San Miguel de Allende's Colorful History

The Conquistadors began their search for precious metals in the Sierra Madre Mountains in the central area of Mexico after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire in 1521. Much of the silver and gold mined during the three centuries of Spanish rule was transported back to Spain. San Miguel, because of its central location, became a stopping point on the “silver trail” as the transports headed to the awaiting ships.

San Miguel el Grande was founded in 1542 by Friar Juan de San Miguel.  A Spanish outpost was created and the city grew in importance as a weaving and leather center.

In 1855 San Miguel’s name was changed, to San Miguel de Allende, as a tribute to the heroism of General Ignacio Allende, one of its leading citizens.  He was the driving force in forming the movement for Mexico’s independence from Spain.   Mexico’s fight for freedom against the mother country began in 1810.  After eleven years of bloodshed, it became an independent nation in 1821.

San Miguel’s rich and colorful past is apparent as you stroll the narrow cobblestone streets.  The beautiful and stunning architectural tapestry of the city is captivating.

San Miguel is renowned throughout Mexico for its frequent, vibrant and colorful fiestas.  On any given day there may be a celebration of a Saint, a parade filling the streets with music and dance, followed at night by fireworks bursting in the sky.  

San Miguel de Allende is situated on a mountainous plateau 180 miles N.W. of Mexico City, and is Mexico’s most picturesque colonial town. It overlooks the broad sweep of the Guanajuato Mountains in the Sierra Madre Occidental Range.

San Miguel spills down a hillside, and across its landscape is a profusion of colorful homes.  The beautifully preserved historical center remains a small aristocratic gem, with its 18th C mansions, exceptional architecture, and flower filled patios secluded behind walls with magnificently carved heavy doors.

For decades this charming colonial city has attracted artists, writers and travelers from around the world.  Two international schools of fine arts were founded after WWII, thanks to the determination and vision of an American named Stirling Dickenson.  Many GIs took advantage of the variety of classes in language and the creative arts that were offered.

Many music lovers make the city their home for the annual Jazz and Chamber Music festivals during which world renowned musicians perform.

In the mornings, at the principle plaza (El Jardin), you can sit on one of the many benches amongst the friendly Mexicans and expatriates  watching the activities of the day unfold. A few blocks away is the old market (El Mercado). Inside you’ll find a rainbow of colors provided by the flowers, vegetables, fruits and handmade piñatas. The market is always a hub of activity.
As you walk along the cobblestone streets shopping or looking for a place to dine, you can experience the sense of community and multi-generational family life that is so rich and prevalent here.

Those who spend a few days or a lifetime here are privileged to share in the rich and colorful history of this intimate mountain town.  San Miguel has evolved over the past 50 years into a thriving and vibrant art community.


San Miguel de Allende's Weather

San Miguel has a pleasant spring-like climate throughout the entire year. The average temperature is about 55-57 degrees in the morning, with warm and sunny afternoons in the upper 70s to mid 80s.  It then cools down again at night in to the mid 50s.... ahhh "sweater weather".  At 6500 feet above sea level, the climate is similar to that of Colorado during the Summer months.  The humidity and the temperatures are kept low and the air is clean and refreshing and the night skies are fabulous to gaze upon.

Many tourists from Canada and the northern states come to San Miguel during the Winter months, where they can enjoy beautiful sunny days in the mid 70s instead of the ice, snow and freezing temperatures at home.  The winter mornings and nights still afford time in front of the fireplaces as the temps can dip in to the upper 30s occasionally.  The normal Winter lows are in the mid to upper 40s.  However, it still reaches the mid to upper 70s on a typical Winter afternoon.

The rainy season arrives after the hot dry month of May has passed, and San Miguel goes through a transformation into an oasis paradise.  The countryside turns a verdant green and the streams being to run and the fields get irrigated.  The months of June, July, August and September are just heavenly.  There is usually a brief shower in the late afternoon during the Summer months up until the end of September.  It is wonderful to listen to the thunderstorms rumble through the mountains in the late Summer afternoons. Everyday seems like a little slice of heaven on earth in our beloved San Miguel.

.... Conde' Nast and Travel & Leisure rate San Miguel as one of the "Top 20 Cities of the World".

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