Guanajuato is a city of incredible charm, as is almost immediately obvious on entering it by way of its subterranean main street. The street (right and below, left) follows the original course of the Guanajuato River, running beneath the city for almost 3 kilometers.
The river used to flood the downtown area with alarming frequency until a damwas built in the 1960's to contain it. This is one of only two major streets in downtown Guanajuato - this one coming into town, the other going back out.
To navigate the city, you have to go on foot. It's criss-crossed by hundreds of callejones (alleyways), the most famous of which is, undoubtedly, Callejón del Beso (Alley of the Kiss, right). The local romantic legend has it that this callejónis so narrow that lovers, each standing on a balcony of either side of the alley, can reach across the alley and exchange a kiss! The alleyway also is part of the route of the popular traditional callejoneadas of Guanajuato when student choral groups stroll the alleyways of Guanajuato at night, strumming their guitars and serenading the local populace.
Less romantic perhaps, but of greaterhistorical significance is the callejón (left) by which Ignacio Allende and Padre Hidalgo entered the city with their army in 1810 to confront royalist troops for the first time.
After marching from Dolores Hidalgo to San Miguel de Allende, then on to Celaya and Salamanca, they entered Guanajuato through this portal with a force of 20,000 men to engage in their first real battle against theSpanish garrison, which was holed up in a granary (Alhóndiga de Granaditas) in the center of the city. The granary was almost impossible to assault, but the ragged rebel army prevailed when Juan José de los Reyes Martínez, "El Pipila", strapped a paving stone to his back to shield himself from the bullets of the Spanish guns, made his way to the front door of the granary and set it afire so thetroops could gain entrance. A colossal statue of El Pipila stands high above the city.
Guanajuato is host each year to the International Cervantino Festival, named in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, author of "Don Quixote." Artists from around the world perform in recitals, concerts, plays, ballet, modern dance, opera and art exhibits. Events are held throughout the city and, indeed,throughout Mexico in other cities such as Mexico City, Guadalajara and San Miguel de Allende. But the real focus of activity for the festival is the Teatro Juárez (1903, above) which faces the main plaza of downtown Guanajuato, el Jardín de la Unión. Every inch of the interior of the theater is carved, painted, sculpted or embossed in a beautiful, truly awe-inspiring display of art of the period.Guanajuato City is the Capital of the State of Guanajuato and is one of the most important historical and cultural colonial cities of Mexico.
The whimsical trace of its streets, its peaceful squares and gardens and the beauty of its houses and buildings give to Guanajuato city an evocative and romantic touch.
History: considered by many ti be most beautiful colonial city in the Americas, owesits fame and fortune to rich veins of silver and gold discovered by the Spanish many years ago. During prehispanic times, the region was originally inhabited by the nomadic Chichimeca tribe. The first incursions by the Spanish occurred in 1541 and the territory was formally founded in 1570. By 1741 King Phillip V of Spain had officially designated Guanajuato a city. During the tenure of PresidentBenito Juarez, the city was provisional capital of the country. In 1903 President General Porfirio Diaz, inaugurated the Legislative Palace, the Juarez Theater, The Peace Monument, Hidalgo Monument and the Esperanza Reservoir. In 1945 the state college became the University of Guanajuato, Mexico's foremost public university. In 1953, University theater groups began to perform Cervantes plays...