San Miguel de Allende, MX 

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La Parroquía (pronounced lah pah-rroh-KEE-ah), the parish church in San Miguel de Allende, is one of the most beloved churches in all of Mexico. In 1880, Ceferino Gutiérrez, an unschooled local Indian, added faux-Gothic spires to the church from locally quarried pink stone. Gutiérrez may have borrowed the design from postcards of Gothic European cathedrals such as Notre Dame. He reportedly guided his uneducated workforce by drawing sketches in the dirt. For this reason, La Parroquía is among the great architectural wonders of the world. The hue of the stone changes with the light at different times of the day. You can see some of the hue difference in the photo above as the shadow of an adjacent building is cast over part of La Parroquía, but the spires near the top are a brighter shade of pink.

Las Iglesias
El Jardín y 

Las Calles

Escuela de Bellas Artes
Los Mariachis
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San Miguel de Allende (pronounced sahn mee-GEHL day ah-YEHN-day) is about a two-hour drive southeast of León. I went here with my friends for a day trip where we spent the day sight-seeing and shopping the flea markets, and ended with hearing the Mariachis play in the plaza. In San Miguel, there are a lot of English speakers (maybe 30-40%) since it is a popular retirement town for Americans. Supposedly, some American actors (such as Brad Pitt) have homes here also. Non-Mexican residents began flocking here in the late 1930s to early 1950s after the Instituto Allende (an art school) was founded. The city now has the reputation of being a writers' and artists' colony. While the city has a lot of international influences, it still retains its 18th century Mexican colonial charm.

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All photos on this site copyright 2008 by Tara Guthrie.