Sitting atop El Guitarrón Hill, under a 138-foot-tall (42 meter-tall) cross is a chapel intended to inspire peace.
In 1967, the sons of the Trouyet family died in a plane crash. Parents Carlos and Milly Hauss decided to commemorate them by building a chapel atop the hill where they built the residential complex of Las Brisas, hoping it would inspire peace in a city troubled with violence. Milly died before the chapel opened in 1971 but according to her wishes, Carlos declared it to be Ecumenical, meaning that members of different religious denominations could worship and even get married together here.
Regardless of the couple’s best intentions and the way they inspired people like sculptor Claudio Favier, who donated his work “The Hands of Brotherhood” to the chapel, Acapulco continues to experience turmoil. During the 21st century, it has been infamously recognized as a center of violence and organized crime related to the Mexican War on Drugs.
Acapulco’s difficult origins start with the first indigenous settlements in the area, which were subdued into becoming part of the Aztec Empire. The turmoil continued during the years of European colonization, as its privileged location led to this being the main Pacific port of New Spain, an anchor of the Manila Galleon that traded with the Philippines. Goods, migrants, and enslaved people were exchanged through this port between Spanish-controlled Asia and North America. This also led to many acts of piracy in its bays.
The port was the site of battles during the War of Mexican Independence, and was heavily armed for potential attacks during the First French Intervention. In the 1950s, visits by international celebrities like Johnny Weissmüller, Elizabeth Taylor, and a honeymooning John F. and Jackie Kennedy established the city’s fame as a party town. This fame would continue into the early 21st- century, when rising insecurity led to a decline in visitors. Nature has also been notoriously un-peaceful towards Acapulco, as many hurricanes and the occasional earthquake have hit the city.