There are several reasons why a visit to Guanajuato Mexico can make for a rewarding travel experience. These reasons include the city’s rich history and its splendid colonial era architecture. Guanajuato was founded by the Spanish in 1559, and it soon developed into a major mining town. In fact, it didn’t take long for the city to become world-famous for its mines, and the wealth that these mines created led to the building of numerous churches and mansions. Many of the colonial era structures survived the test of time quite well, and today, Guanajuato is considered to be one of Mexico’s best colonial cities. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
Guanajuato is the capital city of the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Centrally located, it sits in a narrow valley approximately 220 miles northwest of Mexico City and 175 miles southeast of Zacatecas. Surrounding mountains add to the picturesque nature of the city, and all things considered, it is a wonderful place to enjoy walking tours. Many of the buildings in the city have an asymmetrical or irregular shape, the result of which is actually very visually appealing, and it is delightful to take it all in while walking along narrow and winding city streets. Many of the Guanajuato streets are actually too narrow for cars, and this contributes to the city’s rather European flavor.
There wasn’t much to the Guanajuato Mexico area until the mines were founded. These mines made the city one of the most powerful in all of New Spain, and they were also largely responsible for its wonderful colonial era architecture. Some of the New World’s best examples of the baroque and churrigueresque architectural styles are found in Guanajuato, with the Church of San Cayetano being of particular interest. Also known as the Valenciana Church, this baroque gem is among the various attractions that can be found near the old La Valenciana mine. Other Guanajuato architectural highlights include the Cata Church, the La Compania Church, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato Basilica.
One of the things that Guanajuato Mexico is famous for is its role in the Mexican War of Independence. The famous leader of the Mexican revolt, Miguel Hidalgo, marched into the area with his soldiers in September 1810, and the nearby town of Dolores served as the site where the first revolutionary battle cry broke out. After this battle decree, the army marched on to what is now San Miguel de Allende before arriving in Guanajuato, where they overtook a granary building. This building is known as the Alhondiga de Granaditas, and it still stands today. In fact, it is now a museum. Also of interest in relation to the Mexican War of Independence is the large statue of El Pipila that overlooks Guanajuato. El Pipila, or Juan Jose de los Reyes Martinez, as was his actual name, was a miner who became a local hero for the part that he played in capturing the granary building.
No discussion about Guanajuato Mexico would be complete without mentioning that it is the birthplace of Diego Rivera. One of the most famous artists to ever come out of Mexico, Rivera lived between the years of 1886 and 1957 and is best known for his murals. The actual house that the painter was born in has been converted into a museum, and among the things that are on display are some of Rivera’s earliest works. He actually began painting when he was just ten years old.
Visiting a museum that is dedicated to mummies and checking out the interesting cemetery that is next to this cemetery are just two more ideas for things to do in Guanajuato Mexico. Other ways to keep busy during a visit to this delightful city include taking a tour of an area mine, stopping at the interesting town museum near the Plaza de la Paz, and shopping at the Mercado Hidalgo. Also worth highlighting is the annual Festival Internacional Cervantino (International Cervantes Festival). Held over the course of three weeks in October, this renowned festival takes place throughout the state of Guanajuato and attracts people from all over the world. Plazas and theaters play host to many of the different festival events, and you can bet that the Guanajuato hotels fill up fast during this time of the year.
The rates at the Guanajuato hotels go up during the Festival Internacional Cervantino. Visitors can also expect to pay more for a hotel room around Christmas and Easter, not to mention the popular tourist months of July and August. As for Guanajuato hotel recommendations, it is hard to top the Casa Estrella de la Valenciana or the Quinta Las Acacias. On the more affordable side of things, the inviting Hotel Antiguo Vapor can be a good place to start. The well-situated Hotel Posada Santa Fe also offers plenty of quality for the price. Travelers who wish to spend even less on their Guanajuato accommodations are encouraged to consider the Hotel El Minero.