Guanajuato is one of Mexico's federal states. It's located to the northwest of Mexico City and more or less halfway between the capital and Guadalajara. Its central location makes it very much at the heart of Mexico but it's also the historical heart of the country, since it was at the center of Mexico's fight for independence.
The state's capital is known as Guanajuato too. It's a World Heritage Site and it was here that the first battle in Mexico's War of Independence was fought. With its colonial architecture and mountain location, it's one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico and also home to the fascinating Mummy Museum.
One of the heroes in the struggle for independence was Ignacio Allende and he was born in the city that then became known as San Miguel de Allende. This charming city is a World Heritage Site too and it's long been a mecca for artists. Near the city you'll find another World Heritage Site, the stunning Sanctuary of Atotonilco.
Modern Mexico started with a cry for independence, uttered by Father Miguel Hidalgo. He did this in Dolores Hidalgo, which now boasts the Independence Museum and other sights related to the independence movement. It's also the town where Jose Alfredo Jimenez is buried. Jimenez was that most important figure in 'ranchera', a type of Mexican country music.
There are various tourist routes that you can follow to explore everything the state of Guanajuato has to offer. For example, follow the Independence Route to the sites that are important in the history of the War of Independence. Otherwise, try an adventure route to explore nature and for adventure activities or go back in time with the archaeological route.
A route made for shopaholics is the one that has handicrafts as theme. It will take you to cities such as Dolores Hidalgo for its famous ceramics and to Leon, the most populous of Guanajuato's cities, for the almost bewildering array of shoes you can buy here. Along the way you'll also get to visit small towns that each specialize in something specific, such as silver, bronze, woodwork, glass, woolen clothing, tequila or other liquors and certain types of food.
The easiest way to visit is to fly into the city of Guanajuato, which has flight connections to several destinations in the USA and Mexico. At the airport, you'll be able to hire a car. Several car-hire companies will also supply a driver but it's a good idea to book this service online before you arrive.
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