In the village of La Valenciana near the entrance to the La Valenciana silver mine stands one of the most impressive Guanajuato attractions, the 18th century Templo de San Cayetano de La Valenciana (San Cayetano Church). The San Cayetano Church sits atop a hill overlooking the city of Guanajuato and stands as a monument to the vast wealth of the La Valenciana silver mine and the rich history of silver mining in the Bajio, or heartland, of Mexico during the colonial period.
The San Cayetano Church was built by Antonio de Obregon y Alcocer, the Conde de Valenciana (Count of Valenciana) and original owner of the La Valenciana silver mine. Construction of the church began in 1765 and was completed in 1788. The San Cayetano Church was financed with profits from the La Valenciana silver mine, once one of the richest and most productive silver mines in the world.
The church was built using a local pink stone known as cantera rosa. The facade is carved in Mexican baroque style and the side windows feature neo-mudejar style arches. The church was never quite finished, and you’ll notice that it’s missing the second bell tower and clock on the right side.
Enter through a decorative wrought iron gateway and step inside the San Cayetano Church to admire its ornate interior with gilded altarpieces, golden carvings, an ivory incrusted pulpit, precious hardwoods and giant 19th century paintings. After touring the interior of the church, exit through the elaborately decorated side doorway which leads out into the garden.
The village of La Valenciana is located on the northern edge of the city of Guanajuato and it’s a must-see Guanajuato attraction. Begin your visit with a tour of the adjacent silver mine before stepping inside the San Cayetano Church later in the day to admire the golden interior illuminated in the light of the mid-afternoon sun.