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Guanajuato : capital
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
 
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Allow at least 2 days in this city, especially on weekends to enjoy the mariachis, callejoneadas, bands, etc... and an extra day for the surroundings.

Today, Guanajuato is among the protected places of UNESCO on the account of the World Cultural Heritage since 1988. Click here for the link with the UNESCO site.


Funiculaire Guanajuato (short video)
Before starting the visit, we recommend to drive on the panoramic road (la panorámica) that borders the south of the city. From the road, some points of view are fantastic, especially at the monument Pípila. From there, you can see the whole city, its colors, its particular hotels and the imposing bell towers of its churches as well as the stretch of the city towards the north and the mine Valenciana. The monument is dedicated to this young citizen, who fell during the Independence war when attacking the Spanish fortress. Since several years, this monument located in the heights of the city is accessible by cable car – departure on the left of the Theater (open 8 AM-11PM, Mon-Fri, 9AM-11PM Sat, 10AM-9PM Sun, MXN$22). There is a wonderful view not to be missed, especially with clear sky and at sunset when the sun set ablaze the colored facades houses and historic monuments.

Panoramic view from Monument Pípila From here, if you look attentively at the Teatro Juárez, located on the triangular Zócalo, you can see something hidden down there : the wonderful façade of the theater is, in fact, a false fronton that disguises an unimpressive building. It is crested with 8 huge bronze statues representing Greek mythology. There is a perfect mix of neoclassic, colonial and Moorish styles. There is a beautiful room of style inspired by the Alhambra of Granada in Spain. The foyer is a mix of art nouveau and neoclassic styles. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9AM to 1:45PM and from 5 to 7:45PM; admission fee: MXN$20.

     Right picture : Panoramic view from Monument Pípila





Many street shows occur on the steps of the Theater Juárez and it is the departure point of the famous callejoneadas (see explanation at the end of the chapter).



Guanajuato is without doubt the most attractive city of the road of Independence. Despite concentrated efforts, the architects of the time didn’t succeed in keeping a grid pattern to the city. The whole terrain is uneven and some streets are narrow alleys. The city, with its alleys and byways, follows the river. By chance you end up on isolated little plazas, oasis of peace in this busy city with also a lot of tourists. The city is characterized by round cobblestone streets, many colonial buildings (some of Moorish style), elegant houses, baroque churches and neoclassic monuments.
One of the underground streets close to the Templo San Diego
Guanajuato is full of the perfume of the many flowers displayed on the used carts from the silver mines. Wellsprings had been converted in pedestrian areas or streets. A ride in car or bus in these calles subterráneas is part of the big moments of the visit of the city.

Left picture : One of the underground streets close to the Templo San Diego

Cultural city by excellence, it organizes many festivals, among them the Festival International Cervantino, which attracts the artistes from the whole world (1,900 artistes and 21 counties represented in 2007).
The Jardin (Garden) of the Union can be the departure point of the walking tour of the city.

The Garden, bordered with rose-bays of India offers a quiet place of relaxation to the stroller even if the evenings are busier with students. The Mariachis also meet here. On Thursdays and Sundays, from 7PM, the municipal band ritually performs Mexican music pieces. Many restaurant terraces surround the Garden, privileged place to stroll and listen to traditional music. You won’t be disappointed. It is quite enlivened during the early evenings especially on weekends.

The Garden is bordered by the Templo San Diego (open daily 8AM-7PM), a Spanish Church, whose only the sophisticate churrigueresque façade of the seventeenth century catches the eye. The construction started in 1663 and lasted more than100 years.

Templo San Diego Take the Calle Sopeña to discover the surprising Museo Iconográfico del Quijote (open 10AM-6:30PM, Tue-Sun, free admission). Exclusively consecrated to Don Quichotte, hero of Cervantès, it displays about 600 pieces of collection as well as paintings, prints, sculptures and ceramics in classical or contemporary styles. Some are masterworks from famous artists like - Raphaël, Dali, Pedro Coronel.....

     Right picture : Templo San Diego

Going back to the Garden of the Union, keep going west one hundred yards on Avenue Juárez. You will find the yellow Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato (open daily 7AM-8PM), built in the seventeenth century, in a baroque style. Majestic in its sobriety, it is the home of a wooden statue of the Virgin, personal gift from Philippe II in 1557. Admire the paintings of the eighteenth century in the sacristy. The inside ornaments, paintings, balconies, chandeliers and statues made it one of the most beautiful of the churches of the area.



Cathedral and Plaza de la Paz
West to the basilica, the plaza de la Paz is another strategic crossing of the city, animated with nice café terraces. Stay on Avenue Juárez towards the Legislative Palace. By the side of this neoclassic building made of green stones is the Palacio de Justicia or State Congress, erected by Architecte Eduardo Tresguerras for the richest mine owner of Guanajuato, Count Rul y Valenciana.

Left picture : Cathedral and Plaza de la Paz

Keep going on Avenue Juárez and turn right towards the Plazuela de San Fernando. Tour this place, real haven of peace, bordered with terraces and colonial houses and keep going until reaching the Plazuela de San Roque, with the Church of San Roque, and come back to the Avenue to reach, on the other side, the lovely Plazuela de Los Angeles.
The Festival International Cervantino has been performing there yearly for about 60 years. There are many plays in the different theaters. This festival is one of the most important cultural and art events in Latin America.

callejón del beso A few steps away, you will be able to have your picture taken in the Callejón del Beso (Alleyway of the Kiss) as it is called due to a legend of the nineteenth century about two young lovers living on each side of an alley that they could kiss each other from their balconies despite the disagreement of their parents. It is one of the big attractions of the city, even if it doesn’t present any interest !

     Right picture : callejón del beso

Being still close to Avenue Juárez, you can go to the Hidalgo Market, a huge building from early twentieth century, inspired by a French rail station, testimony of Porfiriato. You will find many craft stalls on the second floor, with a lot of leather and ceramics and there are many food stalls on the first floor.

The following day can be dedicated to the museums, the University and the magnificent churrigueresque Church of the Company of Jesus as well as the silver mines and the Valenciana Church.

A short walk and you arrive at the University of Guanajuato, located on a long precipitous terrace and built in1955. The mix of neoclassic and colonial styles tries to give to this seven floor building, an aspect that could fit with the architecture of the city. On the right, you can see the Iglesia de la Compañia de Jesús (open daily 8AM-2PM and 4-8PM) dating from the eighteenth century (1745-1765). It has a very nice churrigueresque façade, crested with an elegant neoclassic dome. Inside the sacristy, the Pinacoteca (open 10AM-4PM, Mon-Sat), was converted into a museum. There are a nice collection of paintings and ornaments from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It was recently restored.

Cathedral, University and Templo de la Compañía de Jesús Now, following the street Positos in the opposite direction, you will find, on your right, the Museo del Pueblo de Guanajuato, at number 7 and the native house of the famous muralist painter Diego Rivera ( at number 47). This house was converted in the Museo Casa Diego Rivera. In the first named museum (open 10AM-7PM, Tue-Sat and 10AM-3PM, Sun, MXN$15), you can find art collections of the eighteenth and nineteenth century as well as temporary expositions and, in the second one (open 10AM-7PM, Tue-Sat, 10AM-3PM Sun, MXN$15), you will admire a reconstitution of the family house of Rivera and many of his works. We remind you that Diego Rivera was Frida Kahlo’s husband.

Left picture : Cathedral, University and Templo de la Compañía de Jesús

Still going west, take the Calle 28 de septiembre and get into the Museo Regional de la Alhóndiga de Granaditas (ex-granary and ex-prison) via the Calle Mendizabal # 6. It is a nice museum adorned with murals about the local history and with history, archeology and ethnology rooms (open 10AM-2PM and 4-6PM, Tue-Sat and 10AM-12 noon, Sun, MXN$49).

 

Important collections tell the evolution of the Mexican society from Pre-Hispanic time to nowadays.




Close by the cemetery in the Calzada del Panteón, at the very west of the city, is the Museo de las Momias, (open daily, 9AM-6PM, guided tours); it is modern but very macabre and more than one hundred well preserved mummies wait for the visitors. Despite the rather horrible atmosphere, there are always numerous curious people in the rooms. Take the bus "Momias" or "Panteón" on Avenue Juárez, the museum being located at the westbound of the city.


Panoramic view from Monument Pípila

Map of the city :

Map of Guanajuato state :

History of the state and its capital :

 

Left picture : Panoramic view from Monument Pípila

 

 


 

 


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