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San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is one of the most creative and culturally significant cities in Mexico.  It is considered to be the "jewel" of Mexico.  It is a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city with all the charm of it's 480 years of history.  There is a very active art scene and a plethora of cultural events throughout the year.   It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008.

"San Miguel el Grande" was founded in 1542 by Friar Juan de San Miguel.  A Spanish outpost was created and the city grew in importance as a weaving and leather center as well as a resting place on the "Silver Trail"  in Mexico.

In 1855 San Miguel’s name was changed, to San Miguel de Allende, as a tribute to the heroism of General Ignacio Allende, one of its leading citizens.  He was the driving force in forming the insurgent movement for Mexico’s independence from Spain.   After 300 years of Spanish rule, Mexico’s fight for freedom against the Mother country began in 1810.  After eleven years of bloodshed it became an independent nation in 1821.

San Miguel’s rich and colorful past is something to soak in as you stroll the narrow cobblestone streets.  The beautiful and stunning architectural tapestry of the city is captivating.  The earth toned painted homes, the intricate iron lanterns and balconies as well as plants and flowers spilling over garden walls and rooftops immerse you in an image of days gone by.

The 16th-century architecture in the Centro Histórico is seductive.  There are no stoplights, a variety of delightful little shops to duck into and explore, and then there are the magnificent homes behind the doors.  It has a small town feel yet has a very diverse international population.  About 16,000 expatriots call San Miguel home either on a full time or part time basis.

San Miguel is renowned throughout Mexico for its frequent, vibrant and colorful fiestas.  On any given day there may be a celebration of a Saint, a parade filling the streets with music and dance, followed at night by fireworks bursting in the sky.

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The town flourished in the 18th century with the construction of significant religious and civil architecture, which exhibits the evolution of different trends and styles, from Baroque to late 19th century Neo-Gothic. Urban mansions are exceptionally large and rich for a medium sized Latin American town.

For decades this charming colonial city has attracted artists, writers and travelers from around the world.  Two international schools of fine arts were founded after WWII, thanks to the determination and vision of an American named Stirling Dickenson.  Many American soldiers took advantage of the GI Bill taking a variety of classes in both language and the creative arts that were offered.

Those who appreciate the arts and culture make this city their home for the annual Jazz or Chamber Music festivals during which world renowned musicians perform.  As well there is an International Film Festival every summer during the month of July.

As you stroll along the cobblestone streets shopping or searching for a special place to dine, you can experience the sense of community and multi-generational family life that is so rich and prevalent here.

Those who spend a few days or a lifetime here are privileged to share in the rich and colorful history of this intimate mountain town.  San Miguel has evolved over the past 50 years into a thriving and vibrant art community.

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