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Guanajuato

A UNESCO World Heritage City

Founded more than four hundred years ago in a tiny valley, Guanajuato is perhaps Mexico’s most picturesque colonial city. Founded by the Spanish who came looking for gold, they found the most productive silver mines in their colonial empire. The mine owners spent lavishly on lovely churches, aristocratic homes and stately public buildings.  Founded more than four hundred years ago in a tiny valley, Guanajuato is perhaps Mexico’s most picturesque colonial city. Founded by the Spanish who came looking for gold, they found the most productive silver mines in their colonial empire. The mine owners spent lavishly on lovely churches, aristocratic homes and stately public buildings.  Guanajuato grew into a city of wealth and extravagance.

              

The Jardin de la Union, the city’s social center is a quaint V-shaped plaza surrounded by cafes and large shade trees with wrought iron benches, tiled payment, and an old-fashioned bandstand. The surrounding colonial section of the city has narrow lanes and an underground street. It is a place to wander, relax and soak up the sights. Featured attractions are the Regional Museum, housed in an ancient fortress-like granary; the centuries-old Jesuit church built of pink stone; the Mercado Hidalgo, a turn-of-the-century iron and stone building where one can shop for all sorts of local crafts; the early 20th-century Hellenic-style Juarez Theater, long the principal center of Guanajuato’s cultural life; the La Valenciana Mine where, in 1588, one of the richest silver veins ever discovered was unearthed; the Diego Rivera Museum with nearly 100 of his works on display; and unquestionably one of Mexico’s most bizarre sites, the Museo de las Momias (Museum of the Mummies), housing dozens of bodies disinterred around the turn of the century.

         

On weekends local singers dressed as 16th-century troubadours serenade through the narrow streets. These same estudiantinas sometimes show up at the bars or restaurants to sing 18th- century love ballads. Beginning in mid-October of each year the incredibly popular Festival Cervantino draws international performing artists to Guanajuato for several weeks. Reservations are required months in advance.


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