SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE (Spanish pronunciation: ) is a city and
municipality located in the far eastern part of the state of
At the beginning of the 20th century, the town was in danger of
becoming a ghost town after an influenza pandemic. Gradually, 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
This attracted foreign art students, especially former U.S. soldiers
studying on the
The main attraction of the town is its well-preserved historic center, filled with buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. This and the nearby Sanctuary of Atotonilco have been declared World Heritage Sites in 2008.
* 1 Founding of the city * 2 Colonial period * 3 Independence * 4 20th century to the present * 5 The historic center * 6 Demographics * 7 Landmarks
* 8 Culture
* 8.1 Foreign influence * 8.2 Festivals * 8.3 Arts and literature
* 9 Economy
* 9.1 Tourism and commerce * 9.2 Agriculture * 9.3 Industry
* 10 The municipality
* 10.1 Geography, ecology and climate
* 11 Landmarks in the municipality
* 11.1 Atotonilco * 11.2 El Charco del Ingenio
* 12 International relations
* 12.1 Twin towns – Sister cities
* 13 References * 14 Further reading * 15 External links
FOUNDING OF THE CITY
The city was called Izcuinapan by the indigenous peoples. The city
has since been known by various names since the Spanish settlements.
The Spanish called it San Miguel el Grande and sometimes San Miguel de
los Chichimecas . A Franciscan friar, Juan de San Miguel, was a
Spanish missionary who successfully - and finally - converted the
fierce and indomitable natives with benevolence and the Christ and
cross. The name of the town was changed in 1826 to San Miguel de
Allende in order to honor Ignacio Allende, a leader in the fight for
Before the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century, San
Miguel was an indigenous
The village was officially re-established in 1555 by Juan de San Miguel's successor, Bernardo Cossin and indigenous leader Fernando de Tapia . It was refounded both as a mission and as a military outpost. The new site was just northwest of the old one at a place with two fresh water springs (called Batan and Izcuinapan) and with terrain better suited for defense. The two springs supplied all of the town's water until the 1970s. .
The House of the Counts of the Canal, built in the 18th century
and currently owned by
By the mid 16th century, silver had been discovered not only in
Guanajuato, but also in
Eventually, major roads would connect the town with the mining
San Luis Potosí
Statues of Allende and Hidalgo in the municipal palace
The prominence of the city declined at the beginning of the 19th
century, mostly due to the
Mexican War of Independence
While there was no other military action in the area, economically the town waned as agriculture suffered and the population declined. This continued for most of the rest of the 19th century as the country was torn between Liberal and Conservative factions vying for power . After the war, the town was declared a city by the state congress in 1826 and its name was modified to San Miguel de Allende in honor of Ignacio Allende.
There was some economic recovery near the end of the 19th century
during the rule of
20TH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT
Angela Peralta Theater, built in the early 20th century
American artist and writer
Stirling Dickinson arrived in 1937 and
should be credited with the first wave of advertising abroad about San
Miguel´s virtues. Dickinson met Peruvian intellectual, author and
painter, Felipe Cossio del Pomar who had the idea of establishing an
art colony in the heart of Mexico. The first art school was
established in 1938 in an old convent - still in use provisionally as
a school, after having been soldiers´barracks - which Cossio del
Pomar secured from then Mexican president Lazaro Cardenas, it was
called Bellas Artes, today in existence and locally known as Bellas
Artes or Centro Cultural El Nigromante. In the 1940s, Dickinson would
also assist Cossio del Pomar and Enrique Fernández Martinez the
former governor of the state of
The town's cultural, foreign and cosmopolitan nature has continued
since that time. In the 1960s,
Cantinflas promoted the area among his
friends in the film industry. The city took on a
starting in the 1950s with the party ambiance of many resident expats
and artists. Hippies were taken in for haircuts by the authorities in
the 1970s, and now is generally too expensive for the backpacking
travelers of the 21st century. The growing attraction of the town and
its colonial buildings created a vibrant real estate market, which
until recently has not been affected by Mexico’s economic ups and
downs. Many of the old "ruins" of colonial houses have sold for more
than a house in
The city and nearby sanctuary were declared a World Heritage Site
THE HISTORIC CENTER
Hernandez Macias street in the historic center
At the entrance of the city are statues of Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, Miguel Hidalgo and Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, with one of the Archangel Michael in the center. While the outlying areas of the town and municipality have changed over time, the historic center remains much as it was 250 years ago. The layout of the center of the city is mostly a straight grid, which was favored by the Spanish during colonial times. However, due to the terrain, many roads are not straight. There are no parking meters, no traffic signals and no fast food restaurants. These roads are lined with colonial era homes and churches. With a few exceptions, the architecture is domestic rather than monumental, with well-tended courtyards and rich architectural details. The houses have solid walls against the sidewalks, painted in various colors, many with bougainvillea vines falling down the outside and the occasional iron-grated window. Many of the larger structures have large front doors which used to be used by horses and carriages.
In the historic center, there are an estimated two thousand doors, behind which there are at least two thousand courtyards of various sizes. Many of these have been restored to their former colonial state, with façades of ochre, orange and yellow, windows and doors framed by handcrafted ironwork and made of hewn wood. The interior roofs are flat, of heavy mortar supported by large beams. Very few structures have atriums or front yards; instead, open private space is behind the main façade in courtyards. These courtyards are where the private gardens were, protected from dust, excess water and crime.
The town is noted for its streetscapes with narrow cobblestone lanes,
that rise and fall over the hilly terrain, and occasionally defy
colonial attempts to make a straight grid. It is still a small city,
and at night, many wander the narrow streets with relative safety.
The people on the streets are a mix of Mexicans, foreigners and
indigenous. Its cultural and artistic reputation has brought many
Since the 1920s, steps have been taken to preserve the historic center’s charm. The first set of protections was put into place by the INAH when it was declared a national monument. This required that all restorations and new construction conform to the area's colonial architecture. To preserve the city’s trademark colonial look, a civil society regulates the renovation and maintenance of the city, especially its historic center. This includes aspects such as traffic, garden spaces and even the kinds of social events that may be held. The town has also put much effort into preserving the cobblestone streets. The most recent designation is that of a World Heritage site, along with the religious sanctuary in nearby Atotonilco, which also puts restrictions and protections into place.
About half of the colonial buildings have been partially or fully converted into businesses such as stores, restaurants, galleries, workshops and hotels. Since there is no zoning, residential and commercial establishments are well-mixed. Although it is small and rural, it has a wide variety of upscale and ethnic restaurants, specialty shops and art galleries. All around the historic center there are over 80 bars and cantinas as well as various nightclubs. To compete, many offer two-for-one drink specials. Others rely on gimmicks such as the frontier themed bar on Mesones Street called “El Gato” with swinging cantina doors like those seen on “Old West” movies.
In September 2010, the first contemporary architectural structure arrived in the historic colonial center with the opening of Hotel Matilda. The hotel's four buildings have a modern design, with public areas decorated with the art works of contemporary Latin artists, many of them very large pieces. Only the exterior street wall, along Calle Aldama, reflects the colonial style.
View of calle Umaran in the downtown.
Despite being less than five percent of the total municipal population, foreign residents have considerable cultural and economic impact. Most foreign residents are retirees from the United States, Canada and Europe attracted by the mild climate, cultural opportunities and low crime. It is only a ten-hour drive to the U.S. border. Many of the home buyers are from this segment of the population as well. Estimates of foreign residents range from 5,000 to 8,000 with at least half of these from the United States. The large foreign presence has established a number of institutions here. The most noted one is the Biblioteca Publica, which has the second largest English language book collection in Mexico, located in the former convent of Santa Ana. It acts as the community center for foreigners. There is also a chapter of the Lion's Club (est. 1987). A post of The American Legion and The Veterans of Foreign Wars is located there , and Mexico's only Audubon Society chapter.
While the town and municipality have grown since the coming of foreigners in the 1940s, the highest rates of growth occurred between 1980 and 2000, rising from 77,624 to 110,692, or about 43%. However, since that time growth has slowed and as of the 2005 census, the population stood at 139,297. Most of the drop has been due to the fall in birthrates. However, the overall population of the municipality is young: about 40% is under the age of 15, with those between 15 and 64 making up about 54% of the population. The majority of the municipality lives in the town of San Miguel proper, which has a population of 59,691. The next three largest towns are under 3,000 people: Los Rodriguez (2,768,) Colonia San Luis Rey (1,850) and Corral de Piedras de Arriba (1,701). Most of the municipality's population is located in rural areas in communities that do not exceed 2,500 people. About 46% is considered to live in an urban environment in the city of San Miguel.
Outside of the main town and in these smaller communities are the
municipality's indigenous groups, mostly Otomi and Nahuas. The Otomi
are the largest group, accounting for just under 38% of the municipal
population. The Nahuas follow at about 20%. Other groups include the
Ninety six percent of the population professes the Catholic faith, with the rest divided among Protestant and Evangelical groups. The municipality is home to three institutions of higher education, Instituto Tecnologico SSC, a campus of the Universidad de León, and Universidad Tecnologica de San Miguel de Allende. The city also has bilingual schools with accordance to the American educational system. As of 2000, 17.5% of the population is considered to be illiterate, compared to 12.1% for the rest of the state.
Parish church of San Miguel
The oldest part of the town is the El Chorro neighborhood. This is where the village of San Miguel was moved to in 1555. The Nahuatl name for the area was Izcuinapan or “place of dogs,” and according to legend, dogs led Juan de San Miguel to this area to find this spring. This area is the home of the Parish of San Miguel, the Jardin Principal or Main Garden and an earlier church called the San Rafael or Santa Escuela Church.
LA PARROQUIA DE SAN MIGUEL ARCáNGEL, the current parish church of
San Miguel, is unique in
At the entrance of the main church, there is an inscription that
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla
In front of the church complex is the Plaza Allende, popularly known as Jardin Principal or Main Garden, but most often referred to simply as el jardin. It was designed in French style, with wrought iron benches and filled with Indian laurel trees. It is a popular place to sit and relax and bands often play in the kiosk on weekends. In addition to the parish, other important structures, such as the Ignacio Allende House, the Canal House and the municipal palace overlook the garden. Courtyard of the Centro Cultural with the dome of the Church of the Nuns in the background.
The CENTRO CULTURAL IGNACIO RAMIREZ, also called the Escuela de Bellas Artes or El Nigromante, is housed in the former Hermanas de la Concepción (Sisters of the Conception) convent. The Concepcion convent and adjoining church were founded by a member of the De la Canal family, María Josefina Lina de la Canal y Hervás in 1775. In the latter 19th century, the convent was closed by the Reform Laws and it remained empty from then until the mid 20th century. The Escuela de Bellas Artes, was established in 1938 by Peruvian Felipe Cossío del Pomar and American Stirling Dickinson. This and other art institutions began to attract American exchange students who came to study and live. The cultural center today is part of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA) and is often referred to by locals as "Bellas Artes." It is a two story cloister surrounded an extremely large courtyard with large streets with a large fountain in the middle. It houses art exhibits, classrooms for drawing, painting, sculpture, lithography , textiles, ceramics dramatic arts, ballet, regional dance, piano and guitar.
One hall of the old convent is dedicated to a mural by David Alfaro
Siqueiros along with students from the art school, but it was never
finished. The complex has a museum, an auditorium, two art galleries
and the Las Musas restaurant, which serves both inside and outside in
the courtyard area. Next to the cultural center is the INMACULADA
CONCEPCION CHURCH, locally known as Las Monjas (The Nuns). It was
originally constructed as part of the convent. The church was
constructed between 1755 and 1842 with an elegant cupola added by
Zeferino Gutierrez in 1891, inspired by the
The CASA DE ALLENDE (ALLENDE HOUSE) MUSEUM was the home of Ignacio Allende, who was a principal protagonist in the early part of the Mexican War of Independence. The structure was built in 1759 with Baroque and Neoclassical elements, located next to the San Miguel parish church. The museum it houses is officially called the Museo Histórico de San Miguel de Allende, and it is one of many “regional museums” of Mexico. This kind of museum focuses on the history of the local area from the prehistoric period to the present, especially the area’s role in Mexico’s national history. The lower floor contains exhibits about the founding of the town, its role in protecting the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Road and more. The upper floor contains exhibits related to Ignacio Allende and some of the rooms are preserved as they looked when he lived there. There are 24 rooms that chronicle the history of the area from the foundation of the town to the Ruta de la Plata (Silver Route), the genealogy of Ignacio Allende and the Mexican War of Independence. It remodeled as part of the preparations for Mexico's Bicentennial. The restored museum was re-inaugurated by President Felipe Calderon in 2009.
The CASA DEL MAYORAZGO DE LA CANAL dates from the 18th century,
constructed by Mariano Loreto de la Canal y Landeta. During the late
colonial period, this house was the most important secular building,
being home to the De la Canal family, one of the richest in New Spain
. The original construction was inspired by French and Italian
palaces of between the 16th and 18th centuries. The house is
considered to be a transitional work between Baroque and Neoclassical,
as its façade was redesigned by
Manuel Tolsá in the early 19th
century. The façade is Neoclassical with the coat of arms of the
family. The main portal has two levels with an arch with a relief of
an eagle on the keystone. The main door is profusely decorated with
high reliefs. Today, it houses the Casa de Cultura de Banamex
On the north side of the Jardin Principal is the MUNICIPAL PALACE. It was first constructed in 1736 and called the Casa Consistorial. However, this building was heavily damaged several times since then and little of the original structure remains. The current building has two floors. It is home to what is considered to be the first “independent” or modern municipal government formed after the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence. This reestablishment of the city government under Liberal principles was done by Miguel Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende and Ignacio Aldama on 17 September 1810. Main portal of the Nuestra Señora de la Salud Church
The ORATORIO DE SAN FELIPE NERI CHURCH was built by Juan Antonio
Perez Espinosa in 1712. This church was partially built by
incorporating a former chapel used by the mulatto population of the
town. That church became the chapel on the east side. The façade is
of pink sandstone in Baroque style with profuse vegetative
ornamentation. The decorative work of the portal also contains
indigenous influences. The interior of the church has a number of
Miguel Cabrera , including one of the Virgin of Guadalupe
which is signed by him. The sacristy contains this last painting along
with others depicting the life of
Philip Neri . This room is cordoned
off by a grate covered with leather from
The NUESTRA SEñORA DE LA SALUD CHURCH was built by Luis Felipe Neri
in the 18th century. The main portal is in
Churrigueresque style with
two levels and a crest in the shape of a large seashell. The first
level has an arch flanked by pilasters and niches with sculptures of
Very close to the Nuestra Señora de la Salud and Oratorios de San Felipe Neri churches is the PLAZA CIVICA OR CIVIC PLAZA. This plaza was originally constructed in 1555 and was supposed to be the original center of the town. It is next to the Plaza de la Soledad and served as the main marketplace. Today, it has a equestrian statue of Ignacio Allende which dominates it. Church in San Miguel de Allende.
The SAN FRANCISCO CHURCH was begun in 1778 and was finished more than twenty years later, when architectural styles were changing. The façade is pure Churrigueresque with stone figures and fine columns. The later bell tower was constructed in 1799 in Neoclassical style by architect Francisco Eduardo Tresguerras.
The BIBLIOTECA PúBLICA OR PUBLIC LIBRARY serves as the community
center for San Miguel's large foreigner population. This library was
established by Helen Wale, a Canadian, who wanted to reach out to
local children. It is the largest privately funded, publicly
accessible library in
To the far south of the historic center is PARQUE JUáREZ OR JUAREZ PARK. This park was established at the beginning of the 20th century on the banks of a river in French style with fountains, decorative pools, wrought iron benches, old bridges and footpaths. There is an area for children with playground and basketball. The garden area is filled with plants and trees of the region, chirimoyos , various berries and walnuts. The water areas host a large number of herons . After dark on many days, it is possible to catch a impromptu concert by local amateur musicians. Nearby there is a small commercial center on Zacateros Street where typical of the area such as objects made of brass and glass can be found. Near here there is a fountain dedicated to Ignacio Allende. Entrance to the Mercado de Artesanias
Another important market is the MERCADO DE ARTESANIAS, which sells a
wide variety of items such as those made from wool, brass, paper mache
and blown glass. There are also piñatas, tin lanterns, silver jewelry
and more. One figure that features prominently on merchandise is that
of a frog, as the state's name of
The Institute Allende is located in an enormous complex, which the De la Canal family built as a retreat and hacienda . The old house is filled with various courtyards, a private chapel with colonial era frescos, modern art gallery and restaurant. In 1951, it was converted into an art institute which offers courses in silverwork, ceramic and Spanish, attracting hundreds of students each year.
Other important churches in the town include the Santo Domingo
church, the Santa Cruz del Chorro Chapel, Tercera Orden Church and the
San Juan de Dios Church. The Santo Domingo church was part of a
monastery complex. The church has a sober façade and dates from 1737.
The Santa Cruz del Chorro Chapel is one of the oldest religious
buildings. The Tercera Orden Church dates from the beginning of the
17th century. The San Juan de Dios Church is and San Rafael Hospital
are attributed to Juan Manuel de Villegas in 1770. The complex has a
main portal in sandstone with two portals. The first has an access
arch and a door made of mesquite wood, with reliefs of geometric
shapes, fish and more, along with a hand with pomegranate in
sandstone. These symbolize the
Archangel Raphael and
John of God .
Recent research establishes the founding of San Juan de Dios comlex in
1546 per maps from the Royal Library in Seville, Spain. These maps
were brought to
The CASA DE INQUISIDOR (Inquisitor’s House) is located between Hernandez Macias and Hospicio streets. It was built in 1780 with an elaborate French façade and was the seat of the inquisition in the late 18th century.
The ANGELA PERALTA THEATER was originally designed to host opera. It
was inaugurated in 1873 with a performance by the most famous soprano
Other cultural venues include the Otra Cara de Mexico, the bullring,
the old train station now restored with a native market on Sundays,
the casa de Marqués de Jaral de Berrio, the Casa de los Condes de
Loja and the Museo de la Esquina - for traditional toys with a
collection that comes from all parts of the Mexican Republic, which
was gathered over 50 years' time.- and Museo Interactiveo Fragua de la
Independencia. La Otra Cara de
Entrance to a crafts store in the historic center of the town
" Stirling Dickinson is without doubt the person most responsible for San Miguel de Allende becoming an international art center," says John Virtue, author of Model American Abroad, a biography of Dickinson. Although only an amateur painter himself, Dickinson became co-founder and director of the Escuela Universitaria de Bellas Artes, an art institute that he opened in a former convent only a few months after his arrival.
Due to its growth as a tourist destination, some of the most obvious culture seen on the streets of the town relates to visitors, both foreign and Mexican. To cater to these visitors, the town contains organic cafes, boutiques, art galleries, upscale restaurants and hotels, and a wide variety of bars and nightclubs. Bars and nightclubs range from DJs or loud bands catering to young people, to jazz clubs, sports bars and even those that specialize in traditional Mexican music such as mariachi. Some were founded by foreigners and reflect that ownership, for example the Berlin Bar it has a lot of open space along with a café and restaurant. San Miguel has several schools for learning Spanish, most catering to foreign visitors. These include the Instituto Allende (with credits transferable to U.S. or Canadian colleges), Language Point and Warren Hardy Spanish. Some universities such as the University of Texas-Pan American offer study abroad programs in the city, not only in Spanish but also in arts and literature, and creative writing.
Youths with bulls at the Sanmiguelada Fiesta de San Miguel Arcángel.
Many of the festivals here are purely Mexican, combining social activity with religious expression. Throughout the year there are pilgrimages, all-night vigils, ringing church bells, processions and fireworks. The largest celebration of the year is that of the town's patron saint, the Archangel Michael. The angel's feast day is 29 September, but festivities take place for an entire week. Activities include private parties, sporting events, cultural events, indigenous dance and more. The week is popularly called the Fiestas de San Miguel de Allende. The finale is a procession of the actual image of St. Michael usually high on the main altar of La Paroquia, and he is taken on a flower-covered dais to "visit" the main churches in the historic district. Fireworks are a part of all festivities. Elaborate structures that spin and light in sequence which are called "castillos" - castles - are installed in the esplanade at the Jardín, and sometimes at other churches in town.
There are also secular and cultural festivals during the year. The annual Festival de Música de Cámara or Chamber Music Festival occurs each year in August in the city's historic center. One of the purposes of the event is to bring this type of music to streets and other public venues as well as traditional concert halls such as the event's home of the Angela Peralta Theater. The 2009 edition had over 100 singers invited to various events, three major conferences, and instrument exhibition and ten classes taught by prominent persons in the field. Some of the groups invited that year included Yale Glee Club , the Cuerdas Amernet Cuartet, the Alientos de Bellas Artes Trio, soprano Guadalupe Jimenez and pianist Natasha Tarasova . Other events include the Jornada de Cultura Cubana in March, the Festival de Tìteres in April, the Festival de Convivencia y Hermandad Universal in May, the Desfile de Locos in June, the Festival Expresiones Cortos in July, the Feria Nacional de Lana y Latón and the festival de Jazz y Blues in November and the Festival de San Miguel de Allende in December. The most important political celebration is the reenactment of the "Grito de Dolores", as the original occurred in the nearby town of Dolores Hidalgo, marking the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence. As the birthplace of Ignacio Allende, the town was a focal point of 2010's Bicentennial celebrations , with reenactments of events such as the arrival of the message from Queretaro from Josefa Ortiz. Bicentennial celebrations also included events such as the Ballet Mazatl. Festivities were concentrated in and around the Jardin Principal, the Ignacio Allende House and the Centro Cultural.
SMART is a multi-media cultural festival, held annually in May, that combines exhibits by Mexican artists with a variety of culinary and social events at local hotels, including the festival founder Hotel Matilda, Dos Casas Hotel and L’Otel.
ARTS AND LITERATURE
View of the room containing the unfinished Siqueiros mural
San Miguel de Allende has long had a reputation as a haven for visual
artists. Actually, San Miguel was the recipient of the most funding
for the arts in the Spanish colonial period. Spain being the most
powerful empire in the world at that time was very rich with the
.Since the 1950s, when
TOURISM AND COMMERCE
Much of the municipality's economy is now tied to the influx of
tourists and foreigners who come to live, mostly retirees. A
Hotel occupancy typically reaches 80% on weekends with about 50%
occupancy on weekdays, when rates can be about half. Most visitors are
vacationers and about 60% are domestic visitors, interested in the
town's history and role in the Mexican War of Independence. Another
attraction for visitors are the two main art/cultural institutions of
Instituto Allende and Bellas Artes as well as a number of Spanish
language schools. Most domestic visitors come from Mexico's large
urban centers like
Vineyards and vendimia celebration near San Miguel de Allende.
Outside of the town of San Miguel, the economy is more traditional. A bit over half of the land is used for grazing with 37% used for crops. Over 80% of the crops are grown during the rainy season with less than 20% grown on irrigated lands. Forestry is minimal. Agriculture produces 25% of the employment in the municipality. Principal crops include corn, beans, wheat, and alfalfa , which account for 84% of harvests. Another important agricultural activity is fruit orchards. The most important livestock is domestic fowl, especially poultry. The municipality raises over 12% of the state's chickens. Another important product is honey, of which the municipality provides 7.5% of the state’s total. Since the 1990s, there have been active reforestation efforts to replace much of what was lost previously to logging.
Industry is not as well developed here as in other parts of the state although it provides about 33% of the jobs. One important industry is the production of electrical energy. Other industries include metal products, food processing, wood products and mineral processing. The area is known for the crafting of objects from brass and glass. Two notable artisans here are the brothers Marcelino and Abeck Leon Rosa, who produce handmade glass items. They began producing pieces in the courtyard of their home, but today they have a studio with two large workshops and operate a school for glassmakers, which trains about 50 people per year. One of their specialties is Tiffany-style lamps.
Since at least the 1950s, San Miguel de Allende is a backdrop for the
production of films and television programs. Both Mexican and foreign
productions and advertisements have been filmed there. Projects that
have been filmed here include Once Upon a Time in
Former Mayor of San Miguel de Allende, Luz María Núñez Flores (Spring 2012)
As the municipal seat, the town of San Miguel de Allende is the local government for about 950 other communities, many of which have fewer than 50 people. As of 2005 , the municipality had a total population of 139,297 with 62,034 living or about 44.5% living in the town proper. The largest communities outside of the municipal seat include Los Rodriguez (2,795 people), Corral de Piedras de Arriba (1,841 people) and Los Galvanes (1,402 people). Officially, the municipality is called Allende to distinguish it from the town of San Miguel de Allende, but as they are governmentally the same unit, both are generally called by the town's name.
GEOGRAPHY, ECOLOGY AND CLIMATE
The municipality is located in the far eastern side of the state of Guanajuato. It has an average altitude of 1,870 meters above sea level. It borders the municipalities of San Luis de la Paz , Dolores Hidalgo , Salamanca , Juventino Rosas , Comonfort , Apaseo el Grande and San José Iturbide It has a territory of 1,537.19 km2. The altitude varies from between 850 to 2,700 meters above sea level, with the town of San Miguel at 1910 masl. The municipality extends over two of the state's natural regions: the Sierras Volcanicas and the Cuencas Lacustres del Sur, with most of the territory over the latter. The entire municipality belongs to the national Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt . Most of the territory inclines gently from between zero and five percent, with some exceptions where inclines can be as high as 25%. This restricts urban development and agriculture in the area. Prominent elevations include Cerro La Silleta, Cerro Prieto, Cerro La Piena, Cerro La Campana, El Cerro de El Picacho, Tambula, El Maguey, Palo Colorado, Mesa el Peñón, Loma Cuacuato, Mesa la Junta, Loma La Trinidad, Cerro El Común, La Loma, El Cuache and El Carmen. These have an average altitude of 2,200 masl.
The main river in the area is the Laja, which crosses from north to south before finally emptying in the Lerma River in the municipality of Salamanca. The river currently has serious pollution issues because it is used for discharge of wastewater without prior treatment. Most of this discharge is from the residential areas of San Miguel and Dolores Hidalgo. In addition to the river, there are four principal arroyos that pass by the municipal seal, the La Cañadita, El Atascadero, Las Cachinches and El Obraje. The last receives most of the area’s runoff during the rainy season which feeds the Las Colonias and El Obraje dams. The most important dam in the area is the Ignacio Allende dam, located in the west of the municipality. While this dam controls flooding along the Laja River, local residents say that the water collected in its reservoir goes to the area around Guadalajara, far to the west of San Miguel, due to the provisions of the federal act creating the dam and reservoir. Other dams in the area include La Cantera and Bordo Grande located in the south and north of the municipality respectively along with the aforementioned Las Colonias and El Obraje, which are mostly used for irrigation. The municipality also has fresh water, thermal and alkaline springs, many of which are used as ecotourist attractions such as the El Chorro, Montecillo, El Cortijo, Cieneguita, Atotonilco and Taboada spas. One other spa is the El Xoté, which has sulfur-laden waters. The climate in the area is mostly temperate and semi-arid, with average temperatures varying between 16 and 22 °C. Summers are moderately hot with a rainy season that generally producing sporadic thunderstorms. Winters are moderate. The temperature varies between 16 and 22 °C with cool winters. One exception to this is the extreme west of the municipality where the climate is wetter. Ecosystems include shrublands , forests of oak , and areas where nopal cactus and/or grass dominate.
SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
CLIMATE CHART (EXPLANATION )
J F M A M J J A S O N D
14 23 6 7.2 25 7 6 29 10 19 30 12 42 31 14 100 29 14 129 27 14 94 27 14 94 26 14 42 26 11 13 25 8 6.5 23 6
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
J F M A M J J A S O N D
0.5 73 43 0.3 77 45 0.2 83 50 0.7 86 54 1.7 87 57 3.9 84 58 5.1 81 57 3.7 81 57 3.7 79 56 1.6 78 52 0.5 76 47 0.3 74 44
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
CLIMATE DATA FOR SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE (1951-2010)
MONTH JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC YEAR
RECORD HIGH °C (°F) 34.5 (94.1) 35.5 (95.9) 38.0 (100.4) 39.0 (102.2) 39.6 (103.3) 39.0 (102.2) 36.8 (98.2) 36.0 (96.8) 37.0 (98.6) 37.0 (98.6) 34.5 (94.1) 32.5 (90.5) 39.6 (103.3)
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F) 23.0 (73.4) 25.2 (77.4) 28.5 (83.3) 30.2 (86.4) 30.7 (87.3) 29.1 (84.4) 27.2 (81) 27.2 (81) 26.3 (79.3) 25.5 (77.9) 24.6 (76.3) 23.2 (73.8) 26.7 (80.1)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F) 14.5 (58.1) 16.2 (61.2) 19.3 (66.7) 21.3 (70.3) 22.2 (72) 21.7 (71.1) 20.5 (68.9) 20.5 (68.9) 19.9 (67.8) 18.3 (64.9) 16.5 (61.7) 14.8 (58.6) 18.8 (65.8)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F) 6.0 (42.8) 7.3 (45.1) 10.0 (50) 12.4 (54.3) 13.8 (56.8) 14.4 (57.9) 13.9 (57) 13.7 (56.7) 13.5 (56.3) 11.1 (52) 8.4 (47.1) 6.4 (43.5) 10.9 (51.6)
RECORD LOW °C (°F) −3.0 (26.6) −8.0 (17.6) −1.0 (30.2) 1.5 (34.7) 6.0 (42.8) 8.0 (46.4) 6.5 (43.7) 7.0 (44.6) 4.0 (39.2) −2.0 (28.4) −6.0 (21.2) −5.0 (23) −8.0 (17.6)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES) 13.7 (0.539) 7.2 (0.283) 6.0 (0.236) 18.9 (0.744) 42.2 (1.661) 100.1 (3.941) 128.7 (5.067) 94.4 (3.717) 94.2 (3.709) 41.5 (1.634) 12.7 (0.5) 6.5 (0.256) 566.1 (22.287)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION DAYS (≥ 0.1 MM) 2.1 1.1 0.9 2.6 5.2 9.4 11.8 8.3 8.6 4.5 1.8 1.7 58.0
Source: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional
LANDMARKS IN THE MUNICIPALITY
View of part of the ceiling inside the Sanctuary of Atotonilco
With only 597 people as of 2005 , Atotonilco (formally Sanctuary of Atotonilco ) is not the largest community in the municipality, but it is the best known due to its religious sanctuary, which has World Heritage Site status along with the historic center of San Miguel. The sanctuary is located fourteen km outside of the main town and dates from the 18th century. The church building itself has plain, very high walls on the outside, and consists of one large church, with several smaller chapels. It is officially called the "Santuario de Dios y de la Patria" (Sanctuary of God and Country), but it is better known as the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco. It is the church from which Miguel Hidalgo took the Virgin of Guadalupe standard for his army.
The Atotonilco sanctuary has plain high fortress-like walls.
However, the inside is completely covered in murals with a large
number of personages and scenes from the Bible without much overall
structure in how these images were placed. All of the wall and ceiling
space is completely covered with little empty space. This mural work
was done by Miguel Antonio Martínez de Pocasangre over thirty years.
The style of the painting imitates
EL CHARCO DEL INGENIO
Wetland at the Presa Las Colonias, El Charco del Ingenio botanical garden
El Charco del Ingenio is located outside of the town is an ecological reserve and botanical garden which is privately funded. It is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of Mexican flora and propagates mainly cactus species in danger of extinction. The reserve is centered on a canyon, at the bottom of which is a fresh spring which forms a natural pool. The canyon was the center of a number of myths and legends during the pre-Hispanic period. There are the remains of a colonial era aqueduct and other waterworks on the property. This spring was so powerful it was the hydraulic power for an enormous water wheel and water supply to the city (thus, the name "Ingenio"). The water from this spring rose in the fountains throughout colonial San Miguel. An old dam which was part of this complex of hydraulic power became silted. A great flood ensued when the dam broke in 1999 during heavy rains. It is a stable wetland area now for the botanic gardens which has areas of the reserve are crisscrossed with walking paths. There are opportunities for mountain biking, rock climbing, bird watching, camping and horseback riding. There is a gift shop, a juice bar and a cafeteria.
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in
TWIN TOWNS – SISTER CITIES
San Miguel de Allende is twinned with:
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z AA AB AC AD
AE AF AG AH AI "Estado de
* ^ "San Miguel de Allende: Off the Beaten Path - TripAdvisor". www.tripadvisor.com
Links: ------ /wiki/Help:IPA/Spanish /wiki/Municipalities_of_Mexico /wiki/Guanajuato /wiki/Mexico /wiki/Macroregion /wiki/Baj%C3%ADo /#cite_note-1 /wiki/Mexico_City