Guanajuato was founded in 1554 and it, along with the cities of San Miguel de Allende and Dolores Hildago, were considered the birthplace of the Mexican Independence movement.
The city grew around the rich minerals and mining that is in abundance in the area. The silver mines during their height of production produced 2/3 of the entire world's silver! Mining, though to a lesser extent, still actively continues to this day.
Our first stop was the Mummy Museum (Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato). This museum and the mummies on display here have become one of the cultural trademarks of the city. We had no idea what to expect, and we have to admit that the experience of being so close to mummified remains was really creepy and fascinating at the same time.
The caretaker at the time exhumed the first body only to discover that the body was quite well preserved and had not deteriorated to skeletal remains. The caretaker, knowing that this would probably be a phenomenon that would draw people to the area, began putting the bodies on display, propped up against the walls of a warehouse near the cemetery, for people to pay a small admission to see. Thus began the Museum of the Mummies.
It is still unknown why the soil and climate of Guanajuato caused the bodies of the interned to remain so well preserved; therefore, scientists are still studying the mysterious remains to this day.
Guanajuato is now a vibrant university town and that youthful exhuberance can be felt on every street and at every cafe.
The abridged version of the story is that a young girl fell in love with a local boy. However, the girl's father wanted her to marry a rich nobleman. So, the local boy saved his money from working in the mines and bought the house next to his beloved. The two houses' balconies were only inches apart in the narrow alleyway. Each night they would lean across the alley to kiss and hold hands.
One night the father caught his daughter kissing this common boy, and becoming completely enraged, he stabbed his daughter to death. The boy, fraught with grief, killed himself by jumping from the main wall of the Valentian Mine.
Although the tale itself is quite tragic, today it is actually considered good luck to kiss your beloved on the third step in the alley of the kiss. This will ensure that your love will be eternal. We sure hope so, anyway!