Language be Baptism: Parte Tres

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Enjoyed a spectacular visit to Guanajuato yesterday with several other students in the AHA! program.

The city of Guanajuato (Gto) began as a mining encampment in the eighteenth century. It was soon realized that the mountains around Gto held an especially large amount of silver. In fact, by the early nineteenth century, the Gto mines were providing a full third of the world’s silver. A full third! This was the motherlode! The definite article!

Lots of money meant it was time to build a city. Which the city’s founders did.

Situated in a valley with steep mountains all around, well, the city ended up being built in a river bed.

Not a good move, founding folks realized in time: floods ravaged the place; buildings’ foundations began to rock and sink.

Yet there were no options to rebuild elsewhere, somewhere up some slope out of the river bed; so city builders built up, above the first foundation, constructing streets to divert flooding waters and building up sixteen or so feet of new foundation around these streets, utilizing rubble from the mines.

What this amounts to today is a downtown area filled with architectural wonders (they once had a lot of money, remember), and a whole network of underground roads and tunnels–all built by hand(!) in the nineteenth century.

My day in Gto in photos follows. If you’d like to research this magnificent place more, it is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites here: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/482

Entonces, Gto in pictures:

At the drop-off point:

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Looking around a bit:

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The granary, where a violent massacre took place in 1810, led by Hidalgo, a Jesuit priest. Notice the bullet holes (from this very battle) in the top half of the wall:

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Next stop, the Diego Rivera Museum. It’s the house where this influential artist was born and lived until six years of age. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to photograph much:

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Some downtown sights:

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The above photo highlights a building designed by the architect of the Eiffel Tower. And inside:

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By the way, lunch cost 12 pesos, or roughly 65 cents:

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And now, to descend! A few photos are not the best–most likely due to the photographer’s limited skills. I include them nevertheless, to convey the idea:

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After returning to street level, we concluded our day with a 20-minute walk to and tour of El Museo de las Momias, Gto’s Museum of the Mummies. I took no photos inside, but some friends did. Perhaps I will be able to pilfer a few for a future post.

Until next time then, Saludos!

 

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One Response to “Language be Baptism: Parte Tres”

  1. Oye vi y aprendi mas que nunca con tus fotos! Excelente! Mucho exito, amigo!

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