“San Miguel is the heart of Mexico,” a loyal resident tells us. “It’s the one that guides us straight to heaven.” If this multicultural metropolis truly is the heart of the nation, then El Jardín is the heart of San Miguel. The exquisite public garden is a crossroads for all of the city’s activity, and surrounds one of Mexico’s most iconic structures: La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. Each morning, the sun’s rays set the cathedral’s pink-hued Neo-Gothic tower alight. It’s a glowing beacon that brings the city to life.
The heartbeat of this historic hub
If this multicultural metropolis truly is the heart of the nation, then El Jardín is the heart of San Miguel.
At dawn, El Jardín is quiet. Joggers speed across the cobblestones and workers trudge by, laden with their well-worn tools. The sun suddenly breaks the horizon, pouring bright, clear sunlight across the verdant expanses of the garden. The city’s energy picks up quite suddenly.
Business people march by, enjoying fresh cut fruit and reading the morning newspaper on their scenic commutes. Early-bird musicians emerge to match the rhythm of the walkers and serenade passers by. For a while, you can still count the figures passing through El Jardín, then all at once, the crowd swells to fill every path. High above, intricate patterns on La Parroquia’s facade match the aura of the lively city.
La Parroquia was originally constructed in the 17th century, with a simple facade in the style of traditional Mexican architecture. In 1880, a native bricklayer and self-taught architect by the name of Zeferino Gutiérrez Muñoz embarked on a monumental project to rebuild the structure’s exterior. Inspired by prints of European churches, he designed a facade that reimagines the Gothic style for the New World. Arches, pilasters, and friezes adorn every surface of the church, and delicate representations of flowers are a permanent extension of the garden below. La Parroquia, with its mixture of Spanish, Mexican, and native styles and its power to unite the townspeople each day, is the famed image of this locale.
At lunchtime, El Jardín is at its peak. Everyone is here: old friends who have gathered for the past 40 years, tourists newly enamoured with the city’s enchantments, roving mariachis, a man with 20 hats stacked proudly atop his head.
Later, as the sun begins to set, the last mariachi band bids adios to the day. With proud voices, hearty guitars and solid percussion, they sing songs that have echoed through these streets for generations. As the music fades with the dimming light, El Jardín slips into slumber, a much need rest in preparation for the bustling day ahead.