Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Mexico: Walking around San Miguel de Allende
It was a bit dark when we arrived in San Miguel de Allende, also in the state of Guanajuato. The bus ride from the city of Guanajuato was just a little over an hour. We had decided to spend the night in the Protective Town of San Miguel, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, so that we could begin our walking tour of the centro historic first thing in the morning.
Our hostel was behind the Templo de San Francisco which we could see from our balcony window. The rooftop gave us a good view of the old quarter with several bell towers hovering above the low structures that dominate the city. It's a good thing they have strict height limits and building codes in Mexico's old towns. Well, for whatever it's worth, the town sleeps quite early. So we did too.
The next morning, we made our way around San Miguel's centro historico. According to UNESCO, "San Miguel de Allende is an early example of a rational territorial and urban development in the Americas, related to the protection of one of the main Spanish inland roads. The town flourished in the 18th century with the construction of significant religious and civil architecture, which exhibits the evolution of different trends and styles, from Baroque to late 19th century Neo-Gothic. Urban mansions are exceptionally large and rich for a medium-size Latin American town and constitute an example of the transition from Baroque to Neo-Classic."
From our hostel, we made our way to the Templo de San Francisco and the adjacent Templo de la Tercera Orden. It reminded me of the same churches in Intramuros which shared the same plaza. I noticed that all structures were in various earthen colors from ochre, orange, yellow, brown and brick red which was a stark contrast to the bolder palette we saw in nearby Guanajuato.
In the center of town is the Parroquia de San Miguel de Arcangel, Templo de San Rafael and Torre del Reloj. The Neo-gothic San Miguel Parish Church has become a symbol of San Miguel de Allende.
The adjacent San Rafael Church seems to be a memorial to the passion of Christ owing to the many tableau altars depicting scenes from Semana Santa, including an elaborate one featuring the events at Golgotha.
Outside the church, I noticed several women sewing together muneca de trapo (traditional rag dolls) which are quite popular all over Mexico.
We also got to visit the Templo de la Inmaculada Concepcion, Oratorio de San Felipe and the adjacent Templo de la Nuestra Senora de la Salud.
San Miguel de Allende is quite easy to explore. In fact, we saw most of the major attractions before lunch. From San Miguel, we took a bus to Queretaro which we planned to visit for the afternoon.
More posts on Mexico here. Photos of San Miguel de Allende in the Ivan About Town FB page.