La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel church in the historic center of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, the current parish church of San Miguel, is unique in Mexico and the emblem of the town. It has a Neo-gothic façade with two tall towers that can be seen from most parts of town. It is one of the most photographed churches in Mexico. The church was built in the 17th century with a traditional Mexican façade. The current Gothic façade was constructed in 1880 by Zeferino Gutierrez, who was an indigenous bricklayer and self-taught architect. It is said Gutierrez's inspiration came from postcards and lithographs of Gothic churches in Europe; however, the interpretation is his own and if more a work of imagination than a faithful reconstruction. In front of this façade is a small atrium, which is guarded by a wrought iron fence. There is a monument in the atrium dedicated to Bishop José María de Jesús Diez de Sollano y Davalos. The San Rafael or Santa Escuela Church is located to the side of the parish. It was founded by Luis Felipe Neri de Alfaro in 1742. The main façade has two levels with arches, pilasters, floral motifs and a frieze on the first level. The second level has a choir window framed by pink sandstone. The bell tower is Moorish. According to legend, this older chapel was the site of the first Christian ceremony in San Miguel.