Barrio Guadalupe, San Miguel’s Wild Child

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, is one of my favorite places on earth. The city’s historic center is  gorgeous and walk-able and friendly. On any day, you are likely to find parades and processions and music. But, partly because of its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city’s historic center follows an elaborate set of rules…. how you can decorate your building, the colors you can paint your building, the kinds of signs you can hang, and the kind of noise you can make, among other things. It’s ordered and traditional.

But a few blocks from the historic center in barrio Guadalupe, the rules don’t apply….

Churches and cupolas are allowed in the historic center.

Donkey parking is allowed in the historic center

Bougainvillea and warm colors are allowed in the historic center

Antique stores and hanging out are allowed in the historic center.

The rules don’t apply in Guadalupe because, in 2013, a group of barrio residents told the city they wanted to do something different, and the city agreed. Today, the barrio is loaded with street art, mostly murals painted by artists from all over the world.

Anne-Lene and I went on a wonderful walking tour of the neighborhood on Monday and here is a little of what we saw.

I love this one, an abstract portrait of the clothes on the line behind it.

Anne-Lene checks out a mural of one of Mexico’s favorite folk heroes, the jaguar.

The murals in Guadalupe refer to Mexican culture, history and folklore, and each has a story. And like the rest of life, they are not intended to be permanent. They fade and chip. Some will be painted over with unauthorized graffiti. Occasionally, the city will come through with paint that follows the rules of the historic center, and a mural disappears. No one seems to get too excited about the loss of a beloved mural. A new mural appears with a new story.

You can learn more about the murals and their stories on a walking tour with Colleen, who founded Muros En Blanco to promote and protect the art projects in Guadalupe. You just need to show up at Via Organica at 10am on a Monday, Thursday or Friday.

Just one more reason to visit San Miguel….

My favorite mural in San Miguel so far


    1. And maybe that is one reason I (and many other Americans) are here. Mexico is rich in culture and history and kindness. It’s hard to go home right now! Thanks Rosaliene!

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