San Miguel de Allende (El Centro)


Often likened to our very own Santa Fe, the small colonial city of San Miguel de Allende — 170 miles NW of Mexico City — was founded as “San Miguel” in 1542 by a San Franciscan monk, San Miguel El Grande. After it became the centerpiece in the war for Mexican independence from Spain, it was renamed San Miguel de Allende after Ignacio Allende, a hero of the independence movement.

This small city of 80,000 — situated along the Grand Plateau of Mexico, at 6,000+ feet elevation, between the eastern and western branches of the Sierra Madre Mountains — still thrives as the economic and cultural soul of Mexico. Spanish conquistadors ruled while the great colonial cities of Guadalajara, Morelia, Queretaro, Mexico City and Pueblo evolved during the Spanish silver mining era, later playing pivotal roles in the Mexican fight for independence.

Situated on a steep hill, San Miguel’s El Centro opens onto a lovely plaza surrounded by wonderfully colorful facades amongst numerous exceptional churches. It’s narrow cobblestone streets complete its nearly 500 year history, preceding Santa Fe’s recently celebrated 400 year colonial history as our oldest state capital (founded in 1610, also by Spanish colonists). Although Santa Fe is 1,000′ higher than San Miguel, both benefit from year-round moderate temperatures and exceptional high desert light.

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