Historias Mazatlecas

Brief History

of the

Immaculate Conception Cathedral Basilica

Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México.


In all ancient cities of our country, Cathedrals were considered the most important buildings, for they represent the ecclesiastical power and were a symbol of the social and economic standing of the community.


The first steps undertaken for the building of this majestic Cathedral go as far back as 1855,

under Bishop Pedro Loza y Pardavé, and it took several decades to complete.             

In 1875, thanks to the efforts and tenacity of Father Michel Lacarra,

construction was accelerated and the main body of the building was finished at the beginning of 1880.

The  construction  of  this  Cathedral  was  made  possible by the copious contribution of the city’s prominent catholic merchants  and business people. One of the principal benefactors at this stage was Don Pedro Echeguren y de la Quintana, a native of San Sebastian, Spain.

He was one of the wealthiest men in the region, owner of the rich Guadalupe de los Reyes mines, the Hilados y Tejidos factory, the water supply company and countless buildings and urban lands.

It is said that his extreme and unusual kindness was due to his word as a gentleman, given to Father Lacarra to put an end to his life of sin (he was living with his concubine, Doña Concepcion Moreno) by getting married in the Cathedral,  once all works came to an end.


Mazatlan from the lighthouse hill

watercolor, ink and pencil José Juan Tablada 1894

    This awe-inspiring Cathedral was designed and built by the master-mason Don Estanislao León,  who died during the final construction steps.

Carpentry work was carried out by the master-carpenter Don Santiago León, 

and all iron work by Don Isaac León.

The construction of the splendid towers started in 1893; 

the first of them was completed on April 6, 1894  and the other soon after. 

They were designed by the eminent builder Natividad Gonzalez however, due to strong disagreements with Father Joaquin Garcia, he did not oversee their construction.

It is a little known fact that the first tower is higher than the second 40 cm high total 46.40 mts


A grill-work atrium surrounds three of the Cathedral sides, 

where three imposing and magnificent monuments have been erected.

two of them represent Christ the King.


In the remaining, the indio Juan Diego is seen showing to Bishop Fray Juan de Zamarraga  

the ayate with the miraculous apparition of   

Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In the fore part of this Cathedral there is a lovely portico 

(most unusual in the big Cathedrals of Mexico)                                                                                                                                                                            

 which give it a very special elegance.

On the side walls, four large sculptures can be seen, representing the evangelists:

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.


Stepping inside from the front door 


 in its eminent interior there are three naves,  

whose style is a definitive and sublime mix of Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical architecture.


In the back of the main altar, sheltered by a marble cupola,  

there is a splendid sculpture of the   

Immaculate Conception


On the frontal part of the white marble altar, a beautiful representation of

the Last Supper   

is sculpted


and a majestic mural representing the Holy Trinity surrounded by angels and other celestial figures.

 If we look attentively, we will see that within the curvilinear triangle that forms the arches with the ring of the cupola, we can admire the regal figures of the Church Doctors, Saints Bernard and Ambrose


and of the Prophets of the old testament,

Zacharias and Moses.


In the refined Gothic style altar, you will find the most beautiful statues of Carrara marble saints and angels,         of certain Italian manufacture 

together with the images of Saint Anne and Saint Joaquin, considered, by experts, 

true and irreplaceable jewel of art.


The Cathedral, in its complex, is a building that contains elements that make it look majestic; its architectonic design and its ornamental details are unique and of indisputable quality


Even though its architectonic design is eclectic, its interior as well as its exterior is a well executed combination between Moorish and Gothic, similar to the architectonic style of the Cathedrals of 

Burdeos, Toledo, Siguenza and the Mosque of Cordoba.

Both towers and the exterior cupola are covered with yellow European tiles


The Cathedral has four lateral altars,

two on both sides of the main altar

and the other two on the side

of the main entry.

The design is Neoclassical

and they are consecrated to :

Our Lady of the Saint Rosary, 

 the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

Our Lord Saint Joseph,


 Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Worth mentioning are the religious frescos on the sides of the main and lateral altars which, 

even if made more recently (1942), are truly of magnificent execution. 


Its beautiful mahogany balustrades that surround the upper part of the vaulted ceiling


Its beautiful pulpit

and confessionals whose ceiling is made out of American cedar 

are a jewel of design and an accomplished work of art.


And we cannot omit to mention its huge central candelabra,


the lateral candelabra placed along the sides, profusely adorned with very fine French crystal, 

installed in the year 1950


The chronicles indicate that

the main altar

is the gift of :

Manuel Herrerias

and wife,

Pablo Hidalgo

and wife,

Antonio de la Peña

and his daughter


Agustin Jose Elizondo

and wife

The Blessing of the New Marble Altar was held the day December 31, 1933


In the last altar, we find the burial of the first Bishop of the Diocese of Mazatlan, 

his Excellency  Don Miguel Garcia Franco.



The offices of the sacristy

and of the ecclesiastical authorities

are situated behind the Cathedral.

On the second floor

above the sacristy

in the waiting room of the Bishop

one can admire

four excellent oil paintings

of the Fathers:


        Miguel Lacarra                                                               José Ruiz Rueda

and of the Bishops:

      Agustín Aguirre Ramos                                                      Miguel García Franco.

              Obispo de Culiacán                                                           primer Obispo de Mazatlán


you only need look at the fourteen European sculptures

(probably Italian)

placed on the lateral walls

that represent our Lord’s Via Crucis,

or marvel with the exquisite images of:

 San Juan Bosco,

Saint Jude Thaddeus,

our Lady of Fatima,

Saint Eduviges,

Our Lady of the Rays,

Our Lady

of the Sacred Heart of Baby Jesus,

Saint Martha,

Jesus the Nazarene,

Saint Domingo,

Christ the King,

the Sorrowful Virgin Mary,

and the crystal dome

with the Holy Burial of Jesus.


However, the joy of the Cathedral is its grandiose organ built in Paris by Aristide Cavaillie-Coll (1811-1899),

and although in the Cathedral’s archives it is not specified the date when this marvelous musical instrument was acquired, information gathered in the press of those days indicates that the organ was first played on May 7, 1889, for the pleasure of the catholic citizens of the city of Mazatlan.


municipal archives

Origin of Mazatlan and its Cathedral


the most Gustavo Gama Olmos



Manuel Gomez Rubio


Gustavo Gama Olmos

rescued 03/10/2013

"Graciously translated by Pietro Corsi and Tere Valenzuela"