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History in Celaya--the "Golden Gate of the Bajio," just about smack dab in the center of Mexico--goes back deep. Before Don Martin Enriquez de Almanza founded the city in 1570, it was a village of the Otomi people called Nattahi: "In the Mesquites."
Anyone even casually interested in the story of modern Mexico will have much to explore in Celaya, which includes among its historical monuments the Independence Column marking the city's establishment. It was here in 1810, just days after his "Cry of Dolores" ignited the Mexican War of Independence, that Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was declared generalissimo of the insurgent army, with Ignacio Allende his second-in-command. More than a century later, General Alvaro Obregon's Constitutionalist Army defeated Pancho Villa's troops in the Battle of Celaya--actually two skirmishes that served as a turning point in the Mexican Revolution.
Some of Guanajuato's great architectural (and spiritual) landmarks reside within Celaya, more than a few of them the work of revered native son Francisco Eduardo Tresguerras. The designer and painter helped create such glories as the Templo del Carmen, the Templo de San Francisco, the Templo de la Tercera Orden, and the Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel. Besides those enduring works, you can pay your respects to the talented artist in his eternal resting place: the Baroque-style Tresguerras Mausoleum.
Just as iconic as the great churches, though, is Celaya's distinctive circular water tower: the Ball of Water (Bola del Agua).
Celaya boasts several museums as well, perhaps most notably the Mummy Museum in the Old Celaya Cemetery (Panteon Antiguo de Celaya): More than 20 mummified corpses call this place home.
The city's also a festive place, known for annual celebrations such as the Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Celaya Handicraft Expo in the Main Garden (Plaza Principal), and the Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos).
Whether during a citywide fiesta or simply an everyday evening, seek out Celaya's twist on traditional Guanajuato cuisine--the most famous local specialty probably being the goat's-milk confection called cajeta. (Don't skip that.)