Published On: Sat, Oct 20th, 2018

Guanajuato: Mexico’s Colonial Highlands Jewel

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Believe it or not, many foreigners come to San Miguel, they actually know their way around town better than many locals, but they have never been to Guanajuato City! So, if that’s your case, we recommend you to check out this brief article about the state capital.

Guanajuato is a city in Mexico’s Colonial Highlands and is the capital of the state of Guanajuato. The city is known for its magnificent Spanish-colonial architecture (it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988) and for its many cultural activities, most notably the annual International Cervantes Festival, one of Latin America’s largest and most prestigious performing arts festivals.



Founded in 1548, Guanajuato was one of the most important cities in Mexico during the colonial era (the 16th through 18th centuries). Veritable rivers of gold and silver were mined in the mountains around Guanajuato and shipped to Spain. By the 18th century, Guanajuato was the leading center of silver mining in the world, and was fabulously wealthy. Today we can thank that wealth for the spectacular churches and public buildings that grace the historic center.

During Mexico’s war of independence from Spain (1810-1821), the city of Guanajuato was the site of Mexico’s first major victory against the Spanish. The war of independence itself was launched from Dolores Hidalgo, a small town less than 23 miles from Guanajuato. For these reasons, Guanajuato is a major tourist destination for Mexicans.

Guanajuato capital

The city lies in a long, narrow valley. Streets are winding, and many are pedestrian-only, stair-stepped passages that climb up the hillsides. Guanajuato’s brightly painted homes also climb up the hillsides above the center. Many major thoroughfares in the city center are actually underground tunnels.




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