Central Mexico is best known for its beautiful colonial cities and amazing food. We found all of this was on full display in Guanajuato City. Located in the mountains far from the resorts and beaches, this would become our introduction to the colonial heartland of Mexico. Guanajuato was the first stop on our recent adventure through Central Mexico. The region was made rich by the silver boom, back when Mexico was still a colony of Spain. Today this beautiful town is painted in bright colours and the surrounding hills allow for some great views of the architecture from above.
We came here to sample the incredible history, food and culture of the real Mexico. Guanajuato is also the name of the state, which it shares with the capital city. Guanajuato City is located near the boundary where the dry north meets the lush south, which meant it wasn’t always destined to become a major destination. The region was first explored by the Spanish in the early 1500s, and the discovery of silver in the area in the 1520s and 30s meant that Guanajuato would quickly expand. The city grew prosperous from the riches of the mine and it grew in stature.
The height of this mining period was during the 18th century, when many of the city’s most notable civic and religious buildings were built. Guanajuato was one of the 12 regions of New Spain, but the wealth that the mines produced was mostly shared by a few European born Spanish who fought to stay in power. The Spanish had fought the local native populations in the 1500s and had to put down many uprisings in the late 1700s.
Guanajuato would soon be at the center of the Mexican War of Independence. In September of 1810, insurgents fought against the Spanish rulers at the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, eventually sacking the city and killing everyone inside. It was just the start of the revolution. After many years of fighting, the Empire of Mexico was born in 1821.
Today, the city is full of artists and students, making it a lively place at all times during the day. There are many great museums around town, including the above mentioned Alhóndiga de Granaditas, which now the Regional Museum of Guanajuato. It is also the birthplace of one of the country’s most famous artists, Diego Riviera, who’s family home has been transformed into a museum.
They have a yearly festival called the Cervantino, which celebrates the city’s history and art in the city. This is the 47th year of the festival and the featured country this year was Canada. We were lucky to be here for the first couple days of this years event. There were many events throughout the city, such as art shows and live music.
While we only had a few days here to explore this lovely city, we quickly fell in love and would definitely come back to visit again. We hope you enjoy these colourful pictures from around Guanajuato. We have lots of pictures from our trip still to come, and in the next few weeks we will be sharing more pictures from around the city, including the Museum of the Mommies and the Mina la Valenciana. Soon after this, we will move on to San Miguel de Allende, which was the next stop on our trip through Central Mexico.
We hope you enjoy!