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Dolores Hidalgo/Mexico

Introducing Dolores Hidalgo

Dolores Hidalgo is a compact town with a pretty, tree-filled plaza, a relaxed ambience and an important history. It has acquired pilgrimage status for Mexicans; the Mexican independence movement began in earnest in this small place. At 5am on September 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo, the parish priest, rang the bells to summon people to church earlier than usual and issued the Grito de Dolores, also known as the Grito de Independencia. His precise words have been lost to history but their essence was 'Death to bad government and the gachupines!' (Gachupines was a derisive term for the Spanish-born overlords who ruled Mexico.)

Today, Hidalgo is one of Mexico's most revered heroes. Dolores was renamed in his honor in 1824. Mexicans swarm here for Independence Day (September 16), during which time the price of accommodations can more than double.

The town's centro histórico is worth a day visit from San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato or Querétaro, not only for its interesting independence-themed museums (all of which are within a couple of blocks of the Plaza Principal), but also for its colored Talavera ceramics workshops (several blocks from the plaza) and ice cream (look for the carts on the plaza).