This month marks a historic time for the people of Mexico, as it brings a much-anticipated visit from Pope Benedict XVI. The pope will be traveling through Cuba in addition to Mexico, where he will be from March 23-29.
Among the stops on the itinerary for the visit is the city of Guanajuato . Rolling cobblestone streets, brightly colored stucco homes dotting the hills, and optimal weather make the colonial city of Guanajuato arguably one of the most beautiful in all of Mexico.
Built into a canyon at 6,600 feet, Guanajuato is unique in its structure and culture. Visitors can ride a cable car to a lookout from where they can view the domes and spires of the entire city; underground tunnels that now transport city traffic brings to mind a scene from life during the Middle Ages; and the people of Guanajuato are colorful and diverse.
Guanajuato is also home to some of the best cuisine in the country, though the city doesn’t feature the high number of high-end restaurants found in more popular tourist cities such as San Miguel de Allende. “The best cooking in Guanajuato goes on inside home kitchens and can be sampled at taco stands or in the metallic-domed Mercado Hidalgo,” an article in Huffington Post raves about the city.
But perhaps it is Guanajuato’s rich history that is the most interesting of all. It is a history which seeps out of every part of the city: the Callejon del Beso, two balconies which touch across a narrow alley, was the supposed scene of a star-crossed love affair similar to that found in Romeo and Juliet; tourists from all corners of the globe visit the famous Mummies of Guanajuato; and Mexican icon Hidalgo and other independence leaders were captured and executed here during Mexico’s War of Independence.
It is this strong tie to Mexico’s independence that makes Guanajuato such an appropriate setting for a papal visit. The site of the first battle in the Mexican War of Independence, the city has become a beacon that represents Mexico’s history, culture and very independence.