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The Mummies of Guanajuato


Guanajuato Mummy

"World's Smallest Mummy"

Photo by Frank Juarez, licensed under Creative Commons

Guanajuato Mummies:

The city of Guanajuato in central Mexico has a remarkable attraction: a mummy museum featuring over one hundred mummies that were formed naturally in the local cemetery. The Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato is one of the creepiest sights in Mexico, and not for the faint-hearted or the squeamish.

History of the Guanajuato Mummies:

There used to be a law in Guanajuato which required family members of the deceased interred at the cemetery to pay an annual fee. If the fee was not paid for five years in a row, the body was exhumed and the crypt would be re-used.

In 1865, cemetery workers in the Santa Paula cemetery exhumed the remains of Dr. Remigio Leroy, a medical doctor, and found to their amazement that his body had not decayed, but had mummified. Over time, more bodies were found in this state, and they were placed in the cemetery's ossuary building. As word spread, people began to visit the mummies, at first clandestinely. As the mummies gained popularity, a museum was set up near the cemetery for the mummies to be exhibited.

About the Mummies:

The Guanajuato mummies were formed naturally. Only recently have researchers studied the mummies and found that the area's arid climate led to the mummification.

Guanajuato Mummy Museum Collection:

One of the surprising things about the Guanajuato mummies is the variety of ages of the mummies - you'll see the "smallest mummy in the world" (a fetus), several mummies of children, and men and women of all ages. Some of the mummies' clothing remains (a few have only their socks). The mummies displayed in the museum were residents of Guanajuato who lived roughly from 1850 to 1950.

About Guanajuato:

Guanajuato City is the capital of the state of the same name. It has approximately 80 thousand inhabitants and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was a silver mining town and played an important role during Mexico's war of Independence. Guanajuato has beautiful examples of baroque and neoclassical architecture.

Visiting the Mummy Museum:

Museum opening hours: 9 am to 6 pm
Admission: 52 pesos for adults, 35 pesos for children 6 to 12
Museum Web Site: Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato
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