San Miguel de Allende

My favorite city | March 25, 2017

Before I begin writing about my personal experience traveling to San Miguel de Allende, I wanted to share its own personal story to everyone who is interested in history and how the city came to be.

"San Miguel de Allende is a city and municipality located in the far eastern part of the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico. Historically, the town is important as being the birthplace of Ignacio Allende, whose surname was added to the town’s name in 1826, as well as the first municipality declared independent of Spanish rule by the nascent insurgent army during the Mexican War of Independence.
However, the town waned during and after the war, and at the beginning of the 20th century was in danger of becoming a ghost town. Its Baroque/Neoclassical colonial structures were "discovered" by foreign artists who moved in and began art and cultural institutes such as the Instituto Allende and the Escuela de Bellas Artes. This gave the town a reputation, attracting artists such as David Alfaro Siqueiros, who taught painting.
This attracted foreign art students, especially former U.S. soldiers studying on the G.I. Bill after the Second World War. Since then, the town has attracted a significant amount of foreign retirees, artists, writers and tourists, which is shifting the area’s economy from agriculture and industry to commerce catering to outside visitors and residents."

The best part of the city's history was that it was considered a ghost town, but then revived after artists came in and built culture with schools that attracted more artists. I've even heard people refer it as "The City of Artists".

In Mexico it's considered something called a Pueblo Magico. Places are anointed the name by Mexico's Secretariat of Tourism with certain criterias to be met. Some towns can still be titled Pueblo Magicos by locals when they are basically abandoned, and then explode with life and culture, which then blooms tourism into the town.This city is exactly that. It's a city that was once lifeless, but then filled up with amazing architecture, incredible art, great food, and an ambience that actually feels mystical in certain parts of the day. It's by far my favorite city I've ever been to and one that I go to every single time I visit Mexico.


San Miguel de Allende

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Here you see the city in all its glory with the uniquely red colored buildings at its border, which makes it stand out as well as complement its color with the trees.


La Parroquia


Here's one of the MANY Catholic churches called La Parroquia, which was built in the 17th century. This one is the most viewed and photographed (probably because it looks something from Disney Land). It has these bells that just emanate energy every time they begin to swing and chime.


El Jardin

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In front of La Parroquia there's a jardin, which translates to "garden". It's an area to relax and walk around in. Usually it's in the center of surrounding stores and within the jardin there's food carts, shrubbery, benches, and trees. The bottom right picture shows something that is absolutely delicious and just about every single Mexican craves on a good & bad day. It's corn spread with mayonnaise  and shredded cheese, as well as powdered chili for those who like a bite of spice in their food.



A certain art form that is very popular in Mexico is something called Alebrijes. They are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of different creatures. The first alebrijes were made by Pedro Linares in Mexico City. The standard for a piece to be considered an Alebrije should be a mixture of different animals/creatures, but some that consist of a single animal could still be referred to as an alebrije with the right painting style. (Make sure you scroll through the images with the right & left arrows on the photo to view more images.)




The style of Mojigangas reminds me of a video game called Majora's Mask. Its whole style is absolutely alluring and interesting, but at the same time can be pretty creepy in the right setting. Mojigangas are giant puppets used as sculpture or to walk around for a large event. The head and bust are made of papier mâché which is then mounted on a tall supporting A-frame structure. The left picture has my cousin and myself hanging out with a female Mojiganga.


The art of Architecture 

San Miguel's architecture & design is stunning to say the least. It has a quaint yet busy city feel to it. It's a place where you can roam around and enjoy a walk with remarkable views as well as going out with a group of people to several restaurants. The cobblestone streets and various colored walls makes it difficult to leave, as well as everything else that the city contains.



The only photo I took of the night time in the city. Maybe next time I go i'll do some night life photography.



I hope everyone enjoyed learning about San Miguel as well as having a glimpse of my travels there. I also hope I made some of you want to visit this beautiful city in Mexico! I'm considering doing a version 2 if I go again so I can actually dedicate my time to photograph the entire city, since there is so many details and much more to see!

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Abel Espino