
After finishing the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish's main tower in 1952, the foundation was laid to finally finish the original concept that the Priest Rafael Parra Castillo had envisioned in his sketches, these included a crown he designed to rest on top of the tallest tower.
As an important clarification, the crown is NOT a replica of a crown supposedly worn by Carlota in the XIX Century, this was posted on the official Parish website.
This original concrete crown, built by José Esteban Ramírez Guareño, was placed on top of the church tower in 1965 as noted 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 Mercalli intensity tremor/quake.
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 that time, a temporary fiberglass version was placed on the tower. It happened that time passed and this temporary solution was just left there, as it grew old, it started falling apart and lost its shape when it could no longer bear its weight.
Finally on October 12th, 2009, a new crown - based on the José Esteban Ramírez Guareño design that 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 tower, bringing back, in full glory and majesty, the symbol that represents Puerto Vallarta around the world.
The crown itself is called "Tecuntlanopeuh", that translates from Nahualt as "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 and material called "terroca", which uses a cemented rock composed mainly of zeolite-enriched silicates.
The crown includes a series of symbols and numbers that all have a specific religious meaning.
There are, for example, 8 angels holding the crown up, which actually represents Virgin Mary's crown, all of them have Marian symbols on their chests.
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 Puerto Vallarta's history, including the year it was founded (1851).
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 main tower of the Guadalupe Church, the main church in downtown Puerto Vallarta, one block from the main square (plaza de armas / zócalo) 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