• San Miguel and its surrounding towns have been proclaimed the Capital of Culture in the Americas. Photo: Getty

San Miguel de Allende was chosen to be 2019’s American Capital of Culture, bringing the distinction back to Mexico, organizers announced Wednesday.

Mexico has received the honor more than any other country. Mérida was chosen twice, in the program’s inaugural year in 2000, and in 2017, ushering in a packed calendar of cultural events.

The remaining 45 municipalities in Guanajuato state are invited to participate in celebrations. That is why it will officially be called the Capital Americana de la Cultura San Miguel de Allende-Guanajuato 2019, the organizers said.

Aside from Mérida’s two-time honor, the Mexican cities of Guadalajara and Colima are also past recipients. A city in Brazil was named four times and Chile, three. Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have had one year with a city as a Capital of Culture. The Yucatecan capital received this distinction in the years 2000 and 2017.

The 2018 capital is the state of Anzoategui, in Venezuela.

With a population of 171,857, San Miguel de Allende was registered by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity city in 2008. The distinction was for its cultural and architectural contribution to the Mexican Baroque and its importance in the struggle for Mexico’s independence from Spain.

In 2017 it was named by “Travel + Leisure” magazine as the best city in the world for its quality service, friendliness, cuisine, cleanliness, shopping experience and mobility, as well as its cultural contribution, architectural beauty and places of entertainment.

The American Capital of Culture program was created in 1998, aims to promote inter-American integration from the cultural sphere, contribute to a better knowledge among the peoples of the American continent, respecting their national and regional diversity, highlighting the common cultural heritage at the same time.

The American Capital Organization of Culture is a member of the International Bureau of Cultural Capitals, promotes the cities of culture internationally and establishes new bridges of cooperation with other cultural capitals of the world. It is accredited to the Organization of American States (OAS) and has the recognition of the Latin American and European parliaments.

Its official television channel, Antena 3 Internacional, promotes without cost each capital in 30 countries or territories of the world with a potential audience close to 90 million viewers.