La Giganta sculpture outside Teatro Juarez in Guanajuato, Mexico
Guanajuato is a city and municipality in central Mexico and the capital of the state of the same name. It is part of the macroregion of Bajío. It is in a narrow valley, which makes its streets narrow and winding. Most are alleys that cars cannot pass through, and some are long sets of stairs up the mountainsides. Many of the city’s thoroughfares are partially or fully underground. The historic center has numerous small plazas and colonial-era mansions, churches and civil constructions built using pink or green sandstone.
The origin and growth of Guanajuato resulted from the discovery of minerals in the mountains surrounding it. The mines were so rich that the city was one of the most influential during the colonial period. One of the mines, La Valenciana, accounted for two-thirds of the world’s silver production at the height of its production.
The city is home to the Mummy Museum, which contains naturally mummified bodies that were found in the municipal cemetery between the mid 19th and 20th centuries. It is also home to the Festival Internacional Cervantino, which invites artists and performers from all over the world as well as Mexico. Guanajuato was the site of the first battle of the Mexican War of Independence between insurgent and royalist troops at the Alhóndiga de Granaditas. The city was named a World Heritage Site in 1988.