East Los Angeles is an area in LA two miles directly east of the city’s downtown area. Once known as “Maravilla” and also as the “Belvedere Gardens”, East LA has a strong Hispanic presence in both demographics and culture. This Spanish-speaking enclave is heavily populated by Mexicans who lived here even before white settlers arrived in the late 19th century. While the white settlers gradually moved west, many of the Mexicans stayed. As a result, the area has remained a large Spanish-speaking community, and the country’s most historic one. With its hundreds of Mexican restaurants, outdoor markets, Latin shops, and Spanish street names, East LA can often seem insular and unfamiliar to outsiders. You won’t see a lot of non-Hispanic faces and while it is not a particularly dangerous area, the rough male-dominated areas should probably be avoided at night if you are a non-Hispanic visitor.
Guadalupe is a mural art depicting the Virgin Mary that appears all over East LA but most prominently at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and Mednik Avenue. The mural is the unofficial shrine where worshippers place candles and flowers. It is lined with blue tile and its remarkable image of Mary is surrounded by rainbow colors that make it a striking work of art. It was originally part of the wall of a housing project across the street in the early 1970s, but was saved from demolition.
New Calvary Cemetery
The New Calvary Cemetery at 4201 East Whittier Avenue is a mausoleum with Corinthian columns, Byzantine domes, sculpted angels, and an Egyptian-pyramid roof. The monument is more than just a sheer and audacious piece of work, but is the final resting place of movie stars Lou Costello, John and Ethel Barrymore, and old Angelenos like Edward Doheny.
El Mercado de Los Angeles
El Mercado de Los Angeles at 3425 East First Street is a market similar to Olvera Street in Downtown LA, except more authentic. You’ll find Mexican food stands, trinket and jewelry stalls, and peddlers hawking jackets and bright-colored shawls.
Dickey, Jeff. Los Angeles, 3rd Edition. Rough Guides, 2003. ISBN: 1843530589.
“East Los Angeles, California.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Los_Angeles%2C_California>
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