Completed in 1809, the “Alhóndiga de Granaditas” is one of the largest and most interesting of Guanajuato’s historic secular buildings.
Built as a granary and also serving for a spell as a marketplace, the building was used by the Spanish and their loyalist allies as a fortress that was overrun by troops led by Miguel Hidalgo in the first defeat for the colonialists who had ruled Mexico for centuries.
One of the most epic stories of the Mexican War of Independence took place at the Alhóndiga and is starred by “El Pípila”, the nickname of a local (and national) hero of the city of Guanajuato. His real name was Juan José de los Reyes Martínez Amaro (1782–1863), but he made it to the history books as “El Pípila”.
El Pípila, became famous for an act of heroism near the very beginning of the Mexican War of Independence, on 28 September 1810. When the Spanish barricaded themselves–along with plenty of silver and other riches–in a grain warehouse known as the “Alhóndiga de Granaditas”, he tied a flat stone to his back to protect him from the muskets of the Spanish troops, and carried tar and a torch to the door of the Alhóndiga and set it on fire.
Today, a stone monument of El Pípila holding aloft a flaming torch, overlooks the city from a nearby hillside park accessible by a funicular railway.
The “Alhóndiga de Granaditas” now serves as the home of the Guanajuato Regional Museum with its displays relating to the battle, as well as the eventual execution of Hidalgo when his head and those of his compatriots were placed atop the building for all to see.
In addition to its displays of colonial era artifacts, the museum also has a large collection of Pre-Columbian materials.
Address: Mendizábal 6, Centro, 36000 Guanajuato, GTO