This city is located in the center of Mexico and is the capital of the state of the same name. Guanajuato means “Place of Frogs” in the local indigenous language. This is a beautiful mountain colonial town which used to be a major silver mining town and many of the mines are still in fact active. Considered by many to be the most beautiful city in Mexico, it has a network of underground tunnels serving as roads and boasts a wealth of fine colonial era Spanish architecture. There are a huge number of landmarks to visit as well as several mines which are obviously a huge part of the city’s history. In addition to this, there are a host of museums for those more interested in the cultural visits. You are guaranteed great weather here with temperatures well over 68°F (20°C) all year round so it is ideal if you’re coming to enjoy the sun and visit the majestic sights.
The Jardín Unión is located directly opposite the Teatro Juarez and is a beautiful place to relax, with its large trees that provide a cool shade. This plaza is surrounded by restaurants and musicians who enliven the environment, and on weekends there is banda music starting at 7:00 p.m. During colonial times, this square was called the Plaza de San Diego, so named for the church of the same name that is next to the Teatro Juarez. Here there also used to be a market, bullfights and other town celebrations.
The Teatro Juarez (Juarez Theater) is considered to be one of the most beautiful theaters in all of Mexico. Since its inauguration by General Porfirio Diaz in 1903, it has been the center and venue for most of the important artistic events in the city of Guanajuato and the entire region. The maximum capacity of the theater can hold 902 people and the design style was inspired by stories of ancient Rome and Greece with the roof crowned with eight large bronze statues representing the nine muses of Greek mythology.
Guanajuato, since the early years of the Spanish colonization of Mexico, has always been a center of education and study. Guanajuato is a young lively city that has a vibrant social atmosphere and these characteristics originated from the large student population which attends the renowned university. Visitors who pass the main university building are often stunned by the 133 steps leading to the main entrance, but luckily for the students this is rarely used and there are other entrances.
To escape Guanajuato's bustling streets, head 2.5km west to this magnificent colonial home which is now a museum with tranquil and stunning gardens. There are seventeen gardens across three acres of land and the actual house, gardens, and museum are beautifully preserved. Each garden has its own style such as the Roman Garden, Oriental Garden, Italian Garden, etc. Built at the end of the 17th century, this was the grand hacienda of Captain Gabriel de Barrera, whose family was descended from the first Conde de Rul of the famous La Valenciana mine. Opened as a museum in 1979, the hacienda, with its opulent period European furnishings, provides an insight into the lives of the wealthy of the time.
The statue of El Pipila stands high above Guanajuato and commemorates the hero of the city. His brave actions achieved the first victory of the Mexican independence struggle and he has become a folk hero ever since. The El Pipila Monument on the best vantage point of the city which provides tourists excellent panoramic views of the city. In front of the statue is a wide viewing platform which looks over the entire historic center of Guanajuato.
“Cristo Rey del Cubilete” in Guanajuato state is a massive statue of Christ that stands atop the highest mountain of the region. The 22m statue marks the very centre of Mexico and its positioning 1,000m above the surrounding plains makes the statue a prominent landmark amidst the arid landscape. “Cristo Rey” of Guanajuato is a recommended tourist attraction, offering visitors wonderful panoramic views over the region, a uniquely styled chapel and the opportunity to see the statue in close detail.
Of the 23 churches or religious buildings in the relatively small area of central Guanajuato the Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato or more simple the Guanajuato Basilica is both the most visually striking and historically important. The Basilica is on the Plaza de la Paz (Plaza of Peace) the main square of Guanajuato. The Basilica of Guanajuato is located at the heart of Guanajuato both centrally, historically and religiously. The Basilica is dedicated to Our Lady of Guanajuato (Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato) who is the patron saint and protector of the city.
Diego Rivera is one of Mexico’s most prominent artists who painted spectacular murals. Originally these were considered highly controversial but now are regarded as some of modern Central American’s greatest art. It is fitting that the home and birth place of Guanajuato’s most famous son has been converted into a museum displaying some of his lesser paintings and restoring the house to re-create it as it was at the time of his birth.
Guanajuato has many small streets and alleys but the El Callejon del Beso is by far the narrowest alley in the city. El Callejon del Beso translated into English means "Alley of the Kiss" and, is in part, due to the closeness of the upper windows and balconies, so close that lovers could share kisses across the narrow alley. The alley of the kiss has a superstition associated to it thanks to a tragic love story of two unfortunate young lovers. For visiting young couples there is a 15 year guarantee of happiness in their relationship if the couple kisses on the third step of the alley.
The Church of San Cayetano de La Valenciana is rightly considered the most beautiful in the region. The Church of San Cayetano and its adjoining convent were born with the rise of the mine called La Valenciana, a main silver vein requiring large amounts of manpower to form a village. The main and lateral façades in pink freestone are magnificently wrought. Inside, the three sumptuous gold-leaf churrigueresque reredos - a riot of baldaquins and pilasters - are among the most magnificent in the country.
Originally built to house a train station, the impressive Hidalgo Market is housed within a classical iron structure, which dates from the final stages of the industrial era. The market is a chaotic collection of market stalls, selling a wide range of items and a fantastic place for visitors to haggle for gifts. Miguel Hidalgo, which the market is named after, was a Mexican priest who along with three others, instigated the first victory in the Mexican War of Independence, the storming of the “Alhóndiga de Granaditas”, which stands across the road from the market.
When curiosity prevails a visitor can be subjected to what is possibly one of the most unique museums in the world. Be warned: the Guanajuato Mummies Museum may not be a family orientated attraction with some of the mummies having distressed expressions while others are downright ghastly. The entrance costs 50 pesos and the museum is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm daily. Inside, visitors pass through three major rooms where the mummies are lined up like works of art and attached to each mummy is a description of the person.