A March 2005 trip
to Guanajuato by Coach Bear
Quote: One of the most pleasant cities that I have visited in recent years is Guanajuato, Mexico. I found the city to be intriguing in its beauty and history.
Upon our arrival, my friends and I were seated and treated as though we were the most important people in the entire city. And that evening, we thought we were. The majority of the food on the menu was local Mexican fare. It did not include tacos, burritos, and other foods from the southern United States, but served traditional foods cooked in the Central-Mexican tradition. I ate the beef tips in the Chipotle sauce, although I was envious of my friend who had the meats served in the molcajete.
As the evening progressed, we were offered the opportunity to be serenaded by a local mariachi band. As they went on to the next stop in the plazuela, a performer began playing his guitar and singing in the inside lounge. What a romantic evening it would have been, if only my wife could have joined me! I am rarely lonely when I am in Mexico, but that evening, in that setting...
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 28, 2005
Conde de la Valenciana
Carr. Guanajuato-Dolores Hidalgo Km 5
Attraction | "Pipila"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 27, 2005
Pipila - The view from the top
A window in Doña Carmen's home went onto an alley so narrow that it was possible, leaning out the window, to touch the wall on the other side with a hand. By using all of his fortune, Don Luis was able to buy the house across the alley.
When the maiden went out on her balcony that evening, she was able to see her lover. Seeing what happened, the father pushed into the girl’s room, and with dagger in hand and a single blow, he plunged it into his daughter’s breast. Don Luis was shocked into silence. Doña Carmen's hand, still in his, slowly went cold. Don Luis left a tender kiss on that smooth, pale hand, now lifeless.
This is the spot where that famous incident occurred. Every visitor to Guanajuato should find this spot and view it. There is no charge for entrance, but it is so popular that you may need to wait in line for 15 to 30 minutes to visit the alley.
Callejon del Beso
Callejon del Beso
The entire shrine was destroyed by the government early in the 20th century because the president at that time believed that the Church had more power than he. However, donations from the local peasants helped to fund the rebuilding of the shrine. You will be able to see the attitude of the people of this wonderful area. They believe that honor should go to God and the best should be given him, even though they are in poverty. All of this is reflected in the ostentatious surroundings of Cristo Rey.
Cerro del Cubilete
Father Miguel Hidalgo of the nearby city of Dolores was the spokesman who proclaimed Mexico's Independence. Almost immediately, the citizens of Guanajuato lay siege to this building and its garrison of Spanish soldiers. A local miner, now known as Pipila, martyred himself to help the citizens gain entry into the building. This was the first major battle in the war of Independence.
Now, the Alhondiga serves as a museum. It houses many historical documents from the time of the war for independence, from the years in which Guanajuato served as the capital of the country, and other artifacts. The museum is now open to the public from 10am to 1:30pm and 4 to 5:30pm Tuesday through Saturday, and from 10am-2:30pm on Sunday. There is a nominal fee of $5 pesos for entrance.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2005
Alhondiga de Granaditas
In its beginnings, the festival was devoted mainly to artistic creation in the Spanish language, in homage to Miguel de Cervantes. In the course of time, the universal scope of the influence of Cervantes gradually took the form of the vast variety of artistic and cultural expressions included in the festival today. Each year, representatives from one country of the world and one state of Mexico receive a special invitation to perform their local interpretations of the arts.
The year 2005 is special, as it marks the 400th anniversary of Don Quixote. Artists from Japan and the Mexican state of Yucatan will be prominent in the display of their artistry. In 2006, the UK will be the world representative. I have not seen an announcement of the Mexican state representative.
The festival takes place in many locations throughout the city of Guanajuato. It can be seen in the streets, the restaurants, the shops, and other locations. However, most of the major productions can be seen in nightly productions at the Teatro Juarez, a 100-year-old building in the artistic area of the city. The population of the city more than doubles during the time of the festival, with over 150,000 people roaming the streets. Over 50,000 tickets are sold in August, prior to the beginning of the event. Prices of the major productions at the Teatro Juarez range from a low of 15 pesos (about $1.50 USD) to 250 pesos ($25 USD).
I urge all of the readers to travel to this outstanding city and to find a way to see these unequaled artistic endeavors.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 20, 2005
Festival Internacional Cervantino
Insurgentes Sur 2383
Guanajuato, Mexico 01000
(52) (55) 5616 63 10
Attraction | "El Museo de Las Momías"
These mummies were discovered when a new local law took effect. The original cemetery was becoming filled and needed more space. The local officials placed a tax on the relatives of people in the cemetery and wanting to be buried there. This was something that might be called a grave tax. A person could pay a one-time tax of 170 pesos (a large sum in the late 1800s), or pay a yearly tax of 20 pesos. (This was less expensive for the short term, but greater over a long time.) If the tax was not paid for 3 successive years, then the remains of that person’s relatives would be exhumed and placed on display in the museum. The law was changed in 1958, therefore, no new mummies have been removed from the cemetery. However, those that had been removed remained on display in the museum. They are still there until this day.
There are more than 100 specimens that can be viewed. It is unknown if more exist, since only those whose relatives could not pay the local tax were exhumed. So, there may be more mummies about which no one knows. The mummies, themselves, are quite diversified. Some are clothed, others not. Some are old, others young. One tiny baby is labeled as the smallest mummy in the world. Many of these people died with a grimace on their faces, as if they died in agony. It is believed that many of these people died during a cholera epidemic. In some cases, a person with that disease may be in a state of stupor, leading others to assume that they are dead. Then, they are buried alive. When they recover, they find themselves in the ground, unable to remove the soil that is over them. At that point, they quickly starve to death.
Since no scientists have studied the mummies, no one knows for certain how the people became mummified. It is believed that the combination of the dry mountainous air and the minerals in the soil caused this mummification.
Again, this is one of the most unique experiences that I have had, and I am certain that those of you who take the time will agree that it is another of the mysteries of Guanajuato.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 21, 2005
Access to the theater is by a series of wide steps framed by a cantera stone balustrade and flanked by two bronze lions and wrought-iron lamps. The portico features Doric columns in green cantera stone with fluted shafts and a capital of carved lyres. A balustrade and bronze sculptures of the Greek Muses standing atop pedestals crown the theater's façade.
Entering the theater, there is a foyer with smooth shaft columns and capitals carved with garlands. An impressive oil painting of the coat of arms of Santa Fe de Guanajuato (the original name of the city) can be found at the top of three flights of stairs.
The foyer leads into an area known as the smoking room which, like the staircase, features a caissoned ceiling. There are four pendant oil lamps in the shape of lyres in the room. The walls are decorated with acanthus leaf carvings, and there are slender bronze bases quite like small estípite pilasters atop which are sculptures of Dante, Camoëns, Mozart, and Gretoy, among others.
The Teatro Juarez is the main stage of the International Cervantino Festival, and the site of an enormous variety of artistic activity, from theater, ballet and music to painting and photography exhibitions. I was able to see a wonderful reenactment of an Ibsen drama. Most of the productions at the theater occur in the evening hours, although some matinee performances may be found. Just as the time of the productions may vary, the price of admission varies, as well. Most productions can be seen at price ranges from 15 pesos ($1.50 USD) to 250 pesos ($25 USD). Overall, this theater is one of the architectural jewels in all of the Mexican states.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 27, 2005
No. 8 Guanajuato