San Luis de la Paz Mexico
San Luis de la Paz, best known for its preservation of provincial relics, captures the imagination with its rough cobbled streets and tree blended avenues, decorated conservatively with colonial mansions and historic iglesias. Located afoot the Central Mexico mountain range in the far North East of Guanajuato State, San Luis de la Paz is a municipality swathed by Otomi legends. Nearby Bernalejo Hill and the Bridge of God are said to be sites of countless Christian visions – many illustrated for posterity by the native 18th Century Chichimecas, within the caves of Bernalejo.
Mineral de Pozos, a known 16th Century mining town nestling among the foothills of Pozos Mountain has become one of the municipality's most famous attractions. Less than a century ago, this desolate ghost town thrived through its nourishment and exploration of the land, which fed a gold, silver and copper boom for over 200 years. As the scarcity of such minerals became apparent, so too did the future of the town with migrants fleeing impending recession, to the relative safety of San Luis de la Paz. The Otomi Indians left behind a wealth of cultural legacies – not least the half-finished church, which many had regarded as a symbol of the town's anchorage and future. Guided tours from San Luis de la Paz take in much of the “old mining country”, including the once prosperous mineshaft at Pozos Canyon.
Given its size, San Luis de la Paz is surprisingly omitted from the majority Guanajuato travel guides - possibly since it isn't that populous and hasn't really embraced tourism. The history of this elegant colonial town extends back to its official foundation in 1567 by a group of friars. Developing a small mission (Camino Real) atop a table-like hill, little did they know it would go down in history as the first Jesuit mission in all Mexico. The ruinous mission buildings remain a prominent point of interest for visitors today, as much for religious significance as anything else.
Strolling through the leafy streets of San Luis de la Paz, visitors often marvel at the number of cathedral-like structures littering the town. Three key iglesias (churches) of 18th Century origin lie under a mile from one another, within what has become known as the “Triangle of God”. Dedicated to the icon of San Luis, the Parroquia de San Luis Rey is a captivating building, decorated in the Porfirian style with ornamental twin towers and reliefs above the nave door. Santuario de la Virgen de Gaudelupe emulates the ornamental facade with neo-Gothic additions, however hosts a far more decadent interior with barrel vaulted ceilings and a gold-leaf shrine dedicated to “Our Lady of Guadelupe.” Charming visitors with its tranquil setting amid the lofty peaks of Central Mexico, the vivacious city of San Luis de la Paz could be a strong contender for SECTUR's next “Pueblo Magicos” announcement!