Saturday, August 27, 2016

Terraces of San Miguel

The focus of the blog is, of course, music, but occasionally I get the urge to wander off the plantation. One blog I enjoy from time to time is that of Ann Althouse, who has an interesting and quirky take on a lot of things. One way she livens up her blog is to put up the occasional post of photos she has taken. I think I might start doing this as well. Just for fun.

Let's kick off with some photos I have taken from various roof terraces in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where I live. As you can see, there are lots of good reasons to have a roof terrace in San Miguel, not the least of which is from some of them you can see six or seven 18th century churches.

San Miguel de Allende, in the state of Guanajuato, is in central Mexico at an altitude of 6400 feet. It is one of the so-called "Colonial Silver Cities", that is, one of the places founded by the Spanish and connected with silver mining. By the 18th century, Mexico was the world's leading producer of silver. The mines were not located in San Miguel itself, but in Guanajuato, the state capitol, and other towns including Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí. San Miguel was just a stopping place for the caravans on their way from the silver mines to Mexico City. This was what preserved the city. As the silver mines production wound down, San Miguel came close to being a ghost town and in 1926 the federal government of Mexico declared it an historic monument. To this day, the central historic district preserves its colonial appearance. The Wikipedia article I linked above is a fairly extensive and accurate description of San Miguel.

But I just want to put up a few photos I have taken from various roof terraces over a number of years. San Miguel is a hilly place and, depending on where you are in town, you get completely different perspectives on the architecture. The feature that stands out wherever you are, are the colonial-era churches, of which there are seven large ones.

This is a photo I took years ago, early one morning. The city was wreathed in fog with the churches sticking out above. You can see three churches in this photo: from the left, the Inmaculada Concepcion Church, which is called "Las Monjas" (the nuns) as it is a nunnery, its bell tower, the San Francisco church and its bell tower and the neo-Gothic facade of the Parroquia church. In the middle is a hot air balloon!

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To show you what I mean about different perspectives, here is another shot of these same three churches, but this time taken from the northwest looking southeast instead of from the southwest looking northeast. From left to right are the San Francisco church, the Parroquia and Las Monjas:

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San Miguel's Parroquia, located on the central square, is one of the most-photographed churches in Mexico:

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The next photo was taken late one afternoon when the sun's rays were slanting under a layer of cloud, giving quite an interesting aura to the shot. It just shows part of the terrace, some Mediterranean cyprus and a charming cupola of a neighboring house constructed with glass bricks.

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This one was taken from my terrace and shows a jacaranda tree in full bloom:

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Here is a shot from another terrace of the moon, just becoming visible in the late afternoon/early evening:

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Taken at the same location and same time, this shot looks toward the city center where you can see those same churches again. This time the order, from left to right, is Las Monjas, the Parroquia and the San Francisco church. They always stick out, wherever you are, because they are so much higher than any of the other structures. In the immediate foreground you can see an elaborately carved limestone bench, part of the terrace.

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It's not all churches, of course, here is a shot I took last winter of los Picachos, the range of hills lying to the south of town. That white stuff you see is actual snow! Yes, because of the altitude it is, barely, possible to have snow here. It occurs about every thirty years and lasts a few hours. Just on the hills, of course!

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Let's have one last shot. This one is from my terrace again, with that jacaranda tree, but this time it is early in the morning and that hot air balloon is out again:

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I hope you have enjoyed this little photo essay from the terraces of San Miguel! Please comment if you did. Or if you didn't!

5 comments:

Christine Lacroix said...

Wow, stunning pictures. I had no idea you lived in such a beautiful place. Lucky you! Thanks for sharing!

Marc Puckett said...

Great photos of a lovely city! Are you wearing shorts? :-)

Bryan Townsend said...

Yes, it is a very special place! I do wear shorts, but only around the house, not out in public.

8^)

Marc Puckett said...

Dr Althouse smiles.

Bryan Townsend said...

Adult men in Latin America don't usually wear shorts in public. If you see someone in town wearing shorts here it is almost certain to be a foreigner or a younger Mexican who is following American fashion!