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Mexico-On-Line » Guanajuato & San Miguel » Guanajuato & San Miguel Things To Do

Guanajuato & San Miguel Things To Do

Guanajuato, this gem among Mexico's colonial cities invites strolling along its winding streets. At every turn there is some architectural or historical site you'll want to visit, as you can see from the "Places of Interest" on the map. Among the most interesting is the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, formerly a granary, site of the first victory in the War of Independence (1810). Today it houses a fine regional museum. Don't miss Teatro Juárez, with its Moorish interior and art deco touches, a relic of the city's elegant past.

The Museo Diego Rivera is the birthplace of the artist. On the ground floor, the original living area can be seen. Upstairs is a small but comprehensive exhibit of his work. Among the many churches is the Basílica de Nuesta Señora. See the sculpture of the Virgin Mary over the altar, said to be the oldest piece of Christian art in Mexico.

For a change of pace, visit the Talavera (ceramics) studio of Gorky Gonzalez, where his world-famous work is displayed and sold. They can arrange to ship your purchases home.

A short drive from town is La Valenciana, site of silver mines which once produced a quarter of the world's silver. Visit nearby Templo de San Cayetano, with its ornate facade and gold altar.

And the charming colonial city of San Miguel de Allende! Many of the sights in this national monument city are in a cluster, and accessed best by foot. But wear walking shoes because the cobblestone streets are steep and narrow.

The Plaza Principal, also called El Jardin (San Miguel Map D-4), is a good place to get a feel for the town. On the south side is the striking neo-Gothic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel (San Miguel Map D-4), which has become an emblem of the city. This pink sandstone church, dating from the late 1600s, was given a new facade in the late 1800s by Zeferino Gutierrez. The story goes that this unschooled Indian worked solely from a postcard of a European cathedral and his imagination.

On the bulletin board at La Biblioteca Pública (San Miguel Map C-4), find out what's going on in town. The library has English-language newspapers and books, and a pleasant patio cafe. On Sundays a house and garden tour leaves from the library at noon.

San Miguel became an artists and writers colony largely because of the Instituto Allende (San Miguel Map F/G-3). This school teaches the arts and Spanish (including short courses), with many foreigners in attendance. The grounds are lush! Another school, Bella Artes, also called Centro Cultural "El Nigromante" (San Miguel Map D-4), which is housed in a cloister, offers instruction in art, music and dance. Both schools have art exhibits.

History buffs will like the Casa de Allende Museo (San Miguel Map D-4), the birthplace of Ignacio Allende, a leader with Hidalgo in the war of independence in the early 1800s. It houses a historical museum. To the south a bit is the Casa de El Inquisidor (San Miguel Map E-4), the headquarters of the Inquisition in New Spain. The Inquisition jail is across the way.

Nature lovers will like El Charco del Ingenio (San Miguel Map C-6), where more than a thousand species of succulents can be seen along winding paths. For some local color, visit the Lavanderia (San Miguel Map G-5), where townswomen gather to wash clothes in red cement troughs fed by springs. There's as much talking as washing!

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