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Cañada la Virgen (The Virgin's Glen)

San Miguel de Allende

When people talk about San Miguel de Allende, your mind immediately wanders to galleries, boutique hotels, cobblestone streets, and the mojigangas (enormous papier-mâché puppets) that enliven the callejoneadas (walking serenades through the city streets, led by traditional musical groups). However, it rarely occurs to anyone that they might also find archaeological sites there. The Cañada de la Virgen (The Virgin's Glen), an ancient astronomical observation site built by the indigenous Otomíes, is located just a few miles from the city.

The archeological site consists of five structures, all of which are in perfect condition although only three are open to the public. The tour begins at La Casa de los Trece Cielos (The House of Thirteen Heavens), a 52-foot tall pyramid built as a sundial, calendar, and funerary enclosure. It is built in perfect alignment with the movements of the Sun, Jupiter, and Venus.

Next, you come to the Casa de la Noche Más Larga (House of the Longest Night), which is a group of various architectural structures: a pyramidal basement, a sunken patio, and platforms that were used for a number of events, incluidng funerary rites and public ceremonies.

Lastly, there is the Casa del Viento (House of Wind), which boasts vestiges of wall paintings and shrines devoted to Ehécatl, the wind deity. You can also see the settlement's three stages of construction.

To visit the Cañada de la Virgen, you can take an ATV or horseback tour. However, it is also accessible by car, if you take the San Miguel de Allende-Guanajuato highway (via the dam).

When people talk about San Miguel de Allende, your mind immediately wanders to galleries, boutique hotels, cobblestone streets, and the mojigangas (enormous papier-mâché puppets) that enliven the callejoneadas (walking serenades through the city streets, led by traditional musical groups). However, it rarely occurs to anyone that they might also find archaeological sites there. The Cañada de la Virgen (The Virgin's Glen), an ancient astronomical observation site built by the indigenous Otomíes, is located just a few miles from the city.

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The archeological site consists of five structures, all of which are in perfect condition although only three are open to the public. The tour begins at La Casa de los Trece Cielos (The House of Thirteen Heavens), a 52-foot tall pyramid built as a sundial, calendar, and funerary enclosure. It is built in perfect alignment with the movements of the Sun, Jupiter, and Venus.

Next, you come to the Casa de la Noche Más Larga (House of the Longest Night), which is a group of various architectural structures: a pyramidal basement, a sunken patio, and platforms that were used for a number of events, incluidng funerary rites and public ceremonies.

Lastly, there is the Casa del Viento (House of Wind), which boasts vestiges of wall paintings and shrines devoted to Ehécatl, the wind deity. You can also see the settlement's three stages of construction.

To visit the Cañada de la Virgen, you can take an ATV or horseback tour. However, it is also accessible by car, if you take the San Miguel de Allende-Guanajuato highway (via the dam).

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