Sometimes one can’t pinpoint the most apt description for a place until it’s highlighted spot-on by others. In a recent article about the city of Guanajuato, the Mexican Travel publication, “México Desconocido” aptly describes this city as sometimes appearing as one of M.C. Escher’s creations. One visit to this former silver mining giant and you will soon agree with that description after getting lost in its many twists, turns, tunnels and flat out gorgeous geometry.
There seems to be no end in sight to the bold and beautiful colors that blanket this city and its outlying areas. The silver mining is long gone here, but the riches have remained to the point that it was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. Along with this esteemed designation, the city marches on as being one of the cultural and artistic jewels of Mexico and Latin America with museums, theatres & art housed in some of the finest Baroque and Neoclassical-inspired structures found anywhere. Highlighted below is a list of sights which should be on any itinerary when visiting this lovely city.
Alhóndiga de Granaditas
Originally built as a grain storage facility, it has also served as military housing and even a prison over the years. But, it is best known as the site where Juan José Martínez or “El Pípila”, as known by many, fought for Mexico’s Independence in 1810 alongside other insurgents partial to Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. Currently, it serves as a regional museum housing art and a collection detailing the history of the state of Guanajuato.
Open Tue-Sun from 10-2pm & also from 4-6pm
Admission Price: $46 MXN
Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato
Surrounded by the manicured flowering beds of Plaza de La Paz, this religious icon has stood front and center since the mid-late 1600’s when it was fashioned in its Baroque style. Nowadays, one would be hard-pressed to overlook its stunning, ochre-splashed walls that tend to brighten the city even more on a clear day.
From this monument honoring the Independence War hero, Juan José Martínez, great panoramic views of the entire city can be enjoyed. It’s reached by foot, bus or a funicular, which is located behind Teatro Juárez.
Open daily from 8am-9pm
Admission Price: $27 MXN
The University of Guanajuato
Situated in a finely detailed Neo-classical building, this university, with a student enrollment in excess of 20,000, has been meeting the scientific and research needs of the academic community for close to three hundred years.
Templo de San Diego
Next to Teatro Juárez, this Franciscan-built church serves as the meeting place for the nightly performance of the traditional “Callejoneada” or singing student performers.
Unveiled to the public in 1903 by President Porfirio Díaz, this structure impresses the masses with its red and golden-colored Moorish-inspired interiors.
Museo de las Momias
To “stare death in the face”, takes on a new meaning at this museum on the outskirts of town. Over a 120 bodies of mummified men, women & infants are on display here. They were exhumed from the adjacent city cemetery of Santa Paula as early as 1865, and found to be well-preserved due to the ideal mineral ratios of the existing soil. Reasons for the exhumations range from the inability to pay for burials to the “space-making” needs of the cemetery.
Daily from 9am-6pm
Admission Price: $52 MXN
Callejón del Beso
Translated as “Alley of the Kiss”, this spot is a popular picture-taking area because of its extremely narrow passageway.
Plaza de la Paz
Adjacent to the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato, this setting provides an ideal spot for people-watching while dining at the numerous cafes.
Panoramic View From El Pípila
A trip to Guanajuato should include a trip to this prominent point for a grand view of the city’s layout and surrounding mountains.
Other Points of Interest
Museo Casa Diego Rivera
Museo del Pueblo de Guanajuato
Museo Iconográfico del Quijote
Jardín de la Unión
Boca Mina San Ramón
By Air: Nearest airport is Del Bajio (BJX)
By Bus: 4 1/2 hours from Mexico City’s North Terminal