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.
for the link with the UNESCO site.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.....
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
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.
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.
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 !
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.
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.
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
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.
Map of the city :
Map of Guanajuato state :
History of the state and its capital :
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