Elegant buildings, colorful homes, individual plazas, and winding alleys and streets make Guanajuato one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. Until the beginning of the 15th century it was home to a settlement of Otomi natives, and the name Guanajuato in their Purepecha language means 'hilly place of the frogs.' The Spanish discovered rich silver mines in 1548, and silver has been mined there ever since. At one time 50% of all the silver produced in the world came from this area, and now it's about 25%. In the 16th century it was the richest city in Mexico and this is reflected in the many magnificent buildings.
One of the pleasures of Guanajuato is wandering around its twisting streets and alleys. Because of the steep hills and rough terrain, buildings are placed where they fit. Unlike most Mexican cities, there isn't one central plaza (not enough flat ground for one) but rather a series of plazas.
The Plaza de la Paz, Peace Plaza, is one of the oldest plazas. It's located in front of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato, one of the most recognized landmarks.
We enjoy wandering between all the plazas, each with its own unique character. Recognizing the different plazas help us get around without getting too lost. There is a network of alleys (callejons) almost like a web throughout Guanajuato which connect just about everything (as do the tunnels beneath). Guanajuato is made for walking. Driving is next to impossible as the streets are incredibly narrow.
Jardin de la Union is one of the busiest plazas in the city. The carefully pruned trees form a triangle with a garden in the middle, and restaurants around the sides. The Teatro Juarez and Church of San Diego are in front of the jardin. We visited the Teatro several times and I blogged about it and other parts of Guanajuato here http://briansue2.blogspot.mx/2013/03/guanajuato-and-on-to-arizona.html and here http://briansue2.blogspot.mx/2012/03/guanajuato.html
We had lunch at a restaurant with balconies overlooking the jardin and surrounding area. Great place for people watching.
As we wandered around the city we kept coming across a variety of sculptures. On further investigation we found that many of them were part of a special exhibit by Leonara Carrington. The exhibit was titled 'Las Posibilidades De Los Sueños', or 'The Possibilities of Dreams'.
The exhibit is part of 'Art Outside the Walls', a program of the Museum of Art and History of Guanajuato. The exhibit opened in 2015 with ten bronze sculptures born of the 'fantastic imagery of artist Leonora Carrington, one of the highest representatives of the surrealist movement'.This exhibit was awarded the National Prize for Arts and Sciences, the highest distinction awarded by the government of Mexico in the field of Fine Arts. Carrington was an English born Mexican artist, surrealist painter, and novelist. She lived most of it her adult life in Mexico City, and was one of the last surviving participants in the Surrealist movement of the 1930s.
Her sculptures did seem to come from dreams. We didn't find all ten, but some of the sculptures we saw in the city are shown below.
Some of the sculptures, like this one in front of the University of Guadalajara, had very similar cat-like faces.
Dreams or nightmares, I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder.
The city of Guanajuato is very confusing to navigate. This map shows some of the streets - dotted lines represent tunnels and alleys, you never know which is which until you get there.
Our route from Roca Azul to Guanajuato, 212 miles