CIUDAD GUZMÁN, JALISCO, MÉXICO
Ciudad Guzmán (also known as simply Guzmán) is a city in the Mexican state of Jalisco. It is located at 19°42’N, 113°28’W, 124 km south of Guadalajara, at a height of 1,507 meters above sea level. Its population totaled 93,609 in the 2005 census, ranking as the sixth-largest city in the state.
Ciudad Guzmán is the municipal seat of Zapotlán el Grande municipality, which has an area of 295.29 km² (114.01 sq mi). The municipality’s population was 96,050 in the same census.
Prior to the arrival of the European Spanish Conquistadors, this area was the pre-Columbian kingdom of Zapotlán and was at different times under the domain of the nearby kingdoms of Colima and Michoacán.
Zapotlán el Grande was conquered in 1539. Many treasures and weapons are said to be buried throughout the town’s old colonial homes, buildings, and farms.
In the mid 1800s, the name of the town was changed from Zapotlán el Grande to Ciudad Guzmán, after the Mexican federalist insurgent Gordiano De Guzmán.
A large number of Anusim (see: Conversos) and Crypto-Jews are said to live in the city, dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries, although most of the town is fervently Catholic.
The town has been nicknamed the “Athens of Jalisco” because it’s the birthplace of several well-known intellectuals and artists, including the muralist José Clemente Orozco, the composer Consuelo Velazquez, the scientist José Maria Arreola and the journalist and historian Juan José Arreola.
The oldest part of the city, in the downtown area, holds a major stone Cathedral (La Catedral de San Jose) that local folklore says is haunted. Ciudad Guzmán is located in an area of high seismic activity. The cathedral’s towers have tumbled down several times due to earthquakes, sometimes killing people and their souls are said to guard the place.
The last time the towers collapsed was on September 19, 1985, during the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, an earthquake of magnitude 8.1 that has come to be considered one of the most devastating natural disasters of the 20th century. In Guzmán City, it left more than 50 people dead and about 1,000 injured. The cathedral towers were never rebuilt to their majestic height.