Among the many winding, claustrophobic alleys and thoroughfares in the Mexican city of Guanajuato, one alley stands out among all the rest both for its incredible tightness and for the tragic romance that is said to have taken place there.
Tucked away behind the Plaza de Los Angeles, the skinny gap between buildings that has come to be known as El Callejon del Beso, or the Alley of the Kiss, is not greatly different from a number of other tight alleyways throughout the packed city. It is a sloping passage that only has room for one or two people standing shoulder to shoulder between the towering orange buildings on either side. Overhead, window ledges and small plant boxes dangle, making for a rather lovely urban gorge. But the real draw is the story.
According to local legend a wealthy family lived in one of the buildings that helped create the alley, and their daughter, whose bedroom window looked out onto the alley, fell in love with a young man from the wrong side of the tracks. The young man rented out the room in the building across from hers with a window that was directly across from her own as well. Then they would secretly meet and kiss across the tiny alley. Unfortunately, the girl’s father found out, and in a fit of rage, stabbed his daughter to death. Most accounts of the story end it there, but some go a bit further, saying the young man then threw himself to his death in the alley below. Either way, their tragic love forever changed the identity of the alley.
Today there is a gift shop in what is said to be the girl’s old room and people can come and hang love locks from the balcony bars. But most simply stroll through the narrow alley, many of them stopping for a kiss.
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