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When theme parks, beaches, scuba diving, and whale watching have lost their charm after multiple vacations to Mexico, perhaps a visit to The Land of Frogs is in order. The City of Guanajuato, which is called “the Crown Jewel” of Mexico’s colonial cities, loosely translates as “the land of frogs” in Tarascan: Quanax-Huato. By some accounts, a long-ago inhabitant of the land, whose identity has been lost to time, took one look at the terrain and said, “Nothing but frogs could live here!” Others say the locals found thousands of frogs in the mountainous terrain. Still other accounts say it was the shape of the mountains that reminded the natives of frogs.

Whichever account is true, Guanajuato is a place to get to know. Guanajuato earned its place in world geography when the Spanish found the surrounding mountains rich in silver deposits. In fact, at one time more than one third of the world’s silver riches were mined in Guanajuato. Though none of the usual summer vacation activities exists in Guanajuato, this city exudes history with every unsteady step you take on its cobblestone streets.

Although small, Guanajuato has outstanding colonial architecture built with the silver revenue from times past. With modern museums, cultural events almost year-round, one of the world’s oldest universities, and an almost perfect year-round temperate climate, Guanajuato is the perfect alternative to the usual vacation fare.

Depending on whom you ask, the City of Guanajuato has a population of between 100,000-120,000 people. It is located in a ravine with the city literally built up the sides of the bowl-like surrounding mountains. If nothing else, a trip to Guanajuato would be worth the time and expense just to marvel at how the Mexicans figured out how to build this city. To call it a marvel is a gross understatement.

Another marvel to behold is Guanajuato’s system of underground tunnels. Originally, the Guanajuato River flowed through the centre of town. Numerous devastating floods occurred over the centuries, and engineers decided to divert the river away from the middle of town in the early 1900s. After diverting the river, the riverbed was turned into a maze of underground streets-this time to divert traffic instead of water.


Other places nearby Guanajuato: Tlaxcala De Xicohtencatl, Puebla, Tepotzlan, Morelia, Cuernavaca, Pre-Colombian Ruins of Xochicalco and Cholula.

13 Feb 2007

Things to See and Do in Guanajuato

Diego Rivera House and Museum

This restored house and museum is a tribute to Guanajuato’s favorite son, muralist Diego Rivers. He was born and spent his youth at this home, located at 47 Positos Street. It has been restored to ...
Guanajuato, Mexico

Guanajuato Mummy Museum

Aficionados of the spooky, gruesome or simply bizarre will not want to miss a trip to the Mummy Museum in Guanajuato. Unlike most of the other mummies housed in museums around the world, the ones in ...
Guanajuato, Mexico

Hidalgo Market

Guanajuato is known for several different locally produced handicrafts which delight visitors. The ceramics are excellent: you’ll find everything from plates, bowls and dishes to fancy bottles and ...
Guanajuato, Mexico

Museo del Pueblo de Guanajuato (Town of Guanajuato Museum)

This converted old home contains a remarkable collection of paintings by famous Mexican artists, including Olga Costa and José Chavez Morado. Primarily an art museum, it also hosts occasional ...
Guanajuato, Mexico

Museo Ex Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera

This is a meticulously restored old hacienda featuring furniture and art from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Most impressive, however, are the 17 gardens and courtyards, each of which has ...
Guanajuato, Mexico
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