In 1542, before the arrival of the Spanish, there was an indigenous settlement at Izcuinapan. When the Spanish came, a small chapel was constructed and a village started by Father Juan de San Miguel.
The new village was dedicated to the Archangel Michael. The arrival and colonization was not received well by the locals. Continuous attacks on the Spanish travelers in the area, and then the village by the Chichimecas and Guamare people caused this original location to be abandoned, and was moved to the present location of San Miguel de Allende in 1555. There had also been ongoing water supply problems at the original site, so this relocation further served the growth and development of the new town.
The chapel, unfortunately, was not open on the day I visited, but just walking the tiny little courtyard sufficed to give a feeling for this place and those who walked here all those years ago.
That open door was a tiny little room used for prayer and offerings, from what I could figure out
The area that was once the old settlement is now one of the poorest areas of San Miguel; dirt roads, homes made of cinder block, few homes have electricity or running water. The roads are rutted and barely passable in some spots in a Jeep that I traveled in. I was told that in rainy season it is sometimes impossible to get in or out of the area in any vehicle. What I observed was sobering and sad; many of the children I cared for at the day care center I volunteered at during my month in San Miguel came from this community. The day care center, Casa de Los Angeles, is the true salvation for these children, providing their meals during the week, and clothing that has been donated. I took no photos of the homes or area due to not stopping to get out of the Jeep, and the road was so incredibly bumpy there was no way to hold my camera steady. I will make an appeal to anyone who might find it possible to donate even a few dollars to Casa de Los Angeles http://www.casadelosangeles.org/ All food, supplies, clothing comes from donations. I can personally vouch for this organization, and am available via e-mail (on my profile page) to answer any questions.
One more Sunday Traveler Snapshots coming up next week before I head to the islands.