Thursday, June 13, 2024

Famous ‘Callejón del Beso’ in Guanajuato is closed by the city; property owners in dispute

An alleyway in Guanajuato city where forbidden love is believed to have once flourished was shut off by municipal authorities Wednesday amid a dispute between people who profit from the arrival of tourists to the location.

Authorities closed off the entrances to the Callejón del Beso, or Alley of the Kiss, where a girl from a well-to-do family fell in love with the son of a poor miner, according to local legend.

The lovestruck pair lived in homes in the alley with balconies that are less than 70 centimeters apart, close enough for them to reach each other over the famously narrow alley and lock lips.

Located in the historic center of Guanajuato city, the callejón is now a popular tourist attraction where many couples recreate the kisses Ana and Carlos shared before the former was stabbed to death by her disapproving father.

Callejon del Beso, Guanajuato City, Mexico
The famously narrow “Kissing Alley” in better days. Darren Tierney/Istock

Such reenactments are now on hold after authorities erected plywood barriers at the entrances to the alley. A municipal government notice stuck to the barriers said that a construction project had been suspended as a safety measure, but Guanajuato newspaper Periódico Correo reported that there didn’t appear to be such a project going on in the alleyway.

The newspaper said there is an unresolved conflict between the owners of Ana’s house and the owners of Carlos’ house, in which photographers and tourist guides are also involved. Photographers who take and sell photos of tourists visiting the alley recently came to blows after an argument over prices tourists are charged for their services.

Mayor Alejandro Navarro Saldaña subsequently warned that the alley would be closed off if those at odds with each other couldn’t reach an agreement.

While Periódico Correo reported that risks to safety generated by a construction project didn’t appear to be the reason for the closure of the alley, it did note that a resident said that some buildings have structural damage. Municipal Civil Protection authorities “apparently” suggested the closure while the properties are repaired, the newspaper said.

“They haven’t wanted to regulate the photographers who have taken over the alley and you can’t take a photo because they put you in THEIR LINE, THEY TAKE YOUR PHOTO AND THEY CHARGE YOU and if you don’t do it, they don’t let you pass,” one Twitter user commented on a widely-shared video of rival photographers fighting in the “Kissing Alley.”

Other reports, and the mayor’s remarks, indicated that the dispute involving the property owners, photographers and tourists guides was the real reason behind the closure of the iconic alleyway.

With reports from Periódico Correo, Expansión and Forbes

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