Cultural Activities in Mazatlan

Angela Peralta Theater

This theater was built in the early 1870’s and was originally named the Rubio Theater. In 1883 however, the famous opera singer Angela Peralta ‘The Nightingale of Mexico’ arrived in Mazatlan to perform. Upon her arrival, the crowd that gathered to meet her unhitched the horses from her carriage and carried her to her hotel. She was so taken back by their enthusiasm that she performed to her fans from the balcony of her hotel. Unfortunately, the boat she arrived on carried the yellow fever and she died before she could ever perform in the theater. The theater was soon renamed after her and a plaque commemorates her tragic death.

Unfortunately, the theater also had tragedy awaiting it. In later years, the theater was turned into a movie theater, then a vaudeville stage, a boxing ring, and eventually a parking garage! Finally, in 1975, a hurricane hit Mazatlán and destroyed the inside of the theater. Standing in ruin for years, a restoration of the theater began in 1987 and re-opened in 1992.

Today the Angela Peralta Theater is a principal cultural and tourist attraction in Mazatlan. It is one of the few opera houses of its type and age in Mexico that still functions as a working theater. You can tour the theater for 6 pesos (about 60 US cents), and view the history of the building. There also many events throughout the year.

The Archaeological Museum of Mazatlan

The archeological museum can be found in the Historical Center of Mazatlan, only a block away from the oceanside boulevard known as Olas Altas.

It is possible to trace the museum’s origins back to the State Government that designated the building as a historical site in the 1800’s. It was opened on June 29, 1989, in order to spread the regional and cultural account of the beautiful state of Sinaloa.

The museum contributes to the cultural task of showing the history of the area and of Mexico. The Museum attests to the importance and richness of the archeology that characterizes the cultures that flourished and developed during the prehispanic era in this region. This is the sixth museum in the state of Sinaloa and is the ideal place to find archeological material specifically from Mazatlan.

The museum encourages recreational and cultural activities for the areas primary, junior and secondary schools as well as colleges in an attempt to enrich and teach the areas youth the importance of their race and cultural origins.

This museum has a Prehispanic regional salon open for your enjoyment as well as a gallery where contemporary artists exhibit their paintings. There is a delightful open air patio for special artistic and cultural events.

The Sinaloa Tambora

Almost every region of Mexico has its local bands, but in Mazatlan the band acquired a different personality thanks to the nostalgic feelings of a group of Germany businessmen who lived here. They wanted to incorporate new wind instruments into the traditional bands, and they gave local musicians access to the musical scores for Prussian songs, polkas and marches, so that these local groups began to sound different from bands in the rest of the country. The Sinaloan tambora of the 20th century was the precursor of what is now called “musica grupera”, whose popularity reaches all of Mexico.

The Architecture of Historic Mazatlan

Various styles of construction are found in Old Mazatlan, but among them the predominant one has neoclassical flourishes with adaptations for a tropical climate.

Mazatlan has 479 buildings designated as national historic landmarks; all located in the Historic Center of the city. The value of these buildings lies in their age and in the quality of their architectural styles. Some of them were constructed under the supervision of foreigners like the Spaniard don Federico Imaña who designed the buildings along the side of the Plazuela Machado on Calle Constitucion between Calles Heriberto Frias and Carnaval, and don Juan Mondini, an Italian builder who had the job of remodeling the Portales de Canobbio.

But there were also Mexicans such as Navidad Librado Tapia, an engineer who gave us the Angela Peralta Theater, and a master named Ramirez who built the old Banco Occidental and various other structures that have survived along Calle Mariano Escobedo. In the 20th century an engineer named Guillermo Freeman incorporated certain art deco forms and North American functionalism into Mazatlan´s architecture.

  • The Portals of Canobbio: This building is one of the most historic in the city. Originally it was just one story and served as a sort of market called Portal de la Lonja. In 1864, during remodeling, the second story was added. Later it was sold to a family who set up an apothecary shop on the premises, and people began to call it Portales de Canobbio after the last name of the owners.
  • Municipal Center for the Arts: This building occupies the site of one of the first inns in Mazatlan, built in the 1870s as a mansion which functioned for a time under the name Hotel Iturbide, it was there, in Room No. 10, that “the Mexican Nightingale” Angela Peralta died. Days before her death, when her ship landed in Mazatlan, she was received with great jubilation by a large group of Mazatlecos. As a gesture of thanks, she sang from the balcony of her room for the cheering crowd, an event that is reenacted today and is considered very important for the cultural life of the city. By the end of the 19th century, this building had become the Casino de Mazatlan, a popular meeting place for the city’s elite. Eventually, around 1965, the first pulmonias to emerge on our streets were built in its courtyard, by then a workshop.
  • Monument to the Continuity of Life: A symbol of the beginning and end of human’s life. The monument is located in the northern zone of Paseo Olas Altas and represents a mixture of races. Some of the areas top restaurants are located in this area.
  • The Paseo del Centenario Pergola: This pergola, also called the Angela Peralta Pergola, is a landmark in Mazatlan’s history. It was built in 1848 to defend the port. Three English cannons were brought here to defend Mazatlan from foreign invaders during the 19th century.
  • Cathedral: Located in the heart of downtown, the cathedral was built during the religious splendor that characterized Sinaloa during the 19th century. The church was named the Basilica Cathedral in 1937 in honor of the Immaculate Conception. The building is marked by its’ two slender towers. The interior decor is in the baroque style with exuberant tendencies.

Posted July 14, 2013 by fisheriestn