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Salvatierra Guanajuato: A Colonial Jewel You Must Visit

  • Joel CZ 
  • 7 min read
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The city of Salvatierra Guanajuato (Pueblo Magico) is one of the most charming colonial icons of Mexico, and today, I will tell you all about it!

Salvatierra is located in the southern part of the state and was the first town in Guanajuato to hold the city title.

Since colonial times, gorgeous houses, churches and temples, plazas, and bridges have been built in the town, creating an architectural heritage that earned it recognition as a Magical Town in 2012.

Celaya is the nearest city to Salvatierra, only a 40 km drive south on Mexico Highway 51. Querétaro is 84 km away, Guanajuato city 144 km, León 168 km, and Mexico City 283 km away.

Salvatierra Guanajuato history

salvatierra guanajuato
Old ruins in Salvatierra

This town was formed almost exclusively by Spanish families. On April 1, 1644, it reached the rank of “city” through the viceroy García Sarmiento de Sotomayor, executing a disposition of King Felipe IV.

The first name of the community was San Andrés de Salvatierra.

After the second half of the XVII century, the Augustinians, Dominicans, Franciscans, and Carmelites began to erect churches and convents.

The landowners started building the haciendas that would give prosperity to the city.

The Marquisate of Salvatierra was founded in 1707. The Sixth Marquis, Miguel Geronimo Lopez de Peralta, became one of Mexico’s Act of Independence signers and then captain of the Imperial Guard of Mexico’s first emperor, Agustin de Iturbide.

Climate

Salvatierra Guanajuato has an altitude of almost 1,800 meters above sea level. The average annual temperature in the city is 18.5° C.

The warmest season begins in April when temperatures rise above 19° C and increase to around 21° C in the following months.

Between October and November, the temperature drops, reaching its coolest levels in December and January, when it moves between 13 and 16° C.

Occasionally, there may be some intense heat, but seldom above 33° C, while in extreme cold, the temperature can drop as low as 4° C.

In Salvatierra, there’s a 727 mm average of rainfall per year and the season with more precipitation goes from June to September.

What to do and see in Salvatierra Guanajuato?

salvatierra guanajuato
Main square

Salvatierra is a paradise for architecture lovers, both civil and religious.

Hidalgo Street (formerly Calle Real) and others in the historic center are flanked by beautiful mansions, generally one-story, with wide portals that allow the entrance of carriages.

They were built by wealthy local landowners and merchants from the founding of the town until the 20th century.

Next to the civil buildings stand out the temples and former convents, which, due to their height, sturdiness and beauty, dominate the architectural landscape of the Magical Town.

If nature and outdoor activities are your things, El Sabinal Ecopark, located on the banks of the river that crosses the town, offers a space for rest and tranquility.

Important religious buildings

  • The lavishly baroque-style convent of El Carmen is considered the most sumptuous in the city
  • The parish church of Nuestra Señora de la Luz, located in front of the main garden, is dedicated to the patron saint of the city and is of baroque style, with two majestic towers
  • The former convent of the Capuchinas was dedicated to the female monastic life and is distinguished by the clean stonework
salvatierra guanajuato
Templo de Nuestra Señora de la luz

The temple of San Francisco is an elegant building with three altars in its interior, with the main one dedicated to San Buenaventura.

Next to the temple is the Museum of Father José Joaquín Pérez Budar, a schismatic priest from Oaxaca martyred in 1931 during the Cristero War.

The temple of Señor del Socorro venerates a figure of Christ that was found surprisingly carved inside the bark of a tree.

Civil architecture

The main square (Jardin principal) is a large plaza in Guanajuato with lush trees, beautiful hedges and lawns, and a French-designed kiosk in the center.

It is the central meeting place in Salvatierra, which I recommend you stroll around it while eating a local artisan sorbet or an antojito (a Mexican snack).

salvatierra guanajuato
Main Square

The property, now called the Marquisate of Salvatierra, was the spacious country house that the Marquises of Salvatierra had in the town.

In front of the Main Garden, the Municipal Palace is a 19th-century building erected on the site where the Casa del Mayorazgo of the Marquises of Salvatierra was located.

Other places of interest

The Portal de la Columna is a 17th-century structure distinguished by its 28 monolithic columns and 33 semicircular arches.

The Discalced Carmelites built it, and its name is not due to its sturdy columns but to a niche with a painting of the Lord of the Column that stood there and is now in the sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de la Luz.

The imposing Mercado Hidalgo dates from the Porfiriato, and like many buildings of the period, it has a classic clock.

This market has 130 stalls inside, and it is still in service. Other civil structures that stand out in Salvatierra and that you cannot miss are the Batanes Bridge, the Fuente de Perros, and the Municipal Historical Archive and City Museum.

Salvatierra Guanajuato: Gastronomy and handicrafts

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Beautiful handicrafts

Salvatierra’s artisans make delicately embroidered tablecloths, napkins, and paper mache figures.

They also skillfully work pottery, turning clay into beautiful little jars, jugs, and other pieces of practical and ornamental use.

As for the most typical dishes, in Salvatierra, they are fond of tacos al pastor, which have the local name of tacos de trompo (spinning top tacos).

Some other classic dishes include pork carnitas, peanut tamales, wheat gorditas, and puchas made with mezcal.

Where to stay, and eat?

In Salvatierra, several hotels are located in colonial mansions, comfortable and ideal for exploring the town on foot.

San José (12 rooms) and San Andrés (14) are two small lodgings, and guests are treated like family.

Ibio and Misión San Pablo are larger but always within the range of small hotels.

Many people going to Salvatierra stay in other cities like Celaya. For lunch, you can go to La Veranda, which has live music in the evenings; or La Bella Epoca, an excellent Mexican restaurant.

There is also Bistro 84, El Sazón Mexicano and Café El Quijote.

What are the main festivals?

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The Marquesada Festival

The Buen Temporal festival dates back to the antiquity of the town.

It is celebrated on the second Sunday of November in the neighborhood of San Juan when the streets are beautifully decorated with garlands, fruits, vegetables, and flowers, and the “Alborada” is held, a musical competition between wind ensembles in which people dance until they are exhausted.

The patron saint festivities in honor of Nuestra Señora de la Luz are in May, and the Candelaria fair is held for ten days around February 2, with bullfights, jaripeo, folklore bands, street theater, and other attractions.

The Marquesada Festival is between late September and early October, with bullfighting and musical and cultural street events.

Well, now you know. If you ever happen to visit Guanajuato, try to make a stop in this Pueblo Magico. And don’t forget to share your comments or questions below.

See you next time!

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