09 Mar Ex-Hacienda Jaral de Berrio
In the state of Guanajuato, we discovered this dilapidated treasure: the Ex-Hacienda Jaral de Berrio. On par with the opulence and decay we found in Havana, Cuba, the ex-hacienda was owned by one of the most influential families in Mexico. Miguel de Berrio, for example, was named Marquis and acquired 99 haciendas by 1749. Ex-hacienda Jaral de Berrio functioned as the capitol of the family’s agrarian empire.
At the height of their power, the third Marquis, Juan Nepomuceno de Moncada y Berrio, was the richest man in Mexico, one of the largest landowners in the country, and gave a hacienda to each of his 99 grandchildren. While they are most famous for fabricating mezcal, the brand Jaral de Berrio, they also prospered from making gunpowder.
After the Revolution of ’38, everything was left to looters and the elements.
Currently, three buildings stand: the first and most elaborate is equipped with an elegant double staircase and columns; the second is made of unadorned cantera and stone (with a large veranda), and the third is a bit more modern. The first has an impressive façade. Passing beneath it, you enter a dusty courtyard with three wings of surreal rooms with the remains of French tapestries and murals amidst holes in the floor and the smell of guano.
Though the second building is less impressive, it’s even more bizarre. Unfinished walls with odd passageways, doors that lead nowhere, collapsed floors on the second story, partially dug wells and dead, dry trees. It’s still enormous and the grounds feel like a ghost town, full of dry grasses and dust.
We’ve yet to explore the third, but stay tuned and we’ll update you as soon as we head back!