Its nickname is the “Cradle of Independence.” A diminutive, yet colorful city occupying the verdant lowlands between the Comanja and Codorniz Mountains of North Central Guanajuato; it was here the martyr Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla gave the “Cry For Independence” (“el grito”) on September 16th, 1810. That “cry” signaled the commencing of Mexico's revolt against Spanish domination and the return to a peace unknown since Spanish conquistadors took down the Aztec Empire in 1521. Ciudad Dolores Hidalgo is today considered the birthplace of freedom, thus looked upon as a living, breathing memorial to the many who fought for Mexico – including the prolific priest Don Miguel Hidalgo, whom was subsequently executed for leading the revolts on 30th July, 1811.
Dolores Hidalgo may be the birthplace of Mexican Independence, however it refuses to remain just a sombre memorial ground. At an elevation of 1,725 meters above sea-level, the city enjoys a relatively comfortable climate - winds from the mountains cooling the veritable tropical climate. Its a welcome departure from the rising heat of Mexico City, particularly since the climate has also influenced a lush, green surrounding terrain that makes this location a perfect base for extreme activities and adventure. El Potrero Chico, less than 3km South of the city is a world renowned climbing hot-spot, featuring sheer limestone cliffs in excess of 2,000 feet high. It has been recorded by several leading sports-climbing publications as one of the top ten must-climb locations in the world.
With a lofty elevation and fascinating history, the sprawl of Dolores Hidalgo is often described as ethereal. Great Baroque spires and turrets loom upward, meeting the swirling mountain mists that tend to descend in the height of summer. The streets resemble a patchwork of color – slate greys, terracotta interruptions and huge white expanses conveying the melange of cultures and architectural legacies left behind, by long gone civilizations. Built in the churrigueresque style popular within 16th Century Spain, the Paroquia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores remains one of the most important buildings in the city. If you can get past its splendid exterior, you'll learn that this was the place Don Miguel Hidalgo uttered that immortalized cry in 1810. On 16th September, 1891, a bronze statue was erected to commemorate the city's hero and still stands today just across the street. The Casa de Miguel Hidalgo is also well worth a visit – the home of the great priest until March, 1811.
Forever entwined with the beginnings of Mexico, one can easily be distracted by the plethora of museums and monuments commemorating the Revolution. Dolores Hidalgo was granted status as a “Pueblos Magicos” back in 2002 largely because of its historical heritage, yet there's more beneath the skin of the city than many visitors realize. Dolores Hidalgo still retains a significant population of indigenous natives – many descended from the early Dolores Indians. Famed for their Talavera pottery and intricate ceramic work, the Dolores people are extremely welcoming and invite visitors to absorb a little of their own culture within exuberant open-air markets and weekly Central Plaza demonstrations.
Attractions & Things To Do in Dolores Hidalgo
Paroquia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores – the church from which Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla uttered that never forgotten “Cry of Independence” remains one of the most important religious and political structures in Mexico. While many drop by to view the balcony upon which Don Miguel Hidalgo once stood, the Paroquia invites visitors to experience the opulent beauty and architectural marvels within. Open: Daily, 10 am – 5 pm, except Sundays.
Casa de Miguel Hidalgo – home to the great priest Miguel Hidalgo, the exuberant casa remains a modern museum and monument, largely unchanged since the 1800's. Open: Monday – Friday, 10 am – 4 pm.