Underground town Guanajuato
There is no such a town in the world as Guanajuato in Mexico. Situated in the mountains with never-ending tunnels and colourful houses. That is true Mexico. Dry nature and small buildings of different colours and flat roofs. So vivid, so colonial.Very friendly, full of young people and students. Totally the opposite of San Miguel de Allende with mostly older visitors from the U.S.
I was told Guanajuato was first built under the mountain. The whole town was literally under the ground. There is still an underground museum (next to the San Diego Church ). Then when the town started to grow, they continued building it above the mountain but with many many tunnels as it was cheaper and easier to build tunnels than to destroy the whole mountain. Now it makes underground town Guanajuato unique in the world. Another strange thing is the names of the streets here – really weird, e.g. Monkey Jump.
The rare thing is the tunnels are both for cars and people walking. It is faster to walk underground then up through the streets when you want to get from A to B and you know which tunnel to use. I entered a tunnel 12 times during one afternoon in Guanajuato. There are even crossroads in the underground and you can park the car there too because of few parking spaces in the town itself.
Guanajuato is a special place. In the centre there is prohibited to build or reconstruct the houses the way you want, everything must be done to suit the other houses, to conserve the special architecture due to which Guanajuato was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. Guanajuato owes its beauty to the mines’ huge production of gold and silver in the colonial time. It used to be a very prosperous mining town in the 16th ct with a great amount of silver found here.
It is a place of a famous Festival Cervantino which holds many cultural events, concerts, theatre pieces and expositions for 2 weeks every September when the streets fill up with people wishing for some cultural moment.
What you definitely have to visit is the Museum of Diego Rivera, the Valenciana silver mine and its church, Templo de Belén, Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora, La Presa de Olla (The Damn) and the Mummy Museum which is one of two museums with mummies in Mexico.
The biggest attraction is Callejón del beso which is the most famous street of Guanajuato. The very narrow street with red and yellow houses owes its name to some legends. I heard 2 different stories. The first one speaks about a married couple with the woman in love with a guy living across the street who had the balcony just 25 cm from hers and her husband saw them kissing at the balcony one day. When she did not want to finish her relationship with her lover, her husband stabbed her into the back and then she kissed her lover for the last time through the balcony again.
The second legend is similar, just with the difference of not being a husband and a wife but a dad and his daughter with a lover who was from lower class and a bit of a rebel, so basically not a good man for the girl. What happened next is that the father did not like the idea of their secret love and he stabbed his daughter and then after the last kiss between the lover and the girl, the lover committed suicide out of love and sorrow. Does not matter which one of the legends is true, but now here if you kiss someone at the third step under the balconies, it will bring you luck in love for the next 7 years. So lovers and couples, go ahead!
After all, Guanajuato is one of those places in the world not very known but its unbelievable beauty, uniqueness and underground life will leave you astonished. Put it on your have-to-visit-list, you will not regret!
The tour through Guanajuato together with my stay there was a press trip organized by Hotel Casa Dionisio. It is a lovely hotel situated in the centre of Guanajuato. For more information please visit Casa Dionisio website. However, all the opinions in the post are just of my own.