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Mexico highlights its colonial past

July 10, 2011 - 17:55 By

The best way to attract visitors and business to one’s country is to entice them with the beauty a country has to offer.

The Mexican Embassy is running a photo exhibition featuring one of the country’s most picturesque colonial cities.

“Guanajuato is one of my favorite cities in Mexico,” said Mexican Ambassador Martha Ortiz de Rosas to The Korea Herald.

“It’s very rich in colonial architecture and very easy to visit, everything is concentrated downtown so you can walk through the alleys and see beautiful balconies that almost touch one with the other and the architecture is amazing,” she added.
Mexican Third Secretary of culture Jorge Agraz explains to Mexican Ambassador Martha Ortiz de Rosas how the art exhibition was curated. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)

The City of Guanajuato, which holds the same name as the state it is located in, is one of the most important historical and cultural colonial cities of Mexico.

Its meandering streets, its peaceful squares and gardens and the beauty of its houses and buildings give the state’s capital an evocative and romantic touch.

Mexican Third Secretary of culture Jorge Agraz noted that the first battle for independence against Spain in 1810 between insurgents and royalist troops took place at the city’s grain storage building, the Alhondiga de Granaditas.

“It has a lot of historic value and also it was a very influential city because two-thirds of the world’s silver production (back in the early 20th century) came from one mine in this city,” said Agraz.

Today, Mexico and Peru are jockeying for the title of the world top silver producers, in which Guanajuato plays an important role.

Ortiz de Rosas explained that Mexicans do not feel any animosity toward their former colonial masters.

“We are proud of our colonial cities,” she said. “We are made up of a mixture of Spaniards and indigenous people with three centuries of colonial occupation; it’s part of our culture now.”

She added that the photo exhibition, which runs at the Sookmyung Women’s University Museum until July 30, was organized to show the beauty of a UNESCO World Heritage Site while presenting Mexico’s diverse tourism opportunities.

Last year, Mexico welcomed 35,000 Koreans, a 190 percent increase from the previous year. Due to this increase, Ortiz de Rosas has found a new impetus to push local airlines to offer direct flights to Mexico City.

The biggest challenge she admitted was attracting Mexicans to reciprocate the visits, something that will happen eventually as business grows between the two countries.

By Yoav Cerralbo (