HH CONGRESS IN TIME
Between the twilight of the seventeenth century and the dawn of the middle of the eighteenth century, the city of Valladolid, Michoacán, (today Morelia founded on May 18, 1541), saw its greatest construction boom. Wealthy families of Europeans lived in the first square of the city. Outstanding characters of politics, commerce and the letters of New Spain, built their mansions and palaces in pink stone quarry, following the pattern of a baroque style tempered by a sober elegance. Its socioeconomic status was always outlined by the proximity to the majestic Cathedral, its two spacious squares, or its main street, "Calle Real", today Av. Madero.
On the other hand, despite the fact that the immense territory in the form of an isosceles triangle that comprised the Bishopric of Michoacán, it was composed of fragments and complete territories of ten current ones of the Mexican Republic, and important cities such as Guanajuato or Querétaro; his episcopal capital was Valladolid. Thus, this ecclesiastical jurisdiction had since 1684, by Bishop Don Juan de Ortega y Montañés.
A PALACE FOR THE BISHOP-VIRREY
And it was precisely this prelate who in 1695 acquired a huge estate, located east of the cathedral to build his magnificent Episcopal Palace. According to notarial deeds the perimeter of the property consisted of almost all the current block, in whose northeast corner today is located the beautiful property that houses the "Hotel HH Congreso".
The luxury and majesty of the property was perhaps in keeping with the elegance and opulence with which the noble families of Valladolid used to live in the first square of the city and with the rank of the authority that was its owner; however, according to tradition, the criticism of the population regarding the episcopal palace for its lack of humility and sobriety, did not wait.
Coincidentally in 1700, Don Juan de Ortega y Montañés, became the highest authority of the Mexican territory, as he was named Archbishop of Mexico and Viceroy of New Spain, being forced, in 1705 by express order of the King, to donate his Episcopal Palace for the relocation of the old hospital of the city, same that from then on it was in charge of the Order of the Juaninos friars or of San Juan de Dios.
FROM SAN JUAN DE DIOS HOSPITAL TO HOTEL
Throughout the eighteenth century, the then, Hospital de San Juan de Dios, completed its construction, including a domestic chapel located on the east side and directly adjacent to the HH Congreso Hotel, also culminated in that century. Due to the great extension of the hospital, some chroniclers of the time testify that in it, it was possible to assist up to 250 patients. The site occupied in the north wing by the hospital bounded on the north with the then "Calle Real" (Av. Madero), on the east with "Calle de la Serpiente" (today Viceroy of Mendoza) and west with "Calle de la Serpiente" (Calle de la Serpiente). Look at the Rio "(current Morelos south).
It was not until 1857, after applying the Reform Laws and the secularization of ecclesiastical property, when the property was subdivided and adjudicated in parts, mainly to two owners: the German merchant Pedro Schmith, and the Belgian engineer Guillermo Wodon de Sorinne. Towards 1883 due to the amplitude and the distribution of its space, this mansion was converted into the "Hotel del Campo" and all its front part into accesories or shops destined for commerce. In the 1930s, it had changed its name to "Hotel Europa" and its owners were a prominent family of Morelian entrepreneurs named Figuaredo.
THE ARCHITECTURAL BEAUTY OF THE HH CONGRESS HOTEL
The house that today occupies the Hotel "HH Congreso" is one of the few vestiges of what used to be the old "Hospital of San Juan de Dios" because it conserves a good part of the architectural structure and ornamental elements typical of the twilight of the eighteenth century. To the north is its main facade, divided into two symmetrical levels. In its upper level, the beauty of its balconies "flown" (outstanding balconies to the facade), so characteristic of the eighteenth-century baroque and from which innumerable historical events have been witnessed as the entrance by the Real Street, of the Emperor Agustín de Iturbide, stand out. (Valladolid by birth), in 1821; or centenary traditions such as the dance of the popular Carnival Bulls and the processions of Holy Week; without counting the daily comings and goings of its main avenue.
In the lower level of the main façade, the windows and wide openings open to shops that have been trades of great tradition among the inhabitants of the city and owned by important businessmen such as the Polish Wulfovich in the early twentieth century and recently the Michoacan family Villicaña, creators of "Regalos Real", one of the most renowned stores in its field and owners of the property that houses the Hotel since the seventies of the last century.
The lateral facade of our hotel, located on the old Calle de la Serpiente "(after Calle de las Cocheras, now Viceroy of Mendoza) was completely rebuilt in the nineteenth century, providing it with eleven bays and balconies whose jambs and lintels richly molded, They show an eclectic French and Neoclassical style.
The rear facade, (in the south wing of the hotel), which was made in 1970 to expose the old hospital chapel, has 14 openings that open onto a private one and whose architectural style imitates the decoration of the frames of the windows and balcony of the east facade.
The entrance to the building is made by an imposing gate of lavish wood and its hall roofed in beams leads to the light of a beautiful and sober rectangular courtyard, circulated by two levels of arcades. The lower one has arches supported by typical ochavadas baroque pilasters, these pilasters and their three-point arches induce us to think that the construction of this part of the building is what corresponds to its first epoch as the Episcopal Palace, that is to say at the end of the 17th century . It is harmonious in lights and shadows that declare its stylistic stripe.
In the upper level of the arcade and roof, its height grows, the arches and arches are now supported by Tuscan columns, which refer to it later, perhaps already in the late eighteenth century. Under the cornices that frame the noble dome of the courtyard, in addition to the gargoyles, are carved as ornamental elements very characteristic of the city, slender and small valances that give it more baroque.
Likewise its spatial distribution is typical of the colonial buildings of Valladolid. Two of its corridors are connected by numerous doors to the old shops of the exterior on the east side and on the west side to multiple rooms. To the center of the same patio, in the south corridor and in axis with the main gate, a beautiful and wide staircase opens that in "u" takes us to the second floor.
When climbing the staircase you can also see a large mural of countryside landscape, work of the prominent Guanajuato painter Pedro Cruz, (also author of the murals that decorate the interior of the magnificent Sanctuary of Guadalupe of this city), where some are represented emblematically of the members of the Villicaña family, now owners of this beautiful building for decades.
For its historical and architectural value, the building that houses the hotel is one of the 1,113 properties listed in UNESCO as historical monuments, which make Morelia a World Heritage City.