Situated to the north of the Bajío’s fertile heartland, the sprawling industrial city of SAN LUIS POTOSÍ boasts a ravishing historic centre of colonial plazas and elegant stone buildings reminiscent of a classical Spanish town. Though a Franciscan mission was established in the area in the 1580s, San Luis was officially founded in 1592, as a supply town for the surrounding gold and silver mines discovered that year. Today San Luis is a prosperous place of over one million potosinos – most of the silver is gone, but there is a considerable manufacturing base. Tucked in amongst the splendour are some handsome churches, notably the Templo del Carmen, the garish masks of the Museo Nacional de la Máscara and the Museo Federico Silva, tribute to one of Mexico’s greatest sculptors.
The most entertaining San Luis fiestas are the Día de la Asunción (Assumption; Aug 15), a religious festival with traditional dances outside the cathedral that coincides with the Feria de la Uva, the city’s grape festival, and the Día de San Luis Rey (Aug 25), a huge fiesta enthusiastically enjoyed by virtually the whole town – a giant procession and fireworks follow.