La calle subterránea Miguel Hidalgo is a street that runs under downtown Guanajuato. Nowhere else in the world is there a street with the same architectural features or one that can bear such clear testimony to the development of a city as it rose, level by level, over the course of four centuries.
For the last half century, most of the city’s traffic passes along the street; however, before then, it was the channel for the water coming down from the ravine where the first urban settlements were built.
The flow of water from the mountains is so great that the city suffered severe flooding – with great human and material loss, the worst of these occurring in the years 1760, 1772, 1780, 1876, 1873 and 1905. For this reason, it was decided to raise the level of the buildings in the town center in order to contain the river. Lacking sufficient flat ground, the ingenious people of Guanajuato laid the foundations for their buildings on both sides of the ravine, straddling it and so gradually covering over large sections of the river. And so, we can now see those great arches, vaults and bridges above us as we move along this street.
In 1963 an ambitious project was begun to create a much-needed artery for city traffic by channeling the river through conduits and paving over them, and so creating the unique Calle Subterránea Miguel Hidalgo.