Mexico's own version of Romeo & Juliet
Callejon del Beso (the Alley of the Kiss)
On any given day in the city of Guanajuato, Mexico, crowds of couples flock to Callejon del Beso, an alleyway so narrow that lovers standing on balconies protruding from buildings on opposite sides of the street can share a kiss. Though many climb to the top to memorialize their kiss in a photo, few know the story behind the kissing balconies. One of the most surprising legends, given its tragic and romantic flavor, is this one.
The story is told that Doņa Carmen was the only daughter of an obstinate and violent man. Doņa Carmen was courted by her beau, Don Luis, in a church near the maiden's home, where first he offered her holy water with his hand. On being discovered, she was subsequently locked up, threatened with being sent to a convent, and, worst of all, with being married in Spain to a rich, old noble, a marriage which would help to restore her father's dwindling fortune.
The lovely, obedient creature and her companion, Doņa Brígida, wept and prayed together. Then, before the young girl submitted to her sacrifice, they decided that Doņa Brígida should take a message to Don Luis with the unfortunate news. A window in Doņa Carmen's home backed onto an alley so narrow that it was possible, leaning out the window to touch the wall on the other side with a hand. If he could get into the house on the other side of the alley, he would be able to talk with his beloved and, between the two of them, find a solution to their problem.
He asked who the owner of the house was and bought it for a fortune. One can only imagine Doņa Carmen's surprise when stepping out onto her balcony, she found the man of her dreams so close. When a few moments had passed and the lovers were deep in thought, violent words were heard from the back of the room. It was Doņa Carmen's father shouting at Brígida, who risked her life trying to prevent her master from entering her lady's chambers. The father pushed Doņa Carmen's protector aside with ease, and with dagger in hand, with a single blow he plunged it into his daughter's breast.
Don Luis was shocked into silence. Doņa Carmen's hand, still in his, slowly went cold. Resigned to the inevitable, Don Luis left a tender kiss on that smooth, pale hand, now lifeless. She died in her lover's arms in the white moonlight. With a big kiss Don Luis said good bye to his eternal love. This is why this spot is called the Callejón del Beso (the Alley of the Kiss).