AMPI Centros Historicos Simposium
August 24 – 27, 2015, San Miguel de Allende
La Casona Convention Center
We admire the buildings of historic centro San Miguel de Allende. These buildings were built with pride as they stand today: some well preserved, some restored, some falling down or even those with a caved in roof. None the less, they’re still magical. In reality, they are much more than just magical; more than just mysterious, more than just intriguing.
These walls hold so many stories and so much history; if these buildings could speak, what would they say?
Maybe something like:
“This is where the old tortillería used to be….” “This is where we planned the escape route during the war…” “This is the home where I, my mother and grandfather were born…” “This is where Pedro Vargas sang at our family party….” “This is where we got married…” “This is where Pipila went to school…” Or, perhaps these walls would say, “Please, don’t tear me down…”
We photograph these buildings, we paint these buildings, we sell these buildings, we buy them, we restore them, we re-create them, and sometimes we even dare to gut them, or, tear them down.
From the people who sowed the seeds of the Méxican Independence, those who marched or galloped shouting for their freedom in the Jardín, to those who walked, tied their horses to the front door posts day after day. Going door to beautiful door singing and marketing their goods. From the miners who excavated and explored the Bajío, creating the first prosperities of this region. To the Catholics, who in their martyrdom, sacrificed their lives during the Christiada, for simply defending their God given right to pray, for offering penitence, for giving or receiving the Eucharist in temples created here centuries before. To the artists, writers and musicians, the visitors and patrons who continue to inspire and be inspired; keeping her story alive. The colonial streets of this amazing city and the Sanctuary of Jesus of Nazareth at Atotonílco, have created, hidden and founded legends. All of it paramount; all well deserving of our respect and preservation.
Like a piece of land owned by its shareholders, the lands of the world could be indivisible. Undividable. But they’re not. Wars have been and continue to be fought over land and religion, amongst other things. And in the end war has always and will always leave only one winner, if any. In the case of San Miguel de Allende and the Sanctuary of Atotonílco they are not casualties of war, but rather the treasures of one. They have been and continue to be carved, cultivated, and nurtured by the people who fought for the indivisibility of México; by those who keep her legend alive. They for her and her for them. She is a social phenomenon belonging to the Méxican people and she is their honor and pride.
San Miguel de Allende is not a just a tourist destination. San Miguel de Allende is not a city labeled “the best city in the world” to become like a caged animal headlining a circus performance for a sold out show; where the star struck will build and build around her – and build some more – until she is completely trapped beneath, wounded and smothered, until she dies.
Let us be thoughtful. Let us be careful. Let us be respectful and overly cautious of a place that is so precious, and just a few miles in diameter, for which we only have one chance before someone else tries and succeeds in putting just one more commercial chain department store, or a franchise restaurant – here where she stands. Let us be respectfully defensive of something that cannot speak with her own voice, but that which can only speak through the beauty, the elegance and integrity she represents. Authenticity that is to be restored not senselessly gutted or inappropriately remodeled for electronics stores or drive thru burgers. Do not be blinded into believing that “just” one more building won’t really make a difference because buildings are quickly made one brick at a time. One more wall, one more roof, one more floor. Just one more. Don’t be blinded into thinking that “one more” won’t make a difference just because you can still see the Parroquia. Because pretty soon, in just a few more years perhaps, with the new CFE utility lights of new buildings shining in the night sky, you may begin to barely see her cross shining on its cupula.
Seasons pass and new buildings quickly construct around her. The sights and sounds of the modern world infiltrate. The disappearance of flor, fauna and the sweet smells of soil in the fields on the dewy morning. Less and less we see our farmers passing through centro, walking their burros. More and more we see the traffic and black exhaust of cars and micro busses increasing upon her historic cobblestone streets.
Yes, San Miguel de Allende is an incredible tourist attraction. And it is because of who she is – inside and out – that we all love her: her heritage, her history, her tunnels of vaulted secrets. Her memories and her victories accomplished behind the walls of these ancient buildings. Walls which are the remaining essence of a dream created, and still being fulfilled, as México moves forward into her renaissance. Yes, she is a tourist attraction; but not at the expense of her own demise.
In two weeks, during the fourth national Symposium of Centros Históricos and World Heritage Sites, we honor you, San Miguel de Allende – dowry to the grandchildren of México. We salute your resilience and that of your people. Your adoring arches and romantic courtyards, your sidewalks and nostalgic fountains. Your strong doors and timeless architecture that protected the people who fought for you. All of which constantly remind us of whom and of what you are made. Your presence today and place throughout history, is marked indelibly.
Please join us during this 3 day Symposium held in San Miguel de Allende at La Casona Convention Center, August 24 – 27, 2015, where we will pay our respects to her accomplishments and as we share and discuss plans for her preservation.
As historians, architects & engineers, elected officials, foreign guests, historic and urban preservationists and developers, associations of tourism, real estate agents, patrons of her care and that of México, we walk a fine line for San Miguel de Allende. For her architecture is so much more than project or a sales commission.
It is our duty to protect the historical and greater area of San Miguel de Allende and Sanctuary of Atotonílco. Keep her in good hands; share her with those who will not only preserve her story, but also preserve the walls which make the buildings that protect the foundations on which and by whom she was painstakingly constructed.
It is our responsibility to teach and mandate the best ways to nurture this special city, honored by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, as she gracefully moves forward taking her place in world history over the next 500 years.
Your presence at her Symposium this August 24-27, 2015 is necessary. Be a part of something special. Invite and accompany your colleagues and clients. Enjoy a wonderful long weekend in the wonder that is San Miguel de Allende, icon of Mexican and world history preserved, birthplace of and baptized “The Cradle of the Independence” of Her country. Let us not lose sight of her importance, of who she is. For after all, she is the reason we are all here.
To purchase tickets call 01 55 5592.6595 y 5566.4224 Ext. 107.