The Most Beautiful Churches of San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known as one of Mexico’s most beautiful cities. It is also known for its churches, including the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel (the emblem of the city and one of Mexico’s most photographed churches).
There are over 40 churches in the city. This video/post covers the 8 that I consider the most beautiful churches of San Miguel de Allende.
Note: I don’t usually do a whole lot of videos but for this post I’ve produced a 10 minute video. Why? I just bought a Sony ZV-1 and I wanted to test it out. For those of you who don’t like video or don’t want to see my face, continue below the video: I cover the same churches with photos and text.
Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel
This church was built in the late 1600’s and was pretty much a simple parish church. 200 years later the church started to show cracks and the city asked Don Zeferino Gutiérrez Muñoz, a bricklayer, to change the façade of the church. Zaferino was inspired by European Cathedrals, most notably Cologne Cathedral, and decided to build a new façade in Baroque style using pink Cantera stone from slopes of the Palo Huérfano volcano.
That’s how a pretty simple church ended up being one of the most iconic churches in Mexico.
Iglesia de San Rafael
It doesn’t really look like a church and like many, I’ve been guilty of walking past Iglesia de San Rafael without any thought. But the tower you see is actually a Moorish-inspired belltower, something unusual in Mexico.
Built in 1742, the church is right next to the Parroquia and is worth a visit.
Church of the Immaculate Conception
Besides the Parroquia, no church dominates San Miguel’s skyline like the church of the Immaculate Conception. Built between 1755 – 1842, it has the most beautiful dome in the city: a dome inspired by St. Louis des Invalides in Paris (which was built by the same architect – Don Zeferino Gutiérrez Muñoz – who created the façade of the Parroquia). The church is often referred to as “Las Monjas” (or “the nuns”) because it was the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception that founded this convent.
I highlight a few places in the video when you can have great views of the Dome, among them being the little bridge just down the street and the courtyard of Bellas Artes (also known as Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez “El Nigromante”).
Templo de San Francisco de Asís
The Templo de San Francisco as it is known (or the Church of St. Francis), is a huge church with a gorgeous façade.
Started in 1779, the church was the last major colonial building to be built in San Miguel. The façade, designed in what most describe as “Churrigueresque” style (an offshoot of Spanish Baroque), highlights finely detailed sculptures of kings, saints and angels.
Inside, the church has clean lines and less decorations than most churches in San Miguel.
The Templo de Francisco is a very popular place for weddings and first communions. Especially on weekends, there’s always a celebration going on with people wearing colourful outfits.
Templo de Nuestra Señora de La Salud
Templo de Nuestra Señora de La Salud (or Church of Our Lady of Health) is quite simple on the inside. But the outside is extravagant and unusual. Like the Templo de San Francisco, the façade is designed in Churrigueresque style. The highlight is the large carved shell over the main entrance which is quite unique.
Templo del Oratorio de San Felipe Neri
This is one of my favorite churches. Built in 1712, it has an incredibly ornate façade made of pink sandstone. Inside, the church maintains the same colour scheme and has incredibly elaborate altars as well as art (dedicated to San Felipe Neri, a 16th-century Florentine who founded the Oratorio Catholic order).
There are 3 various domes/towers behind the church which I assume are attached to the church (?? I’m curious if anyone has details). They’re incredibly picturesque.
Templo de Santa Ana
The Biblioteca (library) of San Miguel is the heart of the city. In this massive yellow building (which was built to house poor women who had nowhere to go), there is the church of Santa Ana which was built in the mid-1800’s.
The church is incredibly easy to miss. There’s no façade, nothing to indicate there’s a church. But once you find it, you’ll find it bright and colourful.
Iglesia de San Juan de Dios
The Iglesia (or Templo) de San Juan de Dios is located about 10 minutes outside the center and, with the little park surrounding it, is a bit of a sanctuary in the neighbourhood. The church was built in 1770 and had a hospital next to it*.
*The Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God (Orden Hospitalaria de San Juan de Dios) was dedicated to João Cidade Duarte, a Portuguese nurse who in 1539 opened a hospital in Granada (Spain) to tend to the sick and homeless. To this day, the order has hospitals, clinics and social services centers in 46 countries around the world.
The above are, in my opinion, the most beautiful churches in San Miguel de Allende. As I say, the city has lots of churches and you’ll never get bored here if you enjoy seeing places of worship.