Colonial Mexico: Guanajuato’s Unique Physical Appearance

Built into an irregular and narrow mountainous ravine, Modern Guanajuato is a colorful stacked landscape. Sprinkling its hilly terrain are brick bridges, cobblestone streets, gardens, small alleyways (called callejones) and plazas. Additionally, steep, narrow staircases curiously lead up to an alleyway or a door. Also interesting, cars access the city via an underground street system of tunnels with only one road entering and exiting the town.

 

Colonial Mexico - View of el pípila in Guanajuato

View of a tunnel, the stacked architecture and El Pípila

 

What to do in Guanajuato - Plaza San Fernando

Plaza San Fernando. The restaurant behind the fountain was playing a St. Louis Cardinals playoff game

 

UNESCO declared Guanajuato a World Heritage Site in 1988

Soon after the Spanish founded the city in 1548, they discovered silver. For the next 250 years, Guanajuato supplied one-third of the world’s silver. The “plata” (the Spanish term for silver and a slang term for money) is reflected in its churches, mansions and theaters. A popular tourist attraction is the 17th century La Valencia mine due the impact silver had on the city historically. As varied as the terrain and contributing to the UNESCO designation, is Guanajuato’s architecture, including churrigueresque baroque, neoclassical facades and other Spanish colonial styles. At times, the city’s beauty appears less Mexican and more a European mash-up of a medieval village, colonial settlement and Walt Disney World.

 

Colonial Mexico - Our lady of Guanajuato Basilica

The 17th century Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato, an example of Baroque architecture

 

Colonial Mexico - a Window in Guanajuato

Residents of Guanajuato mimic the beauty of their city

 

What to do in Guanajuato

Historic architecture, young residents and fresh energy are met with rich culture. There is no shortage of cafés, bars, street food, markets, galleries, concerts, theater and other performances year-round. Exclusive to Guanajuato are performances by young people called callejoneadas. Estudiantinas (university groups) dress in renaissance-era Spanish troubadour costumes, sing popular traditional songs and lead strolls in the evenings throughout the city. If you participate in a callejoneada, the estudiantinas will pour tequila in your mouth from a flask while telling tales and serenading you, a serenade happy hour! Arguably one of Latin America’s largest and most important art festivals occurs every October for three weeks in Guanajuato. To learn more about El Cervantino go here and here.

A perfect spot to study and practice Spanish for a few weeks

When visiting Guanajuato, you’ll need plenty of time to explore the urban labyrinth.  It boasts many top rate museums, such as Diego Rivera’s childhood home and museum, Museo Iconografico del Quijote (Don Quixote Museum), Museo de las Momias (Mummy Museum) and Alhondiga de Granaditas (public granary and Regional Museum of Guanajuato). Another memorable experience is taking the funicular to the Monumento al Pípila (revolutionary hero) for picture-perfect views of the city on the way up and down and at the top.

 

What to do in Guanajuato - Visit El Pípila

El Pípila, a revolutionary hero

 

What to do in Guanajuato - view from El Pípila

View of Guanajuato, Guanajuato from El Pípila

 

Stop by the The University of Guanajuato during a walking tour. It’s main building in the Neoclassical style is known for its 113 steps leading up to the building. Another can’t-be-missed place is the famous Callejón del Beso (Alley of the Kiss), a 27-inch-wide alley. The legend of Callejón de Beso states if you kiss on the third step, your love will last forever.

 

What to do in Guanajuato - have a kiss at Callejón de besos

The myth of Callejón del Beso: if a couple kisses on the third step they will avoid seven years of bad luck

 

Located only five hours from Mexico City, Guanajuato is easy to get to! Rent a car or take a fancy bus but don’t miss one of Mexico’s most interesting destinations!

 

Colonial Mexico, What to do in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico

Colonial Mexico, What to do in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico

 

What to do in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico

What to do in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico

 

Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico

Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico