|1988||Inscribed||Reasons for inscription|Juan (U.S.A.):
Have a cappuccino on a balcony by El Callejon del Beso while the song birds are twittering. Guanajuato is a beautiful Mexican jewel that has always stuck with me after all these years. Most definately worth a visit. Go!
Date posted: August 2008 Paul Tanner (UK):
If it is another day in Central Mexico it must be yet another run-of-the-mill UNESCO-inscribed colonial “Centro Historico” – Mexico really has gone overboard in inscribing its colonial towns! But no, this isn’t just any Centro Historico – this is Guanajuato; a town which stands head and shoulders above its fellow Mexican Colonial WHS for interest. If you visit only one – then choose Guanajuato!
Yes, it is rather touristy – though mainly with Mexicans themselves which, to an outsider, adds a degree of interest to the crowds. Indeed, thinking about it, we are probably attracted to the city over others just because it is SO Mexican!
If you are travelling by self-drive car as we were, the arrival can be a bit of a surprise! Suddenly, as you reach the town centre, set deep in a ravine, there is nowhere for the road to go and it dives underground beneath the houses into a long one-way tunnel and, after various twists and turns, comes up a few minutes later God knows where! We consult our guidebooks and note that the map of one of them (obviously for walkers!) states “subterranean roads not shown”. The town is indeed 2 worlds “road-wise” – above, a colonial city of narrow winding streets, stairways and pleasant piazzas, deep-green manicured trees and tinkling fountains, whilst below, a labyrinth of narrow roadways – I have read that driving a car there is “an experience somewhat like zooming around in the Batcave” – not far wrong! Although some of them are relatively new, the original tunnels were created in the mining days to divert the river which often flooded city and mines. The, much later, building of a new dam freed them for use as ready made by-passes and enabled large parts of the otherwise impossibly crowded town to be made traffic free!
This city, built on gold and silver, was for many years the wealthiest in Mexico. It lacks buildings from the very earliest colonial periods but provides a rich vein of architecture from the 18th through to the start of the 20th century – houses, mansions, churches, theatres, markets. The Juarez theatre, dating from1903 (photo 1), looks as if it should be in a major European city. And always, as you look upwards, the hillsides crowd in, full of multi-coloured houses. In the evening the central Jardin de la Union comes alive with locals and tourists and offers an oompah band and mariachi players. We are not great ones for “niche” museums but Guanajuato has its full share, covering the standard historical matters and other subjects as varied as “Mummies” and Diego Rivera. If you aren’t “churched out” from all the other Mexican colonial towns, monasteries etc there are some fine churches too – particularly La Valenciana a few kms up and out of town. If you have a car (I understand there is also a bus), carry on around the “Panoramica” whilst you are up there and stop off at the Pipila viewpoint where you can look down almost vertically onto the town center (photo 2). If you aren’t mobile you can walk or take the funicular. All in all a great place for wandering, relaxing, sightseeing, people watching, museum visiting, praying, eating/drinking, traditional music listening, art viewing, souvenir shopping etc etc - whatever you want from a town it would seem that Guanajuato could provide it! Amazing variety in a town of only around 80,000 people!
I agree very much with the forementioned review of Mr Zema. Guanajuato (though hard to pronounce at first) has made an unforgettable impression on me. I recommend everyone visiting Mexico to go there!
Ingemar Eriksson (Sweden):
I support the opinons of Mr Zema. I only had a day there together with Mexican friends but have lots of photos and memories. Really interesting town.
Date posted: January 2006 Ralph Zema (USA):
On the last day of our trip to Guanajuato, we went to an Italian restuarant that overlooks the city. As with many sites in Guanajuato, it took some climbing to get there. Our efforts were well rewarded, however: the city glittered with lights and the classic architecture of its churches and the university were ablaze. Bells rang out and we realized that Guanajuato is as magical a place as Venice. It embodies that wonderful combination of Latin and indigeneous cultures that is Mexico. The people are extraordinarily hospitable in Guanajuato and they seem justifiable proud of their unique city. Visit all the churches, the museums, the markets, the plazas and get lost in the alleyways. And don't miss Diego Rivera's home or the unforgettable panorama from El Pipila. You will remember Guanajuato.
James Taylor (USA):
I found Guanajuato to be a fascinating and beautiful city. The classic colonial churches have impressive domes and breathtakingly intricate facades. The weather (in summertime) was just about perfect. For details on my trip to Guanajuato and central Mexico, you can go to my web pages, starting at www.geocities.com/ucsb1990/mexico.html
Have you been to Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines ? Share your experiences!