City and Travel Guide
Nestled in the Sierra de Guanajuato mountains, this architecturally stunning city, the “Jewel of the Americas”, of 80,000 is as unique as the rich Mexican heritage it boasts. The lively old mining berg is historically and culturally one on Mexico’s most important locales. A world-class “walking city” you will surely experience why UNESCO declared it a “World Heritage Site”.
Background & History
“Guanajuato” means “Hill of Frogs” for the large rock formation which looks remarkably like a frog. The city was originally built over the Guanajuato River and to accommodate repeated flooding, civil engineers built a dam and redirected the river into underground caverns. These tunnels were lit and paved with cobblestones for automobile traffic creating an underground road network connecting the city. In the 1700’s the Spaniards discovered rich veins of silver and gold and by the 1800’s the local Valenciana mine accounted for 2/3 of the world’s silver production. In 1945, the State College became the University of Guanajuato, and in 1953, performances of the short comic plays (Entremeses Cervantinos) began and came to be the most important artistic event in Latin America, the International Cervantes Festival. From the student minstrel groups strolling and singing merrily to the abundance of wonderful cuisine, Guanajato will assuredly fill your days and nights with memories hard to find anywhere else.
Things to Do
Explore. Wander. Guanajato’s streets are alive. There are dozens of plazas and plazuelas, creating a distinctly European flavor. Stroll down one of the hundreds of criss-crossing alleys, the most famous of which is Callejón del Beso (Alley of the Kiss). Legend has it that this callejón is so narrow that lovers, each standing on a balcony of either side of the alley, can reach across the alley and exchange a kiss. Visit the art museum housed at artist Diego Riveras birthplace or the Cristo Rey del Cubilete (Christ the King Shrine), where every January thousands of religious pilgrims converge. on horseback Or, the Teatro Juárez, home to the Expresión en Corto International Film Festival. Or the Legislative Palace, the Monument to Peace, the Monument to Hidalgo, the Presa de la Esperanza, the renowned Cristo Rey del Cubilete, the Mummy Museum and on and on…
Getting to Guanajuato
By air The closest airport is 30 minutes away in Leon (BJX).
By car: Mexico City and Guadalajara are both approximately 3 hours by car.
Comfortable shoes! This is a true walking city. Taxis are readily available. $25 pesos for trips within the Zona Centro and more for outer lying areas.