Visitors can’t resist the magic of its streets, its Baroque architecture and the beauty of its traditions
San Miguel de Allende is the Mexican city most representative of the Baroque period. Its streets, gardens, houses, plazas, and above all its churches embody the architectural style of that period, which had characteristics unique to Mexico – so much so that the period was known as the Mexican Baroque.
Located in the state of Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende is only a couple of hours away from the city of Guanajuato and the city of Queretaro.
Before the Spanish founded the settlement, its main indigenous people were the Chichimecas. In fact, the Spanish initially called the settlement San Miguel de los Chichimecas. In 1826, the town was renamed to what it is now called, in honor of its native son Ignacio Allende, one of the leaders of the Mexican Independence Movement.
Due to its cultural and architectural contribution to the Mexican Baroque and to the crucial role this city played in Mexico’s fight for independence, in 2008 the historic center of San Miguel de Allende along with the nearby Sanctuary of Atotonilco were declared UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Sanctuary was built in the eighteenth century by Father Luis Felipe Neri de Alfaro. Its main feature is the mural work in the nave and chapel, which has led to it being called the “Sistine Chapel of Mexico.”
San Miguel is a Europeanized place, with customs, festivities, traditions, and a general culture comparable to the old continent’s way of life. The famous “Sanmiguelada” is an example of this, since it is a replica of Spain’s “Pamplonada,” celebrated in September in honor of Saint Michael. During this celebration, bulls are released to run free through the streets, chasing the brave “Fermines,” who challenge them dressed in white with a bright red scarf round their necks. It is also a favorite holiday destination among foreigners, who often choose San Miguel as their retirement home.
The current parish church of San Miguel is La Parroquia. Built in the seventeenth century, it has a neo-Gothic facade, which includes spiky bell towers, exaggerated and intricate details and finishing touches on the stone, metal crucifixes and banisters, images of angels, and saints and deities painted on the walls. It is one of the most photographed churches in Mexico.
The cuisine is as delicious as in the rest of the country, but specific to it are the spices and ingredients of the area of the Mexican Bajío region. The climate is warm, and therefore the combination of all the aspects particular to this destination, including the hospitality and kindness of the locals, make its charms irresistible.
- Extreme Sports
- Museums and Cultural Centers
- Traditions and Festivities
- Arts and Crafts
- Theme Parks