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Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines

Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines

Founded by the Spanish in the early 16th century, Guanajuato became the world's leading silver-extraction centre in the 18th century. This past can be seen in its 'subterranean streets' and the 'Boca del Inferno', a mineshaft that plunges a breathtaking 600 m. The town's fine Baroque and neoclassical buildings, resulting from the prosperity of the mines, have influenced buildings throughout central Mexico. The churches of La Compañía and La Valenciana are considered to be among the most beautiful examples of Baroque architecture in Central and South America. Guanajuato was also witness to events which changed the history of the country.

Ville historique de Guanajuato et mines adjacentes

Fondée par les Espagnols au début du XVIe siècle, la ville est devenue le premier centre mondial d'extraction de l'argent au XVIIIe siècle. On retrouve ce passé dans ses « rues souterraines » et la « Boca del Infierno », puits de mine impressionnant qui plonge à 600 m sous terre. L'architecture et les éléments décoratifs des bâtiments baroques et néoclassiques de la ville, résultat de la prospérité des mines, ont eu une influence considérable sur l'industrie de la construction dans une grande partie du centre du Mexique. Ses églises, La Compañía et La Valenciana, sont considérées parmi les plus beaux exemples d'architecture baroque d'Amérique centrale et du Sud. Guanajuato fut aussi témoin d'événements déterminants pour l'histoire du pays.

المدينة التاريخية في غواناخواتو والمناجم المجاورة

أصبحت هذه المدينة التي أسّسها الأسبان في بداية القرن السادس عشر المركز العالمي الأول لاستخراج الفضة في القرن الثامن عشر. ونجد هذا الماضي في "طرقاتها تحت الأرض" و"بوكا ديل اننفييارنو" وبئر المناجم المذهلة التي يصل عمقها إلى 600 متر تحت الأرض. كما أن هندسة المباني الباروكية والكلاسيكية الحديثة وعناصرها التزيينيّة في المدينة والتي هي ناتجة عن الازدهار الذي سبّبته المناجم، كان لها تأثيرٌ عظيمٌ على صناعة البناء في جزءٍ كبيرٍ من وسط المكسيك. وتُعتبر كنيستَها "لا كومبانيا" و"لا فالانسيانا" من أجمل الأمثلة على الهندسة الباروكية في أميركا الوسطى والجنوبية. كما تشهد غواناخواتو أيضًا على أحداث ساهمت في تحديد تاريخ البلاد.

source: UNESCO/ERI

瓜纳托历史名城及周围矿藏

瓜纳托城由西班牙人在16世纪初期建立,到18世纪时,它发展成为世界上最主要的银矿开采中心。这段历史可以从其现存的“地下街”和“地狱之口”得到证实,“地狱之口”指的是当地的一口矿井,其深度竟然达到了600米。瓜纳托城矿山鼎盛时期建造了许多巴洛克风格和新古典主义风格的建筑,这对于整个墨西哥中部的建筑风格产生了深远影响。那里的两座教堂——拉科姆帕尼阿教堂和拉巴伦宪阿教堂,被认为是中美洲和南美洲地区最漂亮的巴洛克式建筑。瓜纳托城同时也见证了改变墨西哥历史的许多重大事件。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Исторический город Гуанахуато и прилегающие рудники

Основанный испанцами в начале XVI в., Гуанахуато в XVIII в. стал мировым лидером по добыче серебра. О прошлом этого города напоминают его «подземные улицы» и Бока-дель-Инферно («адская пропасть») – шахтный ствол, проникающий в землю на глубину 600 м. Прекрасные здания города в стилях барокко и классицизма, созданные благодаря процветанию горной добычи на шахтах, оказали влияние на строительство во всей центральной Мексике. Церкви Ла-Компания и Ла-Валенсьяна считаются одними из самых прекрасных примеров архитектуры барокко в Центральной и Южной Америке. Город Гуанахуато был также связан с событиями, которые изменили историю страны.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Ciudad histórica de Guanajuato y minas adyacentes

Fundada por los españoles a comienzos del siglo XV, esta ciudad se convirtió en el primer centro mundial de extracción de la plata en el siglo XVIII. Su pasado minero ha quedado plasmado en las “calles subterráneas” y el impresionante pozo minero de la “Boca del infierno”, que tiene una profundidad de 600 metros. La arquitectura y los elementos ornamentales de los edificios barrocos y neoclásicos de la ciudad, construidos a raíz de la prosperidad de las minas, ejercieron una influencia considerable en las construcciones de una gran parte del centro de México. Las iglesias de la Compañía de Jesús y la Valenciana figuran entre los más hermosos ejemplares de la arquitectura barroca de Centroamérica y Sudamérica. Guanajuato fue también protagonista de acontecimientos que cambiaron el rumbo de la historia de México.

source: UNESCO/ERI

古都グアナフアトとその銀鉱群

source: NFUAJ

Historische stad en mijnen van Guanajuato

Guanajuato werd in het begin van de 16e eeuw gesticht door de Spanjaarden. De stad ontwikkelde zich vanaf de 18e eeuw tot ’s werelds belangrijkste centrum voor zilverwinning. Het mijnverleden is terug te vinden in de ‘ondergrondse straten’ en de ‘Boca del Inferno’, een mijnschacht van wel 600 meter diep. De prachtige barokke en neoklassieke gebouwen in de stad – het resultaat van de welvaart van de mijnen –hebben bouwwerken in heel centraal Mexico beïnvloed. De kerken La Compañía en La Valenciana worden gerekend tot de mooiste voorbeelden van barokke architectuur in Midden en Zuid-Amerika.

Source: unesco.nl

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View over the historic town of Guanajuato, Province of Guanajuato, Mexico, UNESCO World Heritage Site Vue sur la ville Historique de Guanajuato, Etat de Guanajuato, Mexique, Site du Patrimoine Mondial de l’UNESCO Aussicht auf die historische Stadt Guanajuato, Provinz Guanajuato, Mexiko, Welterbe der UNESCO © M & G Therin-Weise
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief Synthesis

The cultural landscape of the Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines comprises a superb collection of Neoclassical and Baroque buildings as well as the industrial infrastructure for an extensive silver mine all set in a remarkable landscape of hills and deep winding valleys at an altitude of 2,084 metres.

In the mid-16th century, Spaniards discovered rich outcrops of silver in the hills of Guanaxhuata in central Mexico. They built four fortifications at Marfil, Tepetapa, Santa Anna, and Cerro del Cuarto to protect their mines. These forts formed the nuclei of the historic town whose urban evolution was dictated by the rugged topography. Unlike many colonial towns in the region that were laid out on a grid pattern, Guanajuato became a sprawling town stretching along the narrow winding valley exhibiting a remarkable adaptation of its layout to topography in the organization of its narrow streets, gardens, piazzas and buildings and subterranean streets. Additional infrastructure was built for water management particularly to in response to major flooding in the late 18th century.

By the 18thcentury, Guanajuato had become the world’s largest silver-extraction centre and the impressive Baroque buildings like the Teatro Juárez, Hidalgo Market and the Alhondiga de Granaditas reflected its wealth. The churches of La Compañia (1745-1765) and La Valenciana (1765-1788) are considered to be masterpieces of the Mexican Churriguesresque style.

The property covers 190 hectares and includes the urban area of Guanajuato as well as evidence of its industrial heritage such as the “Boca del Infierno” a mineshaft that plunges 600 metres. The industrial past is also reflected in its intangible cultural heritage. The area’s distinctive traditions have developed through a unique contribution of residents of the area, a combination of indigenous nomadic tribes and Spanish settlers all influenced by various religious orders,

Criterion (i): Guanajuato possesses several of the most beautiful examples of Baroque architecture in the New World. The churches of La Compañía (1745-1765) and above all La Valenciana (1765-1788) are masterpieces of the Mexican Churrigueresque style. In the field of the history of technology, Guanajuato may also pride itself on unique artistic achievements such as the ‘Boca del Infierno”’, a 12 metres in diameter that plunges a breathtaking 600 metres.

Criterion (ii): The influence of Guanajuato was felt in the majority of the mining towns of northern Mexico from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Though more modest due to the tardy appearance of the process of industrialisation, Guanajuato’s place in world technological history is nonetheless far from negligible.

Criterion (iv): Guanajuato is an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble that incorporates the industrial and economic aspects of a mining operation. Just as the major 18th century hydraulic works are inextricably linked to an urban topography determined by the confines of the river path and mineral outcrops, so the Baroque buildings are directly linked to the wealth of the mines. The church of La Valenciana and the Casa Rul y Valenciana were financed by the most prosperous mines. The more modest operations of Cata and Mellado also boasted churches, palaces or houses located near the mines or in the town.

Criterion (vi) : Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines is directly and tangibly associated with world economic history, particularly that of the 18th century.

Integrity 

The Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines is a cultural landscape defined by its industrial past and surrounding topography. The 190-hectare property contains the historic town, with Baroque and Neoclassical monuments, as well as significant industrial elements related to the silver mines. The cultural landscape also includes the roads and bridges, tunnels, an underground river and other natural elements.

The integrity of the historic town, in particular its layout and scale within the river valley, is threatened by population growth and the resulting urban pressure. New buildings, such as high rises and development in the upper part of the valley, threaten the overall characteristic of the landscape. The growth of the tourism industry is also likely to have a negative impact and threaten the integrity of the historic town if it is not carefully managed.

Authenticity

The surviving form of the historic town reflects its origins, based on the four original forts and on a formal urban plan, as well as its growth, dictated by topography in a winding valley. The city’s present economy is still in part dependent on the ongoing mining operations. Major Baroque style buildings have been preserved and serve as witnesses to the city’s former wealth and influence. The city retains an intangible heritage in its unique mixture of customs and traditions developed by the migration of people from other regions.

Protection and management requirements

Ownership of properties in the historic town is under a mixture of public ownership though the federal government and the municipality as well as private citizens. Deterioration to the city’s rich cultural heritage prompted the authorities’ concern resulting in the establishment of various laws and regulations for cultural heritage preservation and to prevent irreversible destruction. The 1953 law to protect the historic town was one of the first such laws in the country. Moreover, since 1982, protection for the historic town is the responsibility of Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH) under the Ministry of Public Education. Moreover, the national Ministry for Urban Development and Environmental Protection, which is responsible for urban growth and development, collaborates with the State of Guanajuato through a 1953 law for the protection and conservation of the City of Guanajuato.

The establishment of a school of architecture with an institute of restoration in the 1960s has provided assistance with certain local projects. Conservation efforts include reforestation of the hills surrounding the town as well as the preservation of the urban core with its Baroque buildings along with Neo-classical monuments from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Currently there is a need to create a multidisciplinary working group to address the site’s requirements, implement the city’s management plan, and establish guidelines to control the growth and change. A proposed extension to the buffer zone around the 190-hectare inscribed property  is currently under review.

Long Description

Guanajuato is an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble of a mining operation. Just as the major 18th-century hydraulic works are inextricably linked to an urban topography determined by the confines of the river path and mineral outcrops, so the splendour of the Baroque buildings is directly linked to the wealth of the mines. The churches of La Compañía (1745-65) and above all La Valenciana (1765-88) are masterpieces of the Mexican Churrigueresque style. In the field of the history of technology, Guanajuato may also pride itself on unique artistic achievements such as the 'Boca del Infierno', a mineshaft that plunges a breathtaking 600 m.

In 1548 the Spaniards, who had settled in the region in 1529, discovered rich outcrops of silver at Guanaxhuata, which means 'Frog Hill' in the Tarasco language. To protect prospectors, miners and the new settlers, four fortified structures were erected at Marfil, Tepetapa, Santa Ana and Cerro del Cuarto, and formed the nuclei of the later town of Guanajuato. Sprawling through a winding valley at an altitude of 2,084 m, Guanajuato differs from the other colonial towns in New Spain because it was not laid out on the standard grid plan. Instead, the scattered areas grew together through the spontaneous urbanization of suitable sites on the rough, natural terrain.

Founded when the silver mines were opened, Guanajuato had a symbiotic relationship with them until the 19th century. Its growth, the layout of its streets, including the picturesque 'subterranean' streets, its plazas, and the construction of hospitals, churches, convents and palaces are all inextricably linked with the industrial history of the region which, with the decline of the Potosí mines in the 18th century, became the world's leading silver extraction centre.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC