Guanajuato, capital of the State of Guanajuato and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
“Guanajuato” from Púrhépecha Quanaxhuato or Guanaxhuata – “place of frogs”
Altitude 2,084 m. / 6837.27 ft.
The historic center has hundreds of narrow cobblestone, plazas, cafés, museums, theaters, markets and historic buildings. With Neo-classical and baroque style colonial architecture, the city has an underground network of tunnels to control the flow of traffic.
The Callejón del Beso – Alley of the Kiss – an alleyway so narrow that couples can kiss from opposite balconies, the famous walking serenades – callejoneadas, the annual Cervantino Festival of performing arts, a museum dedicated to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, the Teatro Cervantes and many more are the main tourist spots. The University of Guanajuato opened in the 18th. C. as a Jesuit school for children is one of the oldest universities in Latin America and was originally founded as the Hospice of Holy Trinity. It became property of the State of Guanajuato in 1828.
In 1548 the Spanish had settled in the region and by 1529 silver was discover in Guanaxhuata (Place of Frogs). Four fortified structures were erected to protect the site and that was the beginning of the city.
Guanajuato became the world’s leading silver mining city and home to La Valenciana mine, one of the richest and most productive silver mines in the world. The adjacent San Cayetano Church stands as a monument to the wealth extracted from the mine. A 600 m. mine-shaft called the Inferno’s Mouth can be visited.
Subterranean streets, Baroque and Neo-classical buildings, wealthy churches in the Churrigueresque style heavily ornamented with gold were constructed while the peasants were starving.
By the 18th. C. Guanajuato had major hydraulic works. La Compañía (1745-65) and La Valenciana Church (1765-88) are masterpieces of the Mexican Churrigueresque style.
|Ruta de la Independencia – Independence Route|
Ruta de la Independencia – Independence Route
The route retraces the path where the insurgent army under the Priest Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla passed at the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence; San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, León, Irapuato, Pénjamo, Salamanca, Celaya, Salvatierra and Acámbaro.
Adventure Route – Ruta de la Aventura
This route connects ghost towns and abandoned mines with areas for hiking, mountain biking, ATV and paragliding. Mineral de Pozos town where many houses are abandoned. The town is having a comeback with the retired Americans and Canadians from the nearby San Miguel de Allende. Ciudad Porfirio Díaz, now known as Pozos, reached it height during the late 19th and early 20th centuries but the population left when the mines stopped producing. In 1982 the town was declared a Historic Monument Zone. The Santa Brígida mine is located outside the town and has three large ovens with tall pyramid roofs that were constructed by the Jesuits to work ore.
The Archeological Route – Ruta Arqueológica
This route links the sites of Plazuelas and Peralta, La Virgen de la Cañada in San Miguel de Allende and El Cóporo in Ocampo.
The Monastery Route – Ruta de los Conventos
Located in the south of the state it has large religious complexes that were built in the early colonial period for evangelization purposes.
In Yuriria; San Agustín de Yuriria Convent, founded by the Augustinians in 1550 is a monumental fortress.
In Salvatierra; Las Capucinas Church and Convent was built as a fortress for the nuns.
In Acámbaro the Baroque style San Francisco Church and Monastery was built in 1734.
The Handicrafts Route – Ruta Artesanal
This route connects different sites, handicrafts and food. Acámbaro, noted for its bread, Coroneo for its wool items and Tarancuaro for ceramics.
Guanajuato is home of thermal springs; El Trébol, Villa Gasco and Comanjilla near León, Caldera Abasolo near Irapuato and Abasolo, Los Arcos and Agua Caliente near Celaya.
Guanajuato is best known for the annual Festival Internacional Cervantino which takes place in October and sponsors a large number of artistic and cultural events with artists invited from all the world; Opera, Concerts, Dance, theater productions, film showings, art exhibitions, etc.. Named in honor of Don Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote.
The Festival International Cervantino Callejero and the Festival Internacional de Cine Expresión en Corto are also well known around the world.The showing of films is sometimes in unusual locations such as one of Guanajuato’s tunnels under the city or in the municipal cemetery at midnight.
Diego Rivera was born in the city of Guanajuato and later moved to Mexico City and became one of the most famous muralists in México.
José Chávez Morado, a prolific painter, lived and worked in the city of Guanajuato. Influenced by José Clemente Orozco, between 1955 and 1967, he realized works in the National University and the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes in México City and Alhóndiga de Granaditas in Guanajuato.
Olga Costa (Kostakowsky), born in Germany moved to México when she was very young. Married to José Chávez Morado and friends with Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo and Carlos Mérida, founded the Galería Espiral and co-founded the Sociedad de Arte Moderno and the Salon de Plástica Mexicana.
The languages spoken in Guanajuato are Chichimeca Jonaz, Otomí and Náhuatl. The two most important indigenous groups are the Chichimeca Jonaz and the Otomí, culturally both groups show significant Purhépecha influence and are extremely poor. Long before the arrival of the Spaniards, there were a number Náhua who built cities in the first millennium CE. but then abandoned the area.
The Chupícuarios were the oldest group to inhabit the area between 800 BCE and 300 CE in what now are the states of Zacatecas, Querétaro, Colima, Nayarit, Hidalgo, State of Mexico, Michoacán and Guerrero. They were associated with the Toltec city of Tula and between the 10th and 11th. C. only the Guamares were left in the area. After that, the Chichimeca who belonged to different groups such as the Guachichiles, Pames and Zacatecos established the area. The Otomí was the other group in the area but were dominated by the Purhépecha and the Chichimeca.
The Spaniards led by Cristóbal de Olidarrived arrived in 1522 to the Yuririhapúndaro and Pénjamo areas and with the discovery of silver and gold in the area the Spaniards needed workers. The native tribes retreated to the mountains resisting the invaders. Many of the men were killed and the women were raped, some of the men that were more passive were used as slaves in the mines. But, the Spanish had to bring indigenous peoples from other parts of Mexico and African slaves to work the mines and haciendas.
In 1555 San Miguel el Grande, now San Miguel de Allende was founded to protect the roads linking mining camps and cities with Mexico City.
In 1576 the Villa de León, now León, was founded
In 1590, the Villa de San Luis de la Paz was founded named after the peace (paz) treaty between the Spanish and the Chichimeca.
18th century while the locals were marginalized and extremely poor, the Spaniards were living in luxury.
The Bajío area was extremely fertile and became a major agricultural area for New Spain.
In 1766, a group attacked the Caja Real in Guanajauto to protest high taxes.
In 1767 there were protests against the expulsion of the Jesuits by the Spanish Crown.
In 1809 a group consisting of the priest Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, Miguel Domínguez and others began to plan an armed revolt against the colonial government.
In 1810, the plot was discovered and Hidalgo decided to put their plans into action in September.
On September 15, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla declared the Grito de Dolores in the town of Dolores (Hidalgo). Hidalgo stops at the Sanctuary of Atotonilco and takes an image of the Virgin as his banner and inscribed: “Long live religion! Long live our most Holy Mother of Guadalupe! Long live Ferdinand VII! Long live America and death to bad government!”
San Miguel and Celaya were captured with little resistance and on September 21, 1810 Hidalgo was proclaimed general. On September 28, 1810 Hidalgo arrived to Guanajuato. The town’s Spanish and Criollo (Spanish and Indigenous) populations took refuge in the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, a fortified granary. In two days 400 – 600 men, women and children were killed.
On July 8, 1821 the city declared the entire state independent of Spanish rule.
In 1824, Guanajuato was officially proclaimed a state of Mexico by the Constitutional Congress of Mexico.
In 1847, fight against the U.S. invasion of Mexico.
In 1858, the government under President Benito Juárez moved from Mexico City to Guanajuato before moving again to Manzanillo and then Veracruz.
In 1863, Guanajuato was taken over by the French as they installed Maximilian I as emperor of Mexico. Maximillian did not reign long but the governor he appointed for Guanajuato, Florencio Antillón remained in Guanajuato until 1877.
In the 19th. C. the president Porfirio Díaz installed Francisco Mena as governor of the state, who made a fortune through the concession of railway lines.
Slavery was officially abolished during the War of Independence but most laborers in mines and farms were underpaid or not paid at all.
After the end of the Mexican Revolution, fighting in Mexico continued with the Cristero War.
In 1946, an uprising against the government by a group called the Sinarquistas occurred in Leon.
Wheat, corn, sorghum, alfalfa, strawberries in Irapuato and goats in various parts. Goat milk cajeta candy from Celaya is known in most of Mexico.
In 1972 the first Internacional Cervantino Festival.
In 1980s Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende were declared World Heritage Sites.
Chichimeca-Jonaz or “uza” (singular) or “ézar” (plural), “Indio”
Their language is related to the Oto-Pamean – Otomí. They settled in the municipality of San Luis de la Paz, in the community of Rancho Uza or Mision Chichimeca. While Catholic, they still follow the cycles of nature, planting and harvesting and lunar cycles. Their spirit guides are the water and the eagle.
In the municipality of Tierra Blanca the modern Otomí live in the community of Cieneguilla. The Otomí speak an Oto-Pamean language. The Aztecs considered them as barbaric.
Today, the Bajío (lower land) is one of the major grain producing regions in Mexico however the indigenous people are still extremely poor.