Sure, you can read all about great historical places around the globe but…why not go there instead? There’s a world to explore and if you’re interested in discovering locations that have some awesome stories of Hispanic history and heritage behind them then keep reading!
Chicano Park, San Diego
An iconic and inspiring area of artwork founded in 1970, San Diego’s Chicano Park memorializes the culture, events, and history of Hispanic heritage. You can find this 7.9-acre park under the San Diego Coronado Bridge. The park’s murals tell a number of different stories relating to Hispanic culture and you may recognize some of the people featured in the paintings, like Frida Kahlo, Cesar Chavez, Che Guevara, and Pancho Villa. Well-known artists, both local and from around the globe, have contributed work to the famous park over the years. It’s not your average art museum but Chicano Park is certainly a great place to explore the different outdoor paintings — taking in the impeccable detail and bright coloring of each mural — rather than touring a more-traditional gallery.
Las Lajas Sanctuary, Colombia
Legend has it that, many years ago in 1754, a woman and her deaf daughter were stuck in a horrific storm along the Guaitara River in the southern part of Columbia’s Narino region, when they looked up to see the Virgin Mary appear on the rocks of a canyon wall after a bolt of lightning struck; the young daughter was then suddenly healed of her deafness. Afterwards, a shrine was built in the exact location of the 18th-century miracle and later evolved into the huge basilica and bridge. The breathtaking church is strongly recognized for its religious, historical, and architectural significance, as well as its unique and spectacular location 130 feet above the river. Although Colombia is a Catholic country with lots of churches, the history and beauty of Las Lajas easily outshine the rest.
Iguazu Falls, Brazil
Situated at the border of Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazu Falls are a natural wonder of South America and one of the largest waterfall systems in the world. Comprised of 275 different waterfalls formed in the shape of a horseshoe, the massive waterfalls plummet about 262 feet and are an incredible sight to see. The falls are also surrounded by rainforests that are home to over 2,000 species of plants and exotic wildlife like jaguars and giant anteaters, although you probably won’t see any wild animals due to all the rushing water around you. Undoubtedly, Iguazu Falls is a breathtaking experience that UNESCO named a World Heritage Area in 1986. When you go, you’ll be able to get real close on the viewing decks but beware…the falls mist lots of water so wear your raincoat or duck for cover!
The Alamo, San Antonio
The Alamo, originally named the Mission San Antonio de Valero, located in San Antonio, Texas is a historical site situated near the San Antonio River. The site was originally occupied by the Spanish Military in the early 1800s, who named it “El Alamo”… until the Battle of the Alamo began in 1836. You’ve probably heard the phrase “Remember the Alamo”; it’s the legendary battle cry of the Texans that represents their defiant last stand against the much larger Mexican Army. Even though the battle was lost, the heroism on display ultimately inspired the Texans to succeed in their fight for independence. If you’re interested in exploring the history of the United States as well as Hispanic history, then a trip to The Alamo is a must! There are many heroes who have died here and tons of history to soak up. Admission is free but, if you’d like a guided tour it will cost $15 per person.
Tikal National Park, Guatemala
If you’re looking for ancient history, you’ll find it at Tikal. An ancient Mayan citadel located in the rainforest of northern Guatemala, the national park is brimming with massive pyramids, temples, and palaces. It’s the perfect place to join in a tour to learn all about the history of ancient Mayan civilization. Aside from being one of Guatemala’s most important historical sites (and popular tourist spot), Tikal National Park is also a great place to admire the wildlife of the surrounding rainforest, usually just by listening to the sounds of the birds and other animals.
São Francisco de Assis, Brazil
This is a jaw-dropping, intricately detailed, and historic Rococo Catholic Church in Ouro Preto, located in the Serra do Espinhaço mountains of eastern Brazil. Construction on São Francisco de Assis (or “Church of Saint Francis of Assisi”) began in 1766 but wasn’t fully complete until the end of the 19th century. The church was designed by Brazilian architect and sculptor Antônio Francisco Lisboa, also known as Aleijadinho. The outside of the church is nothing short of beautiful BUT when you enter the church, you’ll be amazed by the gold detailing, paintings, statues, and the ceiling painting by Manuel da Costa Ataide. This site is remarkable mainly because of the hard work and dedication that went into its construction.
Have you visited a historical Hispanic site other than the ones mentioned? Tell us about it in the comments below!