GUANAJUATO MEXICO

Highlights

 

Guanajuato (GWAN-a-what-oh) (1990 pop. 113,580). Capital of the Guanajuato State, with an altitude of 6,583 ft (2 008 m), is a historical and picturesque town of agreeable little plazas, streets lined with stairs and houses of pastel-colored facades and balconies trimmed with iron work, and flower-filled window boxes, located about a five-hour drive northwest of Mexico City.

 

 

The town is a maze of cobblestone streets and alleys that wind around steep hillsides upon a small ravine, opening into vistas of beautiful churches and small plazas.

 

 

Most of these passageways are largely pedestrians only, since modern traffic circumvents the narrow streets underground, in massive stone tunnels and upon the riverbed, past the basements of the core city.

 

During centuries, a major mining center, its mines pouring out silver for the Spanish crown, now a government seat and college town. Since 1988, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Guanajuato has no traffic lights or neon signs, creating an extremely enjoyable place to walk, peaceful, yet with plenty of life in the streets, and plenty to see.

Highlights

 

Hidalgo Market. Inside the cast iron of a french railroad station, this market offers fresh produce, exotic tropical fruits as well as folk art of the region (pottery, candies, snuff boxes, etc.)

 

 

 

Callejoneadas. On Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. (more often on holidays), from the Jardin de la Union, a students minstrel ("Estudiantina") dressed in 17th century costume, gather and lead all onlookers wandering through the narrow streets and alleyways serenading. Everyone is invited to follow. The north path (opposite to Juarez Theater) being less rough for persons with walking problems.  A nice way to get a feel of the typical Guanajuato.

 

 

Juarez Theater. Built in 1875 by engineers Jose Noriega, Alberto Malo & Antonio Rivas-Mercado, and commissioned by former president Porfirio Diaz in 1903. Facade with neoclassical colonnade and frontispiece crowned by the Muses. Exquisite interiors with Moorish motifs. Beautiful foyer.

 

Guided tours in english available at front desk.

 

Alhondiga de Granaditas, the massive city grain warehouse built in 1798-1809, where loyalists sought refuge during the first battle for Mexico Independence when besieged (1810) by Miguel Hidalgo at the outset of the war against Spain. In 1811, loyalists hung on each corner of this building a head of a leader of the war of Independence as a reminder. Now holds the Guanajuato historical and archaeological museum.

 

Diego Rivera's House Museum. Birthplace of famed muralist Diego Rivera, now filled with a comprehensive collection of his and brilliant artist Frida Kahlo's works.

 

The Mummy Museum. It's adjacent to municipal cemetery. More than l00 bodies line the museum's walls in glass cases. Some still wear their burial clothes, and others are, quite literally, just skin and bones. They have been naturally mummified by the chemistry of Guanajuato's soil . Open Mon-Sun 9:00 to 18:00.

 

Olga Costa/Chavez-Morado Museum. Nice Gallery of Art, created by both artists.

 

San Diego Church. First works of oldest church in the place date from 1663. Its facade is from the late baroque period. Inside, a statue of Jesus Child in a glass cage is offered toys as votives.

 

Parish Church - Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato. Baroque church dated from 1671. The little statue of the patroness of the city was donated by King Philip II of Spain. The local hero, Celedonio de Jarauta, is buried at the Faustina chapel.

 

Cata Church. Next to Cata Mining Works. Finished in 1725. The Señor de Villaseca, one of the first images of crucifixed Christ brought from Europe is worshipped here. Tradition gives miraculous powers to the image and votive offerings are shown in a small chapel at right, first floor.

 

Two side altars from the old Rayas church are now located in the transepts. The guilded altarpieces have related themes: one is dedicated to Christ portrayed as the Man of Sorrows, and the other to the Virgin of Dolores. The latter appears to be in its original state.

 

(La Compañia) Company of Jesus' Church. Architect Felipe de Ureña design with Churrigueresque facade sculpted in high relief from rose-colored limestone. Works lasted from 1747 to 1765 under patronage of the Jesuit priest Jose de Sardaneta, brother of the first Marquis of Rayas.  The restored painting collection in the sacristy is worth a visit.

 

(San Cayetano) La Valenciana Church, built in 1765-1788 by the richest man of the New Spain, the Valenciana Count, with the huge profits of the nearby mine, but never finished. Oils by L. Monroy, c. XIX. Great acoustics to listen pipe organ works. Its Claustro was the first place in the Americas where simultaneusly were taught Latin, Greek and Hebrew.

 

Don Quixote Iconographic Museum. Tuesday to Saturdays 10:00 - 18:30. Free entrance. It's dedicated to the main character of Cervantes' l7th century novel. Collection of objects by Ocampo, Coronel & Dali among others with the image of the thin errant knight of dismal countenance, and his short squire, Sancho Panza.

 

 

Ex-Hacienda of San Gabriel de Barrera. Former place for refining silver ores. Now a museum with an outstanding XVII Century art and furniture collection. The museum's jewel is the gilded open chapel. The old patios and warehouses are now cozy gardens for reading or just relaxing, and sometimes rented for weddings.

 

 

Festival Cervantino, a major international art fiesta on the streets and theaters each October. After Miguel de Cervantes, author of "Don Quixote," whose plays are performed by college students on a small and picturesque plaza. Tickets for off-street events are available via the TicketMaster system. Mexico City's phone no. (+52 55) 53 25 9000. Guanajuato office is at Juarez Theater, street level, left side. More information at Plaza de San Francisquito No. 1; Colonia Pastita; 36090 Guanajuato, Gto. Mexico

Arriving

Geographic Situation: 101 15' 20" W, 21 01' 01" N

 

Weather

 

Several international services run weather forecasts of Guanajuato:

By Plane

 

Several airlines operate the Guanajuato International airport (code BJX) with direct flights to/from the USA:

 

Aeromexico Los Angeles.

American Airlines. Dallas-Fort Worth.

Continental Airlines. Houston. (toll-free: 800 525 0280)

Delta. Los Angeles

Mexicana. Los Angeles, San Jose CA and Chicago

United. Los Angeles

The airport is located (2100N, 10129W, 5548 feet) 15 mi (25 km) away from Guanajuato (Click on map).

 

  (Map courtesy of INFO San Miguel Allende)

 

Taxi service to Guanajuato costs about $25 US.

Rental Car Agencies: Hertz, Avis, Thrifty, Budget, National. With reservation, agents wait for you even at late night flights.

Hotels on the way? The small (used by low budget visitors to the nearby GM assembly plant) San Javier and a Holiday Inn Express. On the highway 45, at the right hand next to the water tower, after the first turn left, in Silao. 7 miles east from airport which is on the north side of the highway.

By Bus

 

Guanajuato's bus station is outside the city core. A taxi can take you to the city for $1.50 US, or the local bus for $0.22 US. There's a small tourist information booth inside the bus station.

 

From Mexico City. The trip is about five hours long. Take a taxi or the subway "metro" to the bus station "Terminal del Norte" and look for such bus lines as:

 

ETN Ph. (01 800) 907 1400

Primera Plus

Turistar

Omnibus de Mexico

 

From Guadalajara. The trip is about four hours long. At bus station look for bus lines as:

ETN  Ph. (01 800) 360 4200

Primera Plus

 

From Silao. Buses leave from Silao Depot to Guanajuato each 20 minutes.

 

From other cities. If you have any problem getting Guanajuato, head on to Leon, which is the largest city of Guanajuato State and it's just an hour away and has services to Guanajuato each 10-15 minutes

 

By Car

 

The easiest and safer way to get to Guanajuato is taking the federal highway 45 up to Silao, then the toll highway 110. Both highways are four lanes in Guanajuato State and are patrolled by the "Green Angels" - Free Tourist Assistance.

 

In town, leave your car at a hotel, and walk or use public transportation to move around.

Lodging

There are plenty of places to stay and eat, a few options are:

Callejon Jalisco #8, Col. Valenciana Guanajuato, Gto Mexico  Email: nfo@mexicaninns.com

USA DIRECT: 1.562.430.0647

MEXICO: 473.732.1784

Architecture suggests a medieval castle.

Camino a la Valenciana S/N, Km. 1 San Javier Guanajuato, Guanajuato, México. C.P. 36020

Phone: 473 7320485  E-Mail: revenuehotelsanfrancisco@gmail.com

Hotel Central.  Av. Juarez 111 (front of Mercado Juarez) (473) 732 0080

Hotel El Carruaje Salida a Valenciana km 1 (473) 732 2140

TOLL FREE USA/CAN: 855-532-2220

Calz. del Marqués S/N Parras de la Fuente, Coahuila. México Phone: 871 455 5922

Abadia Plaza Hotel: Carretera a Dolores Hidalgo Km 1, Abadia Tradicional Hotel: San Javier No. 1 Guanajuato, Guanajuato, México  reservaciones@stayberry.com

+52 473 732 2140 | 01 800 561 9191

Dirección: Nejayote #17 Col. Los Pastitos

E-mail: reservaciones@hotelesrealdeminas.com.mx

Hotel Mineral de Rayas

 Antigua Calle de Salgado, Barrio de la Griteria, Guanajuato, Gto.

Phone:  U.S.A.& CANADA 1-800-7CAMINO (1-800-7226466) & MEX 52 (55) 52.27.72.00

Restaurants

Popular main dishes in Guanajuato are: Enchiladas Mineras, Mole, Tamales, Chiles Rellenos, Cecina, Gorditas, and Bunuelos. Give a try to the following desserts: Charamuscas rellenas, Trompadas, Jamoncillos, Pepitorias, Alegrias and Cocadas.

Tequila (Plain and in Palomas = "Squirt" and Tequila) is a common entry, but, the local mezcal can be a good option.

 

Except in weddings, balls, etc., for all restaurants, here in alphabetical order, informal attire is OK.

 

Bocamina San Ramon. Former ancillary shaft of Valenciana mine. Now a restaurant bar with a small mining museum on first floor. Hardhats provided to those who dare to go down the steep steps.

Jardín de la Unión N° 3    Traditional and good mexican dishes.

Mexican Cuisine

Cafe Corazón Parlante

Paseo de La Presa 75, Barrio de la Presa

San José #4

To Do

Shopping

 

Traditional hand crafts are pottery, candies and limestone carving. But, in Hidalgo Market first floor, one may also find leather, delicately sculptured wax, leather, metal, textiles, & wood from nearby towns.

 

Shops:

 

Casa de Artesanías. A bit of every craft made in Guanajuato and surroundings.

Casa del Sol. Silverware

Casa del Conde de Valenciana. Good quality folk art shop with a cafe across the street from La Valenciana Church.

Gorki Gonzalez' Pottery Workshop In Ex-Huerta de Montenegro s/n Pastita.(473) 731 0389.  One of the best in town.

Ojo de Venado. Wonderful folk art store in the Valenciana - across from the Casa del Conde.

 

Spanish Learning

 

The Guanajuato University offers crash courses in spanish that are always well demanded. Book in advance. Other option are private schools like Escuela Falcon & Instituto Miguel de Cervantes. And for the young, exchanges of language classes are very common.

 

Photography

The following hints can be useful:

 

Panoramic views.- The so called Panoramic Road (Presa-Pastitos) affords spectacular views of the city and its neighboring countryside. Popular spots are from the Pipila, and from the Funicular (data) that runs from Juarez Theater to Pipila.

Ruins.- The best for black and white photography are San Gabriel de Barrera, Mellado, Rayas, Casa Mata, Noria Alta and the old mining works found on the dirt road to the Cubilete Mountain (La Luz & Santa Ana).

Donkeys.- Although rare in the city, still you can spot them carrying firewood near Santa Rosa in the Sierra.

Characters.- The small plazas around the Hidalgo Market are good spots when looking for folks wearing traditional costume.

Birds.- Many birds come up to Guanajuato high mountains to winter there. Good guides for birds watching and photograph can be got through the Fundacion Ecologica de Guanajuato A.C

Music

 

Almost every thursday and sunday, there is a concert by the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de Guanajuato.

The town is home of several musicians with  middle ages speciality. "Capella Guanajuatensis" and "Los Tiempos Pasados" are ones of the ensembles created, that play with old instruments.

The city has four church pipe organs that are in good playing condition: Mellado, Basílica, La Compañia and Valenciana.

 

History

 

History buffs love the ghost towns and mining works left idle since the last bonanza. I.e. Marfil, Santa Ana, Mineral de la Luz, Duran, Pastita.

Main underground street's walls enclosed very old buildings built at river level, abandoned by goverment orders just after two major disastrous floods in the XVIII century. Nowadays, next to Juarez Theater the former San Pedro Alcantar Monastery is being excavated out of tons of centuries old rubble. It can be seen through some windows.

 

Academics

 

For the academics oriented, Guanajuato has research centers in Chemistry, Mathematics & Mining. But, for most, the University's Main Library is worth a visit. It's just half block from the main Tourist Office. As well as,  a guided tour (by the same astronomers - opens Sep to Apr) to La Luz Observatory right in the sierra.

Architects would like to give a look to the Civil Engineering/Architecture School's building, just across street from Hidalgo Market. It's a real 3D maze!

 

Ecotravel

 

The barren hills which surround town once were covered with oak. The forest of the Santa Rosa Mountain Range with time has shrunk, but still covers part of the municipalities of Guanajuato, San Felipe, and Dolores Hidalgo. It begins just 5 km (3 mi) north of the city.

Fundacion Ecologica de Guanajuato A.C. A wide variety of environmental programs, including a monthly bird-watching trip, are available.

Grupo Cacomixtle. Affordable trekking and hiking close to Guanajuato.

bikestationguanajuato@ hotmail.com. (473) 114 20 31. Rent a Bike

 

Others

 

Other activities can be found on nearby industrial cities: Silao, Irapuato & Leon. An example is railfanning; Silao's GM assembly plant has huge yards with lots of action, though highly guarded.

 

Monuments

Jardin de la Union, small park with indoor and outdoor restaurants. Usually the meeting point for locals and tourists. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, a brass band plays old fashioned marchs.

 

Hidalgo Market. Inside the castiron of a french railroad station, this market offers fresh produce as well as folkart of the region (pottery, candies, snuff boxes, etc.)

 

The Mint. Former house of the rich miner Geronimo de Fernandez, for many centuries the official mint of Guanajuato, until 1900 when closed. Now, governamental offices. The patio and porch are good examples of the use of old Mexico houses.

 

Marquis of Rayas' House. Built in 1696.

Universidad de Guanajuato's Main Campus. Original building built in 1732 for Colegio de la Purisima Concepcion, under patronage of Pedro Lascurain de Retana (1675-1744) and Josefa Teresa de Bustos Moya (?-1749).

Gallery with Oil paintings from XVII to XIX centuries by Cristobal de Villalpando, Nicolas Rodriguez Juarez, et al.

 

Count Rul y Valenciana's House. Neoclassical building now occupied by the Court, designed by famous architect Francisco E. Tresguerras.

 

"Principal" Theater. Original built by Messrs. Miguel Zendejas & Francisco Hernandez in 1788 for the comedy. Reconstructed (never to former glory) after a fire in 1921.

 

Juarez Theater Built in 1875 by engineers Jose Noriega, Alberto Malo & Antonio Rivas-Mercado, and commissioned by former president Porfirio

 

Diaz in 1903. Facade with neoclassical colonnade and frontispiece crowned by the Muses. Exquisite interiors with Moorish motifs. Beautiful foyer.

 

Guided tours in english available at front desk.

 

Tree/Face. By Octavio Ocampo. Museo Carretero. Highway 110D

 

El Pipila monument. Huge statue of the popular Independence hero that opened the city granary burning the front door. A place to take a breathtaking view of the city. A popular way of climbing up is using the Funicular (data), whose station is behind Juarez Theater.

Museums

Alhondiga de Granaditas,  Tue-Sat 10:00-14:00, 16:00-18:00, Sun 10:00-15:00.

The massive city granary built in 1798-1809, where loyalists sought refuge during the first battle for Mexico Independence when besieged (1810) by Miguel Hidalgo at the outset of the war against Spain. Now holding a historical museum with several pieces of Chupicuaro Culture and an interesting bookstore.

 

Diego Rivera's House Museum. Tue-Sat 10:00-18:30, Sun 10:00-14:30.

Birthplace of famed muralist Diego Rivera, now filled with a comprehensive collection of his and brilliant artist Frida Kahlo's works.

 

The Mummy Museum. Mon-Sun 9:00 to 18:00.

It's adjacent to municipal cemetery. More than l00 bodies line the museum's walls in glass cases. Some still wear their burial clothes, and others are, quite literally, just skin and bones. They have been preserved by the chemistry of Guanajuato's soil.

La Era by Diego Rivera

Gene Byron's self portrait

Arboleda by Olga Acosta

The Mineralogy Museum at the Mining School. Mon-Fri 10:00-18:00 Collection of natural gems.

 

Gene Byron Museum. Mon-Fri. 10:00-17:00 Ex-hacienda Santa Ana s/n. Marfil. Gallery and Art Shop at the former house of late canadian artist Gene Byron.

 

 

Olga Costa/Chavez-Morado Museum. Tue-Sat 9:30-19:00, Sun 9:30-15:00. Pastita. Nice Gallery of Art, created by both artists in their original home.

 

Guanajuato People's Art Museum. Tue-Sat 10:00-19:00, Sun 10:00-14:00 Next door of University Main Building.

 

Hermenegildo Bustos Museum.

 

 

Alfredo Dugues Natural History Museum. University's Main Building 1st. Floor. Mon-Fri 10:00-18:00.

 

Don Quixote Iconographic Museum. Tue-Sat 10:00-18:30, Sun 10:00-14:30. Manuel Doblado 1. Free entrance. It's dedicated to the main character of Cervantes' l7th century novel. Collection of objects by Ocampo, Coronel & Dali among others with the image of the thin errant knight of dismal countenance, and his short squire, Sancho Panza.

 

Ex-Hacienda of San Gabriel de Barrera. Mon-Sun 9:00-18:00. Former place for refining silver ores. Now a museum with an outstanding XVII Century art and furniture collection. The museum's jewel is the gilded open chapel.

 

Picture Gallery of La Compania Church. Mon-Sun 10:30-14:00, 16:30-18:00.

 

Valenciana Mine. One of the richest silver mines ever. In 1810 the San Jose shaft reached 527 m deep, the deepest on earth at the time. Today, the modern mining company offers tours year round, to one of the older pits behind the San Cayetano/Valenciana Church. Small museum with models of the mining works of Guanajuato. Hardhats provided.

 

San Ramon Mineshaft. Former ancillary shaft of Valenciana mine. Now a restaurant bar with a small mining museum on first floor. Hardhats provided to those who dare to go down the steep steps.

Religious Art

Los Hospitales Church. First catholic parish of the city, next to the Indians Hospital. Built in 1560.

 

San Diego Church. First works of oldest church in the place date from 1663. Its facade is from the late baroque period. Inside, a statue of Jesus Child in a glass cage is offered toys as votives.

 

Parish Church - Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato. Baroque church dated from 1671. The little statue of the patroness of the city was donated by King Philip II of Spain.

 

The local hero, Celedonio de Jarauta, is buried at the Faustina chapel.

 

San Juan de Rayas Church, Constructed under the first marquis of Rayas, Vicente Sardaneta y Legaspi, in the XVIII century.

 

Cata Church. Next to Cata mining works. Finished in 1725. The Senor de Villaseca, one of the first images of crucifixed Christ brought from Europe is worshipped here. Tradition gives miraculous powers to the image and votive offerings are shown in a small chapel at right, first floor.

 

Company of Jesus' Church. Architect Felipe Urena design with chirigueresque facade. Works lasted from 1747 to 1765. The restored painting collection in the sacristy is worth a visit.

 

San Sebastian Church. Construction began in 1782.

 

San Cayetano (La Valenciana) Church, built in 1765-1788 by the richest man of the New Spain, the Valenciana Count, with the huge profits of the nearby mine, but never finished. Its richly baroque, Churrigueresque architecture is among the finest in the world. Oils by L. Monroy, c. XIX. Great acoustics to listen pipe organ works. Its Claustro was the first place in the Americas where simultaneusly were taught Latin, Greek and Hebrew.

 

Ex-Hacienda of San Gabriel de Barrera. Former place for refining silver ores. Now a museum with an outstanding XVII Century art and furniture collection. The museum's jewel is the gilded open chapel.

 

Festivals

Festival Cervantino, a major international art fiesta on the streets and theaters each October. After Miguel de Cervantes, author of "Don Quixote," whose plays are performed by college students on a small and picturesque plaza. Tickets for off-street events are available via the TicketMaster system. Their Guanajuato office is at Juarez Theater, street level, left side.

 

Hot Air Baloon Festival, runs each november at León Guanajuato city.

 

Alfenique Fair, Last days of October, November 1st and 2nd, at San Fernando Square. Many vendors of almond candies in variated shapes, and traditional skulls labeled on foreheads with proper names. Prizes given to best works.

 

The Festival de la Presa marks the start of the rainy season, and it officially begins on June 24th.

Festivities

Dolores Friday.- A week before Good Friday.

 

The Virgin of Dolores is miners' patroness and being Guanajuato a legendary mining town, her day is celebrated with altars, flowers and a popular festival in Jardin de la Union.

The night before, all social clubs celebrate the Flowers' Ball

 

Holy Week.- Some churches like the Company of Jesus' and San Roque still offer religious services, old spanish way.

Being national holidays, cultural activities are run in plazas. The Universidad's Book Fair is held in San Fernando.

 

Our Lady of Guanajuato's Fest.- May 22th to 31th.

Pilgrimages to the city's patroness. Fireworks and ancient folk dances are performed at La Paz square.

Saint John & De la Olla Fest Jun 24.

 

De la Olla Reservoir's Opening.- First monday of July

Folks celebrate the opening of the reservoir's gates with swimming and dive contests.

 

San Ignacio de Loyola's Day Jul 31th.

Long ago, it was to celebrate the day of the city's patron. It is also named "The Cave's Day". People go to the mountain, west of the Bufa, where there are some natural but short caves. It's picnic day for everyone.

 

The Alhondiga Battle Sept 28th The neighborhood of Santa Rosa enacts the famous battle.

 

Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec 12th. People go serenading her sanctuary and giving off flowers.

 

Traditions

 

Most popular legends, for a few coins are sung by the children at main tourist attractions.

Anyway, tourist guides can explain oral tellings from colonial times (i.e. The crying woman, The kiss' alley, The good death's alley).

Picture Gallery
History

Prehispanic

 

Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, the region was inhabited by the otomi (who named the place: Mo-o-ti, "Metals Place"), the nahua people (naming it Paxtitlan), and later by nomadic Guamares, a Chichimeca band. The name Guanajuato comes from its purepecha name Quarap-huata, "Hilly Place of Frogs".

 

Spanish Rule

 

In 1541, Spaniards explored the zone, and in 1546 the Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza granted land to

Don Rodrigo de Vazquez in the vicinity of Guanajuato.

In 1548, a muleteer named Rayas, in his way north, found inside his bonfire at soil level the first silver in these hills, then frontier land.

 

The legal foundation of the township of Santa Fe y Real de Minas de Guanajuato dated of 1570, with this Coat of Arms.

During the spanish era, Guanajuato belonged to the New Spain Viceroyalty. In 1741, Phillip V of Spain granted to Guanajuato the city status. In 1786, the New Spain was divided into 12 intendencias, one of which was the Intendencia of Guanajuato, with an area about the actual State of Guanajuato.

 

Riches from mining gave to Guanajuato the first earth dam in the New World, Presa de los Santos and the world's deepest mine shaft for many centuries, in the Valenciana, the richest mine.

 

The extreme poverty of the mine workers and field laborers under spanish rule with the new liberal ideas of the rich and educated, gave the Intendencia of Guanajuato the lead on the social movement of the early 1800s.

 

The mob under the Father Hidalgo leadership assaulted Guanajuato in the first battle of Independence war (28-Sept-1810). The Spaniards sook refuge in the massive alhondiga = granary, then recently finished and resisted until a obscure miner ("Pipila") set main door on fire.   His feat is remembered with the massive monument next to Jardin de la Union on the mountain.

After Independence

 

The first Constitution of Mexico, in 1824, created the free and sovereign State of Guanajuato and the city was named its capital.

 

Guanajuato was seat of the republican powers from 17th January to 13th February 1858, with President Juarez fleeing the Coup of Ignacio Comonfort.

 

During the Intervention era, the French army stayed in Guanajuato for four years. Emperor Maximilian and his Empress visited the city for a week in 1864.

 

The regime of President Diaz (1876-1910) brought progress for Guanajuato: foreign investors and managers for mines, railways, tramways, telephones, electricity, public lighting, "La Esperanza" water works, movie theaters, public parks "El Cantador" and

"Florencio Antillon", La Paz square and statue, Juarez Theater and the Hidalgo Market.

 

The city suffered economic depression on the civil war of 1910-1920 when changed hands between parties, and many mining works were left idle since, leaving some ghost towns around (i.e. Mineral de la Luz).

 

Contemporary

 

 

The old State College (former jesuit Colegio de la Purisima Concepcion until 1828) in 1947 changed legal status and name to Universidad de Guanajuato.

 

 Since 1952, year after year, enthusiastic students of the Universidad under Professor Enrique Ruelas performed Cervantes' works called "Entremeses" at Plaza San Roque. Twenty years after, those plays originated the famous International Cervantes Festival with the plays still on scene.

 

Guanajuato's VIP

 

 

Alaman, Lucas. Conservative Politician and Historian.

 

Arreola, Juan Jose. Poet and Writer.

 

Chavez, Bernardo.(1868-1951) Priest native of Santa Rosa. Founder of Templo Expiatorio in Leon.

 

Degollado, Santos. (1811-1861). Politician and military officer.

 

Godoy, Emma. (1918-1989). Writer. In 1961, got the prize Foundation William Faulkner with "Erase un hombre pentafásico".

 

Jarauta, Celedonio Domeco de. (Zaragoza Spain 1814 - Guanajuato 18 July 1848). Military chaplain. Oppositor to the Guadalupe Treaty that ceded half of mexican territory to the U.S.

Fought against government in Guanajuato. He's buried in Guanajuato's parish church.

 

Leal, Manuel. Painter of Guanajuato historical events.

 

Lejarzal, Pedro Ignacio. (1797-1862) Professor of Mineralogy and Mathematics.

 

Liceaga, Jose Maria.

 

Mendoza, María Luisa. (1930- ) Writer and deputy 1985-1988.

 

Negrete, Jorge. Actor and popular singer. On films, the prototype of the "charro".

 

Rivera, Diego (1886-l957). Muralist and left wing activist. 1, 2, 3

"Dia de las Flores" by Diego Rivera

 

Ruelas, Enrique. Arts Professor born in Pachuca. Recreated the Cervantes' plays in Guanajuato's plazas with students and local characters, which originated the Cervantes Festival.

 

Valle, Juan. ( -1865) Blind Poet and Liberal Politician. Author of "Flores y Abrojos", "Himno a la Cárcel", among others. Guanajuato's street where he was born is named after him.

Essentials

Accomodation. It's recommended to book a place to stay in advance, because, accomodation may be hard to find during Cervantino Festival and national holidays, specially, the Holy Week. Then, the solution is to try hotels at alternate cities: Leon (50 km/30 mi), Silao (20 km/12 mi) and Irapuato (55 km/34 mi).

 

When in search of a place to stay, it's worth checking out the tourist office at Plaza de la Paz 14. They give information on hotels and their official prices, plus a free map of the city, if requested.

 

ATM (Cash Dispensers). Juarez Ave. is where most ATM are installed. Cards accepted: Cirrus, Visa, Mastercard.

 

Banks can be found along Juarez Ave.

 

Books and Guides even in spanish, are hard to find. Bring along your own copy.

 

Buses. The ride (One way) inside the city is 0.20 USD.

 

Most routes in and out the city core, stop outside the Hidalgo Market.

 

Car Hire. Do not expect air conditioning. Likewise, do not expect all the toys that rental cars have in the States. You won't have cruise control, but as you will see, you really don't need it. Be sure to get unlimited miles and settle the rate before leaving home.

 

Charities. Guanajuato is a place with few beggars, and most around are professionals on their trade. The real needy can get some help from organizations like the Christian Ladies of Saint Vincent of Paul. Those organizations are voluntary and are always in need of a hand of locals as well as non-residents.

 

Consulates. Guanajuato has none. The US Embassy in Mexico City is reachable via internet.

 

Credit Cards. Visa and Mastercard are accepted almost everywhere. If American Express, where accepted, is charged a fee for financial costs.

 

Emergencies

Emergenices 066

Fire brigade. Ph. 473 732 33 57

Police Department. Ph. 473 732 02 66

Red Cross. Ph. 473 732 04 87

 

Information. Guanajuato State Tourism Office.(Mon thru Fri 09:00-19:30, Sat & Sun 10:00-14:00) Plaza de la Paz 14; 36000 Guanajuato, Gto

 

Maps. Although, they are available through most hotels and the Tourist Office just half a block uphill the Jardin de la Union, in practice it's not so difficult to find your way around.  The few streets run along the small valley, being the lowest level at west. Town's main road is Juarez Ave. and most attractions are on this, or just off it.

 

Post Office (Mon-Fri 08:00-18:00, Sat 08:00-13:00) is behind the Jardin de la Union.

 

 

Weather. Altitude and a high sierra at north, makes Guanajuato a temperate, dry, and a little windy town (75.6 Km/h max recorded W-NE). Mornings and evenings are crisp and cool, while afternoons are sunny and very warm.  Average temperature is 17.9 C, with a minimum about 3 C in January, and maximum of about 36 C in May. During season (June to October), it rains usually after sunset.

 

Nearby Sights

Abasolo

-La Caldera. Hotel & Spa.

 

Acambaro - First Spanish settlement on Guanajuato State -

-Chupicuaro Culture Regional Museum. Displays on the culture of the old inhabitants of the Lerma valley.

 

Celaya

-El Carmen convent and church. Beautiful neoclassic construction built from 1802 to 1807 by Eduardo Tresguerras.

-Presidencia Municipal's walls display some of celebrated celayan painter Ocampo's vegetable paintings.

 

Dolores Hidalgo -Cradle of Mexican Independence-

-Dolores Parish church. Built from 1712-1778. Interesant facade and altars of Hidalgo's times.

-Father Hidalgo's house.     Now a historic museum with furniture and objects of the c. XVIII and XIX.

-Pottery factories and shops. Although there are tens of them, world class quality is found in just a few. For instance, Queen -Elizabeth II ordered her mexican service from Mr. Fortino Guerrero workshop, now run by his son and grandson.

-Mesquite Furniture shops. A small community close to Dolores works on mesquite wood by hand. Furniture to order.

-Atotonilco's Jesus The Nazaren Sanctuary. Centuries old sanctuary still in use outside town. Father Hidalgo took from this sanctuary the image of Virgen of Guadalupe that used as emblem of an independent country. Juan Correa's naive paintings about Christ's acts. Chapel's altar has strange paintings on mirrors about the Lepanto Battle.

 

Thousands of men flock in for Holy Week devotions.

 

Irapuato - Spanish pronunciation of naturals' voice meaning "among rivers" -

-City Museum. Superb photographic archives of major natural disasters (floods) of the region. Purepecha Culture archeologic pieces are on display.

 

Leon -Mexican shoe capital-

-Explora Science park. IMAX theater and interactive museum.

-Zona Piel. Commercial district with shops literally packed with shoe and leather goods.

 

Cd. Manuel Doblado

-Cerro Grande archeological site. Old strategic dwellings on top of a hill over the meadows of Rio Turbio valley, where geese winter. Place non developed. Nice view.

 

Penjamo

-Plazuelas Archeologic Site. Barely explored site.

 

Purisima del Rincon

-Presidencia Municipal. Paintings by most famous town's son Hermenegildo Bustos.

Jalpa de Canovas. Old hacienda owned by Braniff Family. Chapel and main building are interesting as well as rock paintings near the new dam.

 

Salamanca

-San Agustin. Beautiful church built in XVII c., convent in XVIII c.

 

San Felipe

-Los Panales o Agujas. Natural formations on rock. State road 87 Leon-San Felipe, km 41.

Jaral de Berrio. One of the most famous haciendas of Old Mexico.

 

San Luis de la Paz -Gate to Guanajuato's Sierra Gorda, Trekking and Ethnography-

-Chichimeca descendants live in old communities close to town where Chupintantegua (1552) is the local hero.

-Mineral de Pozos. Interesting mining community now ghost town.

 

San Miguel Allende - Tourist and retirement town with good spas nearby-

-Ignacio Allende's house. Now hosting the regional museum. Good exhibits on natural history, prehispanic settlers, camino real times, and Independence war.

-Instituto Allende . A large arts center open to general public with focus on cultural enrichment programs. Offers good language immersion programs. Building was the Old Mayorazgo de la Canal's House.

-El Nigromante arts center. Lectures and classes of dance, painting, theater, music, etc. Host of the International Festival of chamber music (August).

-Parish Church. Neogothic construction of late 19th century by Zeferino Gutierrez.

-San Francis Church. The most beautiful churriguresque facade in town. Pictures on San Francis life.

-San Felipe's Oratory. Subject of most amateur paintings of San Miguel. Plateresque facade of 1714, neoclassic elsewhere.

-Mountain bike tours. Old haciendas and hot springs are in the way. Arrangements are done to stay and dine in some interesting places.

-Public Library. Second largest mexican bilingual (english-spanish) library. Good collection.

 

Silao

-Cristo Rey shrine. On top of Cubilete mountain (2600m), this church has a magnificient view of the Bajio valley. 80 ton statue of 20 m height from 1951. Small museum related to the religious war. Good spot for gliders' flights.

-Chichimequillas. Rock art on top of hill above the new dam El Pipila

-The Chavez Morado Brothers' art museum.

-Comanjilla. Hotel & hot sulfur springs (90 C) with curative properties.

 

Valle de Santiago

-Rincon de Parangueo Crater. Rock art near the entrance tunnel.

-La Alberca Crater. Within the city sprawl. Rock art on walls.

 

Yuriria

Agustinian Convent. Founded in 1570, now museum. Interesant facade of native version of plateresque.

La Alberca. Old crater whose waters turn red on sismic events. Her name, Yuririapundaro was taken for the town in her skirts.

Yuriria Lake. Artificial lake made by Fray Diego de Chavez y Alvarado taking Lerma river waters to fill up a natural depression.

 

Calendar

 

January.

Leon. State Fair. (***)

Holy Week Festivities.

San Miguel Allende.

Purisima. Jalpa de Canovas. (***)

Yuriria. (***)

Sept 28-30 - Saint Michael Archangel Festivities.

San Felipe. Battle of moorish and christians. (***)

San Miguel Allende. Bull races on city's streets.

 

 

Information

Turism Offices

Guanajuato State Tourism Office.(Mon thru Fri 09:00-19:30, Sat & Sun 10:00-14:00)

Plaza de la Paz 14; 36000 Guanajuato, Gto.

 

Bibliography

[EN1] ENCICLOPEDIA DE MEXICO. Secretaría de Educación Pública. 1987. Very good reference in Spanish

[MI1] MINERS AND MERCHANTS IN BOURBON MEXICO 1763-1810. Brading, D.A. London, Cambridge University, 1971.

 

Links

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