LIFE AND CULTURE

The university town of Guanajuato is one of the most fascinating and rewarding destinations in Mexico. A unique blend of the old and new that marries centuries of tradition with a vibrant young population, the city’s roots go all the way back to the age of the Conquistadors, when the Spanish discovered a seven-mile seam silver under the mountains and turned Guanajuato into the most important mining town in north America. Even today, this heritage still forms a vital and unique part of Guanajuato life: to access the downtown area, you still have to drive through the winding network of tunnels the mining industry bequeathed to the city. There is simply nothing quite like arriving in Guanajuato for the very first time.

The Miguel Hidalgo tunnel (popularly known as "La Subterránea") takes you directly to Guanajuato’s main square.

Fueled by the unimaginable riches underground, the city of Guanajuato was purpose-built by its mining magnates to be one of the architectural jewels of central Mexico – practically every corner of its historic downtown area boasts spectacular buildings like the baroque Church of the Company of Jesus or the magnificent Teatro Juárez, leading UNESCO to name Guanajuato as a World Heritage Site.
Templo de la Compañía de Jesús Teatro Juárez
The city is also home to the state’s foremost and largest educational institution, the University of Guanajuato, renowned for its dizzying entrance staircase (below) and the Basilica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato, host to the oldest sculpture of the Virgin Mary in the Americas. Tens of thousands of students from all over the world flock to the city each year, making this one of the liveliest and most cosmopolitan cities in all Mexico, famed for both its educational excellence, its nightlife, and its friendliness to visitors.
University of Guanajuato Central Building The main square, Plaza de la Paz, and the Basilica de Nuestra Señora
In addition, despite its compact size, downtown Guanajuato finds room for some  20 museums and galleries, plus three indoor theaters and several outdoor performance spaces, including the town baseball stadium. Also, just ten minutes from downtown, are the State Auditorium and the Parque Bicentenario, which doubles as a museum and a concert venue.
The esplanade outside the famous Alhóndiga de Granaditas serves as a concert venue during the Cervantes International Arts Festival
Also, in recent years, the region has become a hive of activity for archaeologists. The area that now encompasses the state of Guanajuato was first settled by a people known as the Chupícuaros some 2800 years ago. They were later followed by groups collectively known as the Chichimecs, who then dominated the area until the arrival of the Spanish. As a result, the state is home to more than 1,200 recorded archeological sites (with more likely to come), four of which are now open to the public following recent painstaking restoration work: Plazuelas, Peralta, Cañada de la Virgen y El Cóporo. All four served as ceremonial centers hundreds of years before the arrival of the Spanish.
Cañada de la Virgen, Complex A, “The House of the Thirteen Heavens”

 

"La Subterránea" from the inside