Guanajuato City, Mexico

The view of Guanajuato from high on the hill. I really enjoyed this town and if I come back to Mexico to teach again, I would strongly consider this city.

Easter weekend, we visited the city of Guanajuato, the capital of the state of Guanajuato. It’s beautiful and there is lots to do there. If I come back to Mexico, this is a city I will strongly consider.

Dinner outside with the family in one of the town squares. Left to right: Hugo, Ivan Jr., Meliza’s father, Meliza and Ivan Sr. The weather was perfect, though there was a brief shower.

Guanajuato was the site of the first battle of the Mexican War of Independence between insurgent and royalist troops at the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, which you’ll see below. The city was named a World Heritage Site in 1988.

There’s lots of history here. According to Wikipedia” “The Alhóndiga de Granaditas (Regional Museum of Guanajuato) (public granary) is an old grain storage building in Guanajuato City, Mexico. This historic building was created to replace an old granary near the city’s river. The name translates roughly from both Arabic and Spanish as grain market or warehouse. Its construction lasted from 1798 to 1809, by orders of Juan Antonio de Riaño y Bárcena, a Spaniard who was the quartermaster of the city during the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The building received World Heritage listing as part of the Historic Town of Guanajuato in 1988.”

The family from the base of the statue, El Pípila. This is a great hero of Mexican independence.

According to Wikipedia: “El Pípila is the nickname of a local hero of the city of Guanajuato in Mexico. His real name was Juan José de los Reyes Martínez Amaro (1782–1863), son of Pedro Martínez and María Rufina Amaro. Word for a hen turkey, it is said his nickname stands for his freckled face (similar to that of a turkey egg) or his laughter resembling the bird’s peculiar gargle.”

“Pípila, became famous for an act of heroism near the very beginning of the Mexican War of Independence, on 28 September 1810. The insurrection had begun in the nearby town of Dolores, led by Miguel Hidalgo, a criollo priest born in Pénjamo. He soon moved to the city of Guanajuato, Guanajuato, where the Spanish barricaded themselves–along with plenty of silver and other riches–in a grain warehouse known as the Alhóndiga de Granaditas. The granary was a stone fortress with high stone walls, but its wooden door proved to be a shortcoming.
With a long, flat stone tied to his back to protect him from the muskets of the Spanish troops, Pípila carried tar and a torch to the door of the Alhóndiga and set it on fire. The insurgents–who far outnumbered the Spanish in the warehouse–stormed inside and killed all the soldiers and the civil Spanish refugees. Some accounts say that Pípila was not alone but went accompanied by other indigenous miners ready to fight for their freedom from the Spanish, but as the story is told today in Guanajuato, Pípila stood alone to break through the door.”

The view from El Pipila.
From Wikipedia: “The stone monument of a muscular man, holding aloft a flaming torch, towers on a hill at the edge of the city. Visitors can ride on a funicular to and from the monument, or they can walk up one of several steep stairways to the top. At the base of the monument, a series of broad stone plazas provides plenty of space for the numerous camera-carrying tourists and young lovers. From the foot of the monument, they have a fantastic view of the whole city of Guanajuato.”

If you look at the top of the mountain in the distance, you can see the statue of El Pipila. Below, you see an entrance to one of the many tunnels below the city.
This was Easter Sunday.
As you can see, the city is in a valley, but has extended up the sides of the nearby mountains.
Lots of street commerce, but I really enjoyed the street performers and the many folks dressed in costume. It was very busy, but then this was Easter weekend. I wonder if there’s much going on during a normal weekend?
This city is a rabbit warren of intersecting tunnels, plazas, circles and narrow streets. With the mountains, there’s no grid pattern. Learning to get around would be difficult.
The entrance to the Universidad de Guanajuato. According to Wikipedia: “The Universidad de Guanajuato (in English, the University of Guanajuato) is a university based in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, made up of about 33,828 students in programs ranging from high school level to the doctorate level. Over 17,046 of those are pursuing undergraduate, masters, and doctorate degrees. The university offers 153 academic programs, including 13 doctorates, 39 masters programs, and 65 bachelor’s degrees. The university has schools in fourteen cities throughout the state of Guanajuato.”

In front of the University.
So many balconies and plants.
Much better signage than most Mexican cities, particularly considering this isn’t quite as touristy as Mexico City or San Miguel de Allende. There’s lots to see and we only had about 24 hours.
This is the Templo de la Compania. According to a sign in front: “It is said that the miners worked day and night to complete the building. The Church of the Company of Jesus was one of the largest constructions by the Jesuit order of New Spain. The Jesuits first sited a hospice here in 1732, while building on the church began in 1742 and was completed in 1765.
The project was overseen by the Bethlehemite friar Jose de la Cruz. The design is centered on a single tower which the mater of works, Felipe de Urena subsequently decorated with its present facade in the ornate Currigueresque style consisting of three doors and a series of niches for Jesuit saints. A large part of the building’s atrium, which served as a cemetery, was lost in the 19th century.”

We stayed in a Holiday Inn, way too expensive, but very nice. This is the view of the pool from the 5th floor.
….and a view of the dining area. Breakfast was included and was quite good. The hotel was quite a ways from the downtown area, so if I’d been alone, I’d have never stayed here. It’s OK if you have a car, but parking is pricey downtown, too.

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I'm a professional vagabond. I quit my cubical job in January 2014. Since then, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Camino, and taught English in Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Mexico and Peru. I'm exploring the world and you can come too!

3 thoughts on “Guanajuato City, Mexico”

  1. I’m getting closer to being able to travel Beth! Love hearing about your adventures, maybe one day we can meet up for a shared adventure!! 😊

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