University of Guanajuato
Another landmark of the city is the building of the University, altought all students have been moved to a modern campus outside the city, the building still belongs to the University and it is used for offices, it is a touristic attraction for it's architecture, it was first a jesuit college during the spanish domination, it passed to gubernamental watch in 1828 and finally became a university in 1945. Very nice building,
Callejón del Beso
Another very famous place in Guanajuato is the "Callejón del Beso" (the kiss alley). The zone keeps the colonial touch of most of the downtown, and the alley in particular is a very narrow street in wich the balconies on each side are almost touching each other. The place is famous due to a legend that tells the history of Ana and Carlos, two young lovers; Ana's father disagreed with their relationship and decided to forbid his daugther to see Carlos and to send her to Sapin to marry an old and rich gentleman. Ana lived on one side of the alley, and Carlos managed to buy the house on the other side in order to reach his loved one on the balconie and from there discuss a plan to avoid Ana's fate. The father found the couple as they chated and full of anger he killed his own daugther by sticking a knife on her chest. Her lover could only kiss her for the last time as she died.
If you follow the legend then you must go to tj¿he alley with your couple and kiss her exactly in the third step in order to ensure an eternal love. They say that if you cross the alley without kissing anybody then you'll be unlucky at love, I hope it is not true, I didn't had nobody to kiss and I have not been very lucky since. Next time in city I'll have to have someone to kiss in order to change my luck.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato
This church is probably the biggest in all Guanajuato, it was built between 1771 and 1796.
the church is located in a square called "plaza de la paz" wich is a beautiful place. There is a moment when you are traveling around the world when you suddenly fall in love with a place, for me walking into this plaza and seeing this church presiding it was the moment I fell in love with Guanajuto, it is a very worthy visit.
- Religious Travel
The mummies museum
Probably the most known touristic attraction in Guanajuto, at least in other places in Mexico is the mummies museum.
This mummies were found by accident in the old cementery of the city, after they were left without room to bury more people they started opening the old tombs (the first one in 1865) nobody visited anymore and it was discovered that the corpses had been mummified due to several factors like dryness and the minerals in the soil.
Don't ask me why but this enormous collection of mummies have become know countrywide and everybody wants to see them, they are so famous that they were even used as villians in the movies of another mexican pop culture icon, El Santo. This museum was opened to exhibit the enormous collection wich includes the smallest mummy in the world, the first exhumed mummy, and a sadly famous corpse that was found to have been buried alive by mistake as it position shows it died trying to escape.
Personally the museum was a dissapointment to me, and I think it is one of the few places in Guanajuato that could be much better than it is, the reason: once the morbid curiosity of watching the corpses is satisfied then the place has nothing else to offer, it is just a big collection of corpses, a museum should offer some kind of knowledge but it isn't the case of this place, if they did some kind of research and added plates explaining something like the process of mummification, the funerary practices during colonial times or anything else to accompany the mummies then the visit would be a lot more rewarding.
In my opinion you should visit it if you have time, but it should not be a priority if you are short on time
the ticket in is $20 pesos and when I was there the place was very crowded wich I think is something frequent, if you choose to walk back to downtown you may see you may see some streets, squares or neighborhoods that other people misses on the downhill trip.
- Museum Visits
The market of the city is located inside a building that was planned for something completely different, it was supposed to be a train station, it was based on a desing by Antonio Rivas Mercado and Ernesto Burnel and it was inaugurated by the president Porfirio Diaz in 1910 during the celebrations of the 100 years of the begining of the mexican independence revolution. The most noted feature of the market is the old clock located in the roof.
Every time I give tours to family from other countries one of the most attractive atractions to them are markets, so a visit here is recommended to see all the different products you won't find on bigger shops and to buy something interesting if it attracts you.
San Roque Church
This is one of the smallest churches in the city and it was built in 1726, it is not spectacular but I think is pretty and a good show of the religious architecture during colonial times. The temple is located in a homonymous square and today it is specially noted because during the 50's it was in front of this church that the so called "entremeses cervantinos" were performed. This "entremeses" were theatrical representations made by students of the university that acted the plays of Miguel de Cervantes, this small representations are considered to be the root of the Cervantine Festival that is celebrated today.
The square was chosen for this performances because the place was said to be the one that better resembled Spain in all the city. Today there is a plate and a statue remembering this old celebrations.
- Religious Travel
Diego Rivera House Museum
Tha noted mexican muralist, Diego Rivera, was born in the city of Guanajuato, were he lived until he was six years old. After recovering the house in wich he was born, his daugther helped opening it as a museum in 1975.
Personally I am not a fan of Diego Rivera's work, but I did enjoy visiting this museum where there are many works from Rivera including some of his last paintings; what I enjoyed the most is that, while Rivera is known for his murals located mostly in Mexico City, here you can appreciate a not so well known facet of his artwork. The museum also exhibits some paintings of Rivera's wife, Frida Khalo, and some furniture from the time in wich Rivera lived there.
Finally there is a room for temporal exhibitions, when I visited they were showing the paintings that participated in a contemporary art contest. As it is often the case with contemporary art I didn't understand it well and the few paintings that I liked were far away from the winners, but still is nice that the museum opens a space to promote today artwork.
Is a small museum but it is a nice chance for getting to know one of the most famous mexican artists.
The ticket is just $15 pesos and it is opne from 10 A.M. to 7 P.M.
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
Alhondiga de Granaditas
During the time of the spanish domination, the cities in Mexico suffered from time to time of lack of food due to droughts. In Guanajuato the authorities decided to built a grain store in order to have food reservoirs for those times, the result was this enormous building called "Alhondiga" a word used in spain for this kind of buildings and that has it origin in the arab language. The Alhondiga started being built at the end of the XVIII Century and it was finished on november 7 of 1809.
Less than a year later the Mexico independence revolution broke out in the nearby town of Dolores and Guanajuto, being the richest city in the region and hometown of important authorities became a target for the rebels; the spanish in town fearing the disorganized crowd that the rebbels were decided to seek shelter in this big and strong building were they hoped to survive until the danger was over using the food reservoirs.
What followed is one of the most noted episodes in the mexican independence revolution, the alhondiga indeed helped the men lead by mayor Riaño to keep the rebbels at bay, that was until a strong miner, El Pípila, charged a stone on his back to cover himself from the bullets and burned down the doors of the stronghold, the army entered the building and all the men and women in there were massacred showing they have had good reasons to fear.
After the first group of rebels were defeated, the leaders of the group, Hidalgo, Aldama, Allende and Jiménez were killed and their heads were hanged on each of the corners of the building as a warning, they remained there for 10 years.
Today the building, that was never again used for storage, remains remembering that episode and today it protects the regional museum of Guanajuato.
The museum is interesting as it shows the history of the zone since prehispanical times (focused on the chupicuaro culture, one of the most important that existed on the state of Guanajuato) to the XX Century, wich make a good introduction to the city before visiting the rest of it; of course there is a strong focus on colonial times and on the independence movement, but it does not forgets about everything else. It also has a zone dedicated to the work of mexican artists Hermenegildo Bustos and Romualdo García and an etnographic room.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
saan miguel de allende
San Miguel de Allende is the seat of the municipality of Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, a historic town founded in 1542 that has become an attractive tourist destination for wealthy Mexico City residents and has a large American and Canadian expatriate community composed primarily of retirees.
San Miguel de Allende is located in the eastern part of Guanajuato in Mexico's mountainous bajío region. The bajío (low place) is a relatively flat region about 2,000 m (7,000 ft) above sea level surrounded by mountains; it is a part of the Mexican altiplano. San Miguel serves as the administrative seat for the surrounding municipality of Allende, Guanajuato.
The municipality rests at 1,870 m (6,140 ft) above sea level. The municipality extends over an area of 1,537.19 km2 (593.51 sq mi). To the north it is bordered by the municipalities of San Luis de la Paz and Dolores Hidalgo. To the west it is also bordered by Dolores Hidalgo. To the south the municipality is bordered by Juventino Rosas, and Comonfort and to the southeast by Apaseo el Grande. To the northeast it is bordered by San José Iturbide. Finally, to the east it is bordered by Querétaro municipality in the state of Querétaro. The municipal seat is located 274 km (170 mi) from Mexico City and 97 km (60 mi) from the state capital at Guanajuato, Gto.
kissing alley - callejon de besos
One of the most surprising legends, given its tragic and romantic flavour, is this one.
The story is told that Doña Carmen was the only daughter of an obstinate and violent man, but as tends to happen, love wins out, unlucky as it might be. Doña Carmen was courted by her beau, Don Luis, in a church near the maiden's home, where first he offered her holy water with his hand. On being discovered, she was subsequently locked up, threatened with being sent to a convent, and, worst of all, with being married in Spain to a rich, old noble, a marriage which would help to restore her father's dwindling fortune.
The lovely, obedient creature and her companion, Doña Brígida, wept and prayed together. Then, before the young girl submitted to her sacrifice, they decided that Doña Brígida should take a message to Don Luis with the unfortunate news. A thousand plans occurred to the young lover, but of all of them, there was one that seemed the best. A window in Doña Carmen's home gave onto an alley so narrow that it was possible, leaning out the window to touch the wall on the other side with a hand. If he could get into the house on the other side of the alley, he would be able to talk with his beloved and, between the two of them, find a solution to their problem.
He asked who the owner of the house was and bought it for a fortune. One can only imagine Doña Carmen's surprise when stepping out onto her balcony, she found the man of her dreams so close.
When a few moments had passed since that indescribable lovers' conversation began, and the lovers were deep in thought, violent words were heard from the back of the room. It was Doña Carmen's father shouting at Brígida, who risked her life trying to prevent her master from entering her lady's chambers. The father pushed Doña Carmen's protector aside with ease, and with dagger in hand, with a single blow he plunged it into his daughter's breast.
Don Luis was shocked into silence. Doña Carmen's hand, still in his, slowly went cold. Resigned to the inevitable, Don Luis left a tender kiss on that smooth, pale hand, now lifeless. This is why this spot, undoubtedly one of the most typical of our city, is called the Callejón del Beso (the Alley of the Kiss).
visit museo de los momias
Museo de las Momias : Before 1858, if someone was buried in the local cemetery, relatives had 5 years to pay for the services. If no payment was made by that time, the corpse would be removed to make room for paying customers. The minerals in the soil preserved the bodies well and you may now see some of these poor souls displayed in glass cases. The Mummy Museum is on Panteon Municipal and can be reached in a Taxi. The fee (around $5 US) does not go towards paying for their burial.
Many interesting things to do
The museum of the Mummies, Galerieas de le Inquisicion, the silver mines, the museum of Diego Rivera, two musuems for Don Quixote, the alley of the kisses. and much more. For a small town there is no shortage of things to do. You dont need addresses because everyone know where they are. And we had ample oppourtunity to get maps of the sites. It is an easy town to get around.
Live a Local Legend - Callejon del Beso
El Callejon del Beso, otherwise known as the Alley of the Kiss, is home to one of Mexico's most famous legends. Guanajuato already feels a lot like Verona, and this legend of star-crossed lovers makes the two towns seem even more similar. In essence, a young girl loved a young boy, so her father locked her up. The boy she loved purchased the house across the alley, so that they could be close. As the two balconies are less than a metre apart, the two were able to speak with one another from their respective balconies. One day, the girl's father entered her room and found her engaged in conversation with the boy. He angrily stabbed her to death, and all her lover could do was kiss her cold, lifeless hand. Thus, the little alley off Plaza de los Angeles is called The Alley of the Kiss.
When it's busy, there may be a little queue to enter the alley. From one of the gift shops you can stand on one of the famous balconies as well. It's about as big a tourist trap as they come, but since you're likely to walk past anyways you may as well check it out.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Historical Travel
Stock Up on (Non)Essentials
At Mercado Hidalgo, you can find everything under the sun! The main floor is filled with booths that meet your daily needs, with everything from cleaning supplies to food to shopping bags. Upstairs, on the second floor, you will find tons of souvenirs, including lots of Day of the Dead and Alley of the Kiss memorabilia. Prices get better the further you get from the entrance- don't even bother with the booths right by the door. The market spreads out into the neighbouring plaza, with artesans selling their wares to the east of the main entrance, and a small mini-market full of booths dishing up fresh, hot food just a little further east (all in the same block). One of my favorite souvenirs from Mexico are the plastic woven shopping bags, which usually sell for twenty-five pesos ($2.50 CAD/US) and feature cute images of the Virgin, Frida Kahlo or local attractions. Because these are super lightweight and fold up flat, they're great for bringing home to other people.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Feel the Luxury at Teatre Juarez
You can't miss Teatro Juarez. Located right on Jardin de la Union, it's a huge building with a long history. Today, visitors can wander through the theatre at their leisure, listen to an English-speaking guide take them back in time, and get some fantastic photos (at a price- it's an extra thirty pesos to bring in your camera). The main area of exploration is downstairs, where you can actually enter the real theatre and see the magnificent seating, stage and decorations. The red velvet and gold decor are totally sumptuous. Upstairs, visitors can get a birds-eye view of the grand staircase, as well as check out where the rich and famous used to lounge around during intermission.
The theater is open Tuesday to Sunday, and closes for a few hours each afternoon between 2:00 and 5:00. It's open in the morning and evening, though.
- Theater Travel
- Historical Travel
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