A general view shows the 18th-century Canal House mansion, which is considered by UNESCO as an architectural masterpiece for its fusion of baroque and neoclassical architecture, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, August 3, 2015. REUTERS/Walker Simon

(P1) With COBBLESTONE streets and no traffic lights, San Miguel de Allende has the look of a SLEEPY Mexican town.

(P2) But behind the colonial-era FACADES it HUMS with cultural activity. The town of about 80,000 people, barely three hours north of Mexico City, supports an estimated 120 fine art galleries and FOLK ART museums.

(P3) In 2008, UNESCO named San Miguel a World Heritage site, citing it as a CRADLE of Mexican independence and HIGHLIGHTING its INTEGRATION of architectural styles, from BAROQUE to neo-GOTHIC, within a 16th century Spanish colonial LAYOUT.

(P4) The city’s LANDMARK is the Parroquia church facade, with TWISTED lines, pointed arches, and sharp SPIRES said to be inspired by postcards of Gothic European cathedrals.

(P5) It stands opposite the Casa de las Conspiraciones, or Conspiracies House, where local NOTABLES plotted the launch of the Independence War against Spain.

(P6) An early INSURGENT leader was town NAMESAKE Ignacio Allende, and his home on the Jardin is an independence history museum.

(P7) Also on the Jardin is the Canal House mansion, considered by UNESCO as a masterpiece for FUSING the baroque and the NEOCLASSICAL.

(P8) An ECHO of Paris, one block away, is the Immaculate Conception Church’s dome, believed to be modeled on the Hotel des Invalides, where Napoleon is buried.

(P9) The MURALS at the next-door Bellas Artes feature an unfinished work by leading 20th century artist David Alfaro Siqueiros.

(P10) Across the street, Galeria Noel Cayetano specializes in contemporary Oaxacan art, which blends modern MOTIFS with native animal and spirit IMAGERY.

(P11) The style’s best-known PRACTITIONER, Francisco Toledo, is Mexico’s highest-priced living artist, with one painting selling for over $900,000.

(P12) Lower-priced Toledo ENGRAVINGS and Toledo-designed HOUSEWARES and jewelry are offered at Galeria Nudo, also focused on art from Oaxaca, a southern state with THRIVING Indian traditions and languages.

(P13) San Miguel’s biggest art HUB is the 40-gallery Fabrica La Aurora, a former TEXTILE MILL.

(P14) Often OVERLOOKED by visitors are folk art museums like the Mask Museum and the four-floor Mexican Popular Toy Museum, which includes many WHIMSICAL exhibits.

WORDS: 339



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What is the most cultural and historic city in your country?
  3. Do different regions of your country have different artistic and cultural styles?
  4. Do you enjoy visiting museums? What kind?
  5. Do you ever buy art pieces for your home?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Folk art

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