Mission Gate of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

San Miguel de Allende is a small colonial city in the state of Guanajuato in the Bajio mountains of central Mexico.

Founded as “San Miguel el Grande” in 1542 by the Franciscan monk Juan de San Miguel, it became a centerpiece in the war for Mexican independence from Spain. After the war, in 1826, San Miguel was given city status and renamed San Miguel de Allende after Ignacio Allende, a hero of the independence movement, the “first Mexican soldier” and a native of the city. In danger of becoming a ghost town in the early 20th century, the town was declared a national monument in 1926 and building became heavily restricted in the town’s historic centro district, allowing the city to keep the colorful native facades that have become the backdrop of many famous works of art and even modern motion pictures.