Guanajuato

Overview

Introduction

Located about 220 mi/350 km northwest of Mexico City and founded in the mid-1500s, Guanajuato was one of the first strongholds of Spanish culture in Mexico.

Today, it's a beautiful colonial-style state capital and university town. Revenue from silver mining financed its superb architecture, which has a distinct colonial Spanish flavor. Despite having far more museums and cultural performances than nearby San Miguel de Allende, this UNESCO World Heritage city gets relatively few foreign tourists in comparison.

The center of town is at the bottom of a steep canyon, so the streets are winding and best explored on foot. Be sure to see Callejon del Beso (Street of the Kiss), which is so narrow that two people can kiss by leaning out the windows of facing buildings. Vehicles are prohibited from most of the center and instead move through the Subterraneo, a series of underground streets that replaced an old flood prevention system. Over time the web of these tunnels has expanded, leaving the center to two narrow streets of buses, delivery trucks and slow-moving cars. A funicular cable car takes visitors up to a huge statue of an independence movement hero, El Pipila, where there is a panoramic viewpoint. You can walk back down to experience the daily life of the residents with houses on these alleys.

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