San Miguel de Allende, a colonial-era city in Mexico’s central highlands known for its baroque Spanish architecture, thriving arts scene, and cultural festivals, has been chosen as the American Capital of Culture 2019.
The designation, awarded by International Bureau of Cultural Capitals (IBOCC), means Mexico is now the country with the most cultural capitals since the honor was instituted in 1998.
A total of five locations in Mexico have received the designation to date. In addition to San Miguel de Allende, the others include Merida (which twice received the award), Guadalajara, and the state of Colima. Brazil comes in second with four cities that have been named cultural capitals, followed by Chile with three. Additional countries that received cultural capital awards include Panama, Peru and the Dominican Republic.
In making the award to San Miguel de Allende, IBOCC said the Guanajuato city will be a cultural model for the Americas next year, along with the state’s other 45 municipalities, which will also be able to participate.
The organization will provide San Miguel de Allende with worldwide marketing via 8,000 television commercial spots in 45 countries, worth an estimated $2 million, Lonely Planet reported.
San Miguel de Allende has a population of about 171,857 inhabitants and in 2008 it was registered by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The distinction is tied to its cultural and architectural contribution to the Mexican Baroque period and the importance in its struggle for the independence of Mexico from Spain.
In 2017 it was named by Travel + Leisure as the best city in the world for its quality service, friendliness, gastronomy, cleanliness, shopping experience, and mobility, as well as its cultural contribution, architectural beauty and places of entertainment.
The American Capital of Culture designation was created in 1998 and aims to contribute to a better knowledge among the peoples of the American continent about their national and regional diversity while highlighting the common cultural heritage.
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