A Travellerspoint blog

Everyone loves Mexico's charming San Miguel de Allende

The 17th century Parish Church of Saint Michael the Archangel is the town's symbol and can be seen from virtually everywhere; 100  acres of the historic center was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008

The 17th century Parish Church of Saint Michael the Archangel is the town's symbol and can be seen from virtually everywhere; 100+ acres of the historic center was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008

At the beginning of the 20th century, the city was in danger of becoming a ghost town after an influenza pandemic; instead it was discovered by artists and expats who preserved the historic buildings, largely of Baroque and Neoclassical-styles

At the beginning of the 20th century, the city was in danger of becoming a ghost town after an influenza pandemic; instead it was discovered by artists and expats who preserved the historic buildings, largely of Baroque and Neoclassical-styles

El Jardin, the main plaza, is the heart of SMA with a bandstand and beautifully manicured trees; following a 500 year old Spanish tradition, this plaza is the social center of town where locals gather to visit and catch up with one another

El Jardin, the main plaza, is the heart of SMA with a bandstand and beautifully manicured trees; following a 500 year old Spanish tradition, this plaza is the social center of town where locals gather to visit and catch up with one another

The government of Mexico declared San Miguel de Allende to be a national monument in 1926 which help protect its colonial center and limited development; the result is a charming, easily walkable town that seems a throwback in time

The government of Mexico declared San Miguel de Allende to be a national monument in 1926 which help protect its colonial center and limited development; the result is a charming, easily walkable town that seems a throwback in time

The 18th century Sanctuary of Atotonilco shares UNESCO World Heritage status with the historic core of San Miguel de Allende; it's only 20 minutes by car/Uber in a tiny town of the same name

The 18th century Sanctuary of Atotonilco shares UNESCO World Heritage status with the historic core of San Miguel de Allende; it's only 20 minutes by car/Uber in a tiny town of the same name

The main feature of the Sanctuary of Atotonilco is the rich Mexican Baroque mural work that adorns the main nave and chapels; dubbed the Sistine Chapel of Mexico, Antonio Martínez de Pocasangre spent 30 years working on the murals

The main feature of the Sanctuary of Atotonilco is the rich Mexican Baroque mural work that adorns the main nave and chapels; dubbed the Sistine Chapel of Mexico, Antonio Martínez de Pocasangre spent 30 years working on the murals

Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was a Catholic priest, leader of the Mexican War of Independence and is recognized as the Father of the Nation; he attached an image of the Virgin to his lance at the Sanctuary of Atotonilco so it remains an important pilgrimmage site

Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was a Catholic priest, leader of the Mexican War of Independence and is recognized as the Father of the Nation; he attached an image of the Virgin to his lance at the Sanctuary of Atotonilco so it remains an important pilgrimmage site

Jim and I went to UCLA together and I hadn't seen him since his 40th birthday party in 1992; he has lived in San Miguel de Allende since 2005 and has a lucrative business selling and renting homes here (despite still not being very fluent in Spanish)

Jim and I went to UCLA together and I hadn't seen him since his 40th birthday party in 1992; he has lived in San Miguel de Allende since 2005 and has a lucrative business selling and renting homes here (despite still not being very fluent in Spanish)

It took 3 trips to the Temple of the Immaculate Conception before I found it open but it was my favorite of the churches I saw in San Miguel de Allende; the religious artwork inside was nicely interspersed with contemporary works

It took 3 trips to the Temple of the Immaculate Conception before I found it open but it was my favorite of the churches I saw in San Miguel de Allende; the religious artwork inside was nicely interspersed with contemporary works

Built in 1873, the Teatro Angela Peralta was opened by and named for the reigning queen of opera in Mexico; it hosts the Chamber Music Festival in August, jazz during the Cervantino Festival in October, and the International Jazz Festival in November

Built in 1873, the Teatro Angela Peralta was opened by and named for the reigning queen of opera in Mexico; it hosts the Chamber Music Festival in August, jazz during the Cervantino Festival in October, and the International Jazz Festival in November

The 173-acre El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden includes the remains of an aqueduct that used to supply water to the old textile mill as well as a fulling mill, a stone building from the viceregal period that was used to grind or to wash wool

The 173-acre El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden includes the remains of an aqueduct that used to supply water to the old textile mill as well as a fulling mill, a stone building from the viceregal period that was used to grind or to wash wool

Construction on the Templo de San Francisco began in 1778 and took 20  years with different architectural changes according to the period and fashion; the bell tower, built in 1799, is in the neoclassical style, which was fashionable at the time

Construction on the Templo de San Francisco began in 1778 and took 20+ years with different architectural changes according to the period and fashion; the bell tower, built in 1799, is in the neoclassical style, which was fashionable at the time

General Ignacio Allende, a Mexican independence hero, dominates Solitude Square which was the main town square in the 16th and 17th centuries; the city was founded in 1542 as San Miguel (originally named for the founder) and later modified to pay tribute to Allende

General Ignacio Allende, a Mexican independence hero, dominates Solitude Square which was the main town square in the 16th and 17th centuries; the city was founded in 1542 as San Miguel (originally named for the founder) and later modified to pay tribute to Allende

The 18th century Iglesia Nuestra Señora de La Salud has an unusual entrance crowned by a gigantic carved seashell with a single eye enclosed in a triangle, an ancient symbol for God’s omnipresence

The 18th century Iglesia Nuestra Señora de La Salud has an unusual entrance crowned by a gigantic carved seashell with a single eye enclosed in a triangle, an ancient symbol for God’s omnipresence

Almost 20% of San Miguel de Allende's residents are expats with English widely spoken; pastel-colored residences lined the cobblestone streets easy fooling visitors into thinking they were in Spain or Italy

Almost 20% of San Miguel de Allende's residents are expats with English widely spoken; pastel-colored residences lined the cobblestone streets easy fooling visitors into thinking they were in Spain or Italy

San Miguel de Allende was revived by artists and there remains a strong artist presence with great galleries, handicrafts and boutiques; I was disappointed the city didn't really have any noteworthy museums (nearby Guanajuato has many good ones)

San Miguel de Allende was revived by artists and there remains a strong artist presence with great galleries, handicrafts and boutiques; I was disappointed the city didn't really have any noteworthy museums (nearby Guanajuato has many good ones)

The Temple of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, completed in 1712, is San Miguel de Allende's most active house of worship; the statue is of Saint Philip Romolo Neri who lived ascetically through 80 years of 16th century Italy

The Temple of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, completed in 1712, is San Miguel de Allende's most active house of worship; the statue is of Saint Philip Romolo Neri who lived ascetically through 80 years of 16th century Italy

This was the incredible view from my friend Jim's rooftop; there was one downside to being so close to the main church - the bells are rung by hand virtually  every 15 minutes from 4am-10pm although there was often no rhyme or reason to their schedule

This was the incredible view from my friend Jim's rooftop; there was one downside to being so close to the main church - the bells are rung by hand virtually every 15 minutes from 4am-10pm although there was often no rhyme or reason to their schedule

The Iglesia de San Rafael, adjacent to the city's main church, was built in the 18th century; the city is just 170 miles north of Mexico City but, with traffic, was a pleasant and inexpensive 4 hour journey on a modern bus

The Iglesia de San Rafael, adjacent to the city's main church, was built in the 18th century; the city is just 170 miles north of Mexico City but, with traffic, was a pleasant and inexpensive 4 hour journey on a modern bus

These gorgeous doors grace the late 18th century home of the de la Canal family; the doors are flanked by two sturdy Corinthian columns, which support strong and linear cornices, where a circular pediment is erected

These gorgeous doors grace the late 18th century home of the de la Canal family; the doors are flanked by two sturdy Corinthian columns, which support strong and linear cornices, where a circular pediment is erected

The city is so atmospheric but many of the most charming scenes are hidden, like the gorgeous courtyards; the expats here are generally quite affluent with new developments on the outskirts of town and mini-mansion, palazzos/villas in town

The city is so atmospheric but many of the most charming scenes are hidden, like the gorgeous courtyards; the expats here are generally quite affluent with new developments on the outskirts of town and mini-mansion, palazzos/villas in town

The garambullo cactus is native to northern and central Mexico and was one of the many interesting species at El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden; it was a pleasant one mile uphill walk from the center of town with lots of expensive homes along the way

The garambullo cactus is native to northern and central Mexico and was one of the many interesting species at El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden; it was a pleasant one mile uphill walk from the center of town with lots of expensive homes along the way

Posted by VagabondCowboy 08:15

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Great pictures. Glad you got to see your friend Jim!

by mball58

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