Friday, 8 June 2018

MEXICO: Zacatecas Tourist Place Of The People Of The Grasslands.

Zacatecas is a city in the Bajio in Mexico.

Zacatecas, the Free and Sovereign State of Zacatecas is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is Zacatecas City.
Zacatecas is located in North-Central Mexico. It is bordered by the states of Durango to the northwest, Coahuila to the north, Nayarit to the west, San Luis Potosi and Nuevo Leon to the east, and Jalisco, Guanajuato and Aguascalientes to the south.

The state is best known for its rich deposits of silver and other minerals, its colonial architecture and its importance during the Mexican Revolution. Its main economic activities are mining, agriculture and tourism.

Zacatecas is a city and municipality in Mexico, and the capital and largest city of the state of Zacatecas. Located in north-central Mexico, the city had its start as a Spanish mining camp in the mid-16th century.

Native Americans had already known about the area's rich deposits of silver and other minerals. Due to the wealth that the mines provided, Zacatecas quickly became one of the most important cities in New Spain, with much of its silver enriching the Spanish crown.

The area saw battles during the turbulent 19th century, but the next major event was the Battle of Zacatecas during the Mexican Revolution when Francisco Villa captured the town, an event still celebrated every anniversary.

Today, the colonial part of the city is a World Heritage Site, due to the Baroque and other structures built during its mining days. Mining still remains an important industry.

The name Zacatecas is derived from the Zacateco people and has its roots in Nahuatl. The name means people of the grasslands.

The city is called con rostro de cantera rosa y corazon de plata or face of pink stone and heart of silver because of the pink stone that many of its iconic buildings are made of and the silver that has spurred its development and history.

Like other mining cities in Mexico, such as Guanajuato and Taxco, the city was built near the mines on very rough terrain. It is at the foot of the Cerro de la Bufa, in which was one of the greatest silver mines in the world.

Instead of having an orderly plan of streets, the Spanish settlement followed the old Indian neighborhoods with narrow streets and alleys squeezed into a large ravine or canada.

The main road through town aligns north-south along the Arroyo de la Plata, with the rest of the city filled with small winding alleys and streets and tiny plazas.

Many of the alleys have names that refer to local legends, such as the Callejon del Indio Triste or Alley of the Sad Indian and Callejon del Mono Prieto or Alley of the Dark Monkey.

The only really open space is the main plaza. Even here, it is not possible to stand back far enough to contemplate the entirety of the Baroque façade of the main cathedral.

Around the city are the Brittany hills or small mountains that contain silver and other minerals such as the Cerro de la Virgen, Cerro de Clerigos, Cerro del Grillo, Cerro del Padre and Cerro de la Bufa.

These hills are starkly barren of vegetation, due to the semi-desert climate. The city is known for its clear air and clean streets, with garbage cans placed every ten meters in the city center.

This city, along with Guanajuato and Taxco are along a route called the Ruta de la Plata or Silver Route. These cities are distinguished not only for silver but for the conservation of their colonial façades and narrow streets.

Zacatecas conserves many of its original structures from the colonial period such as churches, colonial government buildings and monasteries and mansions built by rich miners in pink stone.

Most of these buildings were constructed in the 18th century, when the silver flowing out of the mines was at its highest. These buildings have made the historic center of the city a World Heritage Site.

On the other side of the cathedral is the Gonzalez Ortega Market, which was constructed in 1889 and still conserves its original façade.

Originally, it was a traditional Mexican style market but has since been modernized into a mall with stores selling crafts, silver, leather, Zacatecas wine, antiques, charreada gear, Huichol needlework and regional sweets.

There are also restaurants which offer regional dishes such as gorditas, asado de boda, pozole verde, pacholes, gorditas rellenas and enchiladas zacatecanas, filled with pork or cheese and covered in a sauce made with poblano, guajillo or ancho chili peppers.

The interior of the building has two floors with wrought iron columns and the façade is French style fronted by the Plazoleta Goitia.

Another market for crafts is the Casa de Artesanias in front of the Temple of San Agustin, which sells wool serapes, masks, Huichol figures, wood boxes, ceramics and more.

Zacatecas is located in the center-north of Mexico, and covers an area of 75,284km2, the tenth largest state in the country.

It borders the states of Jalisco, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí, Coahuila and Durango and is divided into fifty eight municipalities and 4,882, towns, cities and other communities.

The state has an average altitude of 2230 meters above sea level, with the capital at 2,496 masl. The state has three main geographical regions, the Sierra Madre Occidental in the west, the Mexican Plateau and the Sierra Madre Oriental.

Most of it is in the Sierra Madre Occidental with highly rugged with peaks of over 2,500 meters above sea level. The mountains of the southeast and northeast are lower but there large valleys such as the Juchipila and Tlaltenango.

Most of the territory has only small mesas and other areas of flat land. In the center of the state, there is a small mountain chain called the Sierra de Fresnillo, from which much of the state’s mineral wealth comes from.

In the extreme northwest, there is another important mountain chain called the Sierra de Sombrerete, marked by a mountain called Sombreretillo, which is an important source of mineral wealth. Near this chain is another called the Sierra de Organos.

No major rivers run through the state and most of the waterways run only during the rainy season. The state belongs to two basins. The south east of the state belongs to the Lerma River basin, which eventually empties in the Pacific Ocean.

Rivers belonging to this basin include the San Pedro, Juchipila, Jerez and Tlaltenango. The other basin is smaller and endorheic, and does not empty into any ocean. The state has eighty dams with a total capacity of 595,337 million cubic meters.

The largest of these are the Leobardo Reynoso in Fresnillo, Miguel Aleman in Tepechitlan and El Chique in Tabasco. Much of the state’s water is underground divided into twenty hydraulic zones. These are accesses with over 5,800 wells mostly for agricultural use.

Most of the territory has a cool, dry climate, although areas in the south have more moisture, with most rain falling between June and September.

The driest and coldest areas are in the northeast, known as the Salado because of its saltwater lakes. 75% of the state is arid or semi arid. 14% is arable and 79% is apt for the grazing of livestock.

The average annual temperature is 16C with most of the state being temperate. The coldest months are from November to January, with frost not uncommon.

The warmest month is June. The state gets an average rainfall of 400mm per year mostly in the summer, with the warmest and wettest part of the state is along the Sierra Madre Occidental.

Ecosystems vary depending on relief, soil and temperature, leading to a wide variety of vegetation, including forests, scrub and grasslands. Arid areas are dominated by various species of cactus.

In the far south, there are deciduous trees that lose their leaves in winter and spring. Statewide the most common trees are mesquite, ironwood and palo verde or Parkinsonia.

In the highest altitude, near the Jalisco border, there are mixed forests of pine and holm oak, with the latter dominating along the border with Durango and some along the border with San Luis Potosi.

One interesting tree that occurs in Zacatecas is the elephant tree or Bursera microphylla. In the sierras there are many wild boar, white-tailed deer and hares; in the valleys and plains it is common to find coyote, badgers, quails and ducks.

The extreme northern part of the state is the southern fringe of the Chihuahuan Desert and as such is rich and diverse in biology. This desert is home to a large amount of cacti and is one of the most ecologically diverse deserts on earth.

The state name derives from the name of its capital, Zacatecas. This word is derived from Nahuatl and means where there is abundant zacate grass .

The state seal depicts the Cerro de la Bufa, a landmark of the capital, surrounded by the weapons of the original inhabitants. Above is the motto “Work conquers all.

Before the arrival of the Spanish, dominant ethnic groups included the Caxcans, Zacatecos, and Guachichils, with a probable rivalry between the Guchichils and the Caxcans.

The history of these peoples is sketchy and it is not known when the first settlements were founding in the region.

Between the fourth and tenth centuries in the Christian era, several large settlements developed such as Altavista, Chalchihuites and La Quemada, considered to be part of Greater Mesoamerica .

Areas in the north of the state, without major settlements was part of what is called Aridoamerica, where inhabitants lived off hunting and gathering.

The first of the major population centers emerged along the Suchil, Graceros and Guadiana Rivers. The archeological sites of today are all ceremonial centers and/or observatories in the center of metropolises.

As of 2010, the state had a population of 1,490,668. Forty one percent of the population lives in rural areas, with a population density of 18,13 per square kilometer.

Fifty nine percent of the population lives in urban areas such as Fresnillo with a population of 213,139, Guadalupe - 159,991, Zacatecas 138,176 along with Pinos and Sombrerete.

Ninety four percent of the population is Roman Catholic. In the year 2008, Zacatecas had the smallest indigenous population percentage-wise in Mexico: 0.3%. Only the state of Aguascalientes has a smaller number of indigenous people.

Only four in 1,000 speak an indigenous language, compared to the national average of 60/1000. Indigenous languages spoken in the state include Huichol - 1000 speakers, Nahuatl - 500, Tepehuan - under 500 and Tlapanec - about 400.

Zacatecas has more than tripled in a century, in 1900 its population was 462,190. Since 1990, the state’s population has grown by at least 1.3% per year.

Average life expectancy is slightly above the national average at 74.1 years for men and 78.5 for women. Principal causes of death are heart problems, malign tumors and diabetes.

The average number of years of schooling is 7.9 second year of middle school, below the national average of 8.6. 5.9% have had no schooling at all and 66.8% have finished primary school. Only 12.3% have finished university level studies. 6% are illiterate.

Of those who leave the state permanently, most go to Aguascalientes, Jalisco and other northern states. Those who come to live in the state arrive from Jalisco, Aguacalientes and nearby northern states.

It is estimated that half of the people from Zacatecas do not reside in the state.

Mexico's National Population Council estimates that 600,000 natives of Zacatecas now live in the United States, a figure that is equivalent to 40 percent of the state's resident population of 1.5 million.

As in the past, the state’s dominant sector is mining, accounting for 13% of the state’s GDP and .9% of the entire country’s.

The state is rich in mineral wealth include lead, zinc and copper with small quantities of gold and silver, along with non-metal mineral deposits such as kaolinite, wollastonite, fluorite and barite.

The state has fifteen mining districts of which the most important are Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Concepcion del Oro, Sombrerete and Chalchihuites, along with Nora de Angeles more recently.

Zacatecas accounts for 21% of the country’s gold production and 53.2% of its silver. Two of the largest silver mines in the world currently are operated in Zacatecas: former Peñoles subsidiary Fresnillo's Mina Proano also known as the Fresnillo Silver Mine, and the Penasquito Polymetallic Mine.

Zacatecas silver mostly accounts for Mexico’s status as the world’s largest producer of silver, accounting for 17% of the world’s output.

Zacatecas’s economy used to be almost completely centered on mining but has since diversified into cattle raising, agriculture, communications, food processing, tourism and transportation.

Zacatecas is Mexico’s main producer of beans, chili peppers, guavas and nopal, along with significant grain, sugar cane, grape and peach crops.

It is also a major producer of rum, pulque and mezcal and even produces red wine. These activities account for just over ten percent of the state’s GDP.

Manufacturing accounts for over twelve percent of the state’s GDP and has attracted most of the state’s foreign investment.

Traditional handcrafts include weaving in Villa Garcia, saddles and jewelry in Jerez as well as furniture, leatherworking, miniatures, macrame, ironwork and pottery in various locations

Tourism includes the capital along with the designation of Pueblos Magicos such as Jerez, Teul de Gonzalez Ortega and Sombrerete, along with the shrine of the Santo Nino de Atocha, which is visited by thousands every year.

It also includes archeological sites such as Alta Vista and La Quemada along with thermal springs such as Paraiso Caxcan.

Commerce and services accounts for over 53% of the GDP, mostly small scale operations.
Most of the state’s festivities are in honor of local patron saints and many of the secular festivals have links to religious ones. Such festivals often focus on recitals of traditional dances such as the Mexicapan.

Many of these are derived from waltzes and polkas because of the state’s mining history. The Mexican Revolution took a toll on the state’s local musical traditions, but one that has survived is the Tamborazo, especially in Jerez.

In the state capital, September 8 is dedicated to the Virgen del Patrocinio on the Cerro de la Bufa, with various cultural and artistic events such as bullfighting, concerts, horse racing and culinary demonstrations.

The last week of August is dedicated to the Morismas de Bracho, a theatrical production of the struggle between Moors and Christians.

It hosts the International Folklore Festival in August, featuring dance and costumes from around the world. It is held during Holy Week, and features music, food, street performances, dancing and parties.

Other major festivals include the Festival Cultural Zacatecas, the Feria Nacional de Zacatecas and the Internacional Festival de Teatro de Calle, Feria de Primavera de Jerez, the Feria del Libro, and the Cabalgata Turistica Revolucionaria.

Traditional favorite foods include gorditas and panecillos, both made from corn and can be sweet or savory, depending on the filling. Wheat breads include panochas and semitas.

Condoches are gorditas made with fresh corn cooked in corn husks. Gorditas de cuajada are representative of food on ranches.

Meat is most typically prepared as part of a stew to which vegetables such as corn, chickpeas, squash, rice and more are added. One well-known meat preparation is asado de boda, which is pork in a sauce made with mild red chili peppers.
Traditional beverages include pulque, aguamiel, aguardiente and mezcal as well as a purely local beverage called colonche, made by fermenting a cactus fruit.

Altavista is located 229 km northwest of the city of Zacatecas. It was a ceremonial center, part of the Chalchihuite culture, active between 200 and 1000 CE.

It is named after a local ranch, and was explored for the first time at the beginning of the 20th century by Manuel Gamio. Its main building is called the Labyrinth.

La Quemada is located fifty km south of the city of Zacatecas, the state’s largest pre Hispanic settlement. It developed between 500 and 900 CE and covered an area of over 70,000m2 at its height.

Its name, which means the burnt comes from evidence that the city was burned and abandoned. Who occupied the city is not known, with speculation relating to Teotihuacan, the Purepecha and the Toltecs.

El Teul is on a large hill overlooking the modern town of Teul de Gonzalez Ortega municipality. The name comes from Nahuatl and means of the gods. It was a ceremonial center, with residences located north of it.

The site is noted for its pit burials as well as the oldest copper smelting facility in Mesoamerica. It was inhabited from 200 CE to 1531, when the Spanish destroyed it.

It is one of several religious and population centers created by the Caxcans, who were semi nomadic, along with others in Tlaltenango, Juchipila and Teocaltiche.

Main communities in Zacatecas

- Chalchihuites

- Fresnillo

- Guadalupe

- Jalpa

- Jerez de Garcia Salinas

- Juchipila

- Juan Aldama

- Moyahua De Estrada

- Loreto

- Ojocaliente

- Rio Grande

- Sain Alto

- Nochistlan

- Sombrerete

- Valparaiso

- Victor Rosales

- Villanueva

- Zacatecas

Visiting Zacatecas

By Air, you can take a direct flight to the Zacatecas International Airport (ZCL) from Mexico City and Tijuana. Direct flights also exist to the U.S. cities of Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Houston.

Once at the airport just take a 20 min. taxi ride to downtown.

By bus Most major cities offer direct buses to Zacatecas, usually operated by either Omnibus de Mexico, Estrella Blanca, or their affiliates, especially those cities located in Northern Mexico.

If you are traveling by bus from Southern Mexico you may have to make a connection in Mexico City.

There are also buses that run from Zacatecas to the US mainly Texas operated by companies such as Autobuses Americanos, Omnibus Mexicanos, and Turimex Internacional.

The Central Camionera or bus station is on a hilltop a bit out of town. The taxi ride into town will cost roughly around 35 pesos.

By car From the south, you can take Hwy. 45D, a toll road, from Querétaro through Irapuato, Leon, and Aguascalientes a 6-hr. drive.

It's expensive about 300 pesos but relatively fast. Hwy. 54 heads northeast to Saltillo and Monterrey a 5- to 6-hr. drive and southeast to Guadalajara a 4 1/2-hr. drive.

Hwy. 49 leads north to Torreon 4 hr. and southeast to San Luis Potosi 3 hr. Hwy. 45 heads to Durango 4 hr.

From Abroad Arrive to Mexico City International Airport, then you can either take a bus or jump on another plane.

Walking is probably the best way to get around the Centro Historico or Historic Downtown which is relatively small.

It will allow you to see the city at your own pace. Note that the elevation of the Centro is about 8000 feet or 2400 meters while surrounding portions of the city are much higher. Be sure that you are acclimated to the altitude.

If you get tired, take a taxi cab. They are moderately priced and available all over the city. Just make sure you ask in advance to the taxi driver how much he will charge you.

As most prices in Mexico, taxi fares are open to negotiation and asking in advance should give you a better negotiating position.

There is also the Maxibus and Tren Zacatecano which will drive you around the city to show you the interesting sites. Both cost 40 pesos for adults and 30 for reductions, last about 45 minutes and leave from the Plaza de Armas.

Nearly all of the city center buildings are nineteenth century or older; the topography and irregular street pattern, most streets are too steep and narrow for vehicles; many have steps in them almost make one think of a medieval city like Toledo, Spain.

The city, built on the site where silver was discovered in the 1530s, is crammed into a narrow canyon, with houses and churches perched on its nearly vertical walls.

The whole town is a museum; there are three seventeenth or eighteenth century ex-monasteries near the center, several other churches from the colonial era scattered here and there, and at least half a dozen other museums, nearly all worth visiting.

Houses and streets, all of which built in colonial times are worth seeing on their own.

Cathedral: It is one of the most beautiful examples of Churrigueresque arquitecture in Mexico. It is an elaborately carved red-stone or cantera structure that was built between 1730 and 1760.

It is flanked by two towers with an exuberant ornamentation and has a notable facade that was richly sculpted but its once decorated interior was looted during the civil wars of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Its coupula was reconstructed in 1836 and imitates that one of the church of Nuestra Senora de Loreto in Mexico City.

Church of Santo Domingo: Almost in front of the cathedral, on one of the corners of the Plaza de Armas, the Veyna alley lies, leading to the church of Santo Domingo that was built by the jesuits between 1746 and 1749 and has a beautiful Baroque facade.

Splendid gold wood-carved altarpieces, all of them churrigueresque, and Francisco Antonio Vallejo paintings (XVIII) that represent scenes of The Passion can be found inside.

Exconvento de San Augustin is a former monastery from the XVII century. The main church is now used for conferences and cultural events; the monastery still houses the bishop's offices.

School of La Compania de Jesus: It shows a richly sculpted facade; the cloister is surrounded by halls whose vaults are decorated with cherubim.

Church of San Agustin: It has a plateresque facade decorated with a bas-relief.

Parish of La Virgen del Patrocinio: It lies at the summit of a hill (Cerro de la Bufa). It was built in 1728.

El Cubo aqueduct: It runs through the city. It was constructed more than 250 years ago.

Antigua Plaza de Toros San Pedro: This former bull ring, adjacent to the Aqueduct has been converted into a luxury hotel.

Enjoy a walk around the ring, and if you feel like splurging a bit enjoy lunch or dinner at the Hotel's restaurant, which has a commanding view of the ring.

Palacio de Gobierno and Plaza de Armas The square beside the Cathedral, interesting murals inside the Government Buildings.

Santo Domingo Church Located parallel to the Cathedral, Jesuit church.

Casa de Moneda

Palacio Legislativo Beside the ex-convento de San Agustín, formerly a church, now houses the state legislature.
Teatro Calderón Beside the Mercado González Ortega. Impressive facade.

Mercado Gonzalez Ortega Nice, small market selling artesanship and other goods.

Jardin Juarez Beautiful small park beside a lovely square. Beside the University Museum.

Alameda Another garden, on the way back from La Mina de Edén, beside it is la Jardin de la Madre.

Templo de Fatima Impressive neo-gothic temple located on a hill above the Parque General Enrique Estrada

Parque General Enrique Estrada Beautiful park beside the aquaduct and the Templo de Fatima. Contains a beautiful fountain, a band stand and a number of places to sit and relax or have an enjoyable stroll.

Callejon de Alcaicería de Gómez Alley leading to Avenida Hidalgo from the Museum of Abstract Art.

Museums in Zacatecas

Museo Rafael Coronel Set in a partially restored convent dating back to the 16th-17th centuries, this museum houses a large and diverse collection of masks drawn from several regions of Mexico and from other cultures around the world.

Masks from different regions and eras are grouped together by themes and uses, including masks used in Carnival and in religious pageants, such as those commemorating the Reconquista.

Particularly interesting is the alternate incorporation and subversion of pre-Hispanic symbols.

The Diablo room is not to be missed. Portions of the convent grounds that could not be restored have been converted into a garden, with crumbling walls, standing arches and greenery.

Museo Pedro Coronel located next to the Santo Domingo church, it houses a colonial-era library and a large eclectic collection of European, African, American, and Mexican art.

Museum of Modern Art Manuel Felguerez– One of the best museums in Zacatecas. The large building, which once housed a Seminar and later a prison, now houses a large collection of Abstract paintings and Sculptures.

The museum was restored in a minimalistic aesthetic, complementing the more than 100 works by Felguerez as well as works by more than 110 other artists from around the world.

The room housing the murals that Felguerez made for the Mexican Pavilion at the Osaka World's Exhibition of 1970 is breathtaking and one of the highlights of the Museum's collection.

Museo Francisco Goitia

Museo Huichol is a small museum located across the street from San Augustin and exhibits crafts and other artifacts belonging to the Huichol culture, whose members still maintain a pre-Columbian lifestyle in the mountains between Zacatecas and Nayarit.

Museo de la Toma de Zacatecas Located a top of La Bufa, it houses weapons, documents, photos, and other artifacts relating to this decisive battle of the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
Cerro de la Bufa
La Bufa. The Cerro de la Bufa, a mountain with a very distinctive shape, is beside the city and, along the cathedral, is recognized as the city's most recognizable landmark.

The best way to get to the top is using the Teleferico or Cable Car which takes you from from the Cerro del Grillo or Criket’s Hill to the top of La Bufa.

Once at the top of la Bufa don’t forget to visit:

The Museum of La Toma de Zacatecas meaning The fall of Zacatecas, displaying weapons, artifacts, pictures, and documents of this battle which took place during the Mexican Revolution.

From El Mirador you can enjoy probably some of the best views the city has to offer.

The Statues of Pancho Villa and two of his Generals.

The Capilla de Nuestra Senora del Patrocinio the Chapel of our Lady of el Patrocinio, the city’s patron.
Some walk up Cerro de la Bufa using the rock & concrete stairway that goes all the way up to Museum, Statues, vendors, & Mausoleum.

The staircase ranges from about 3 to 10 meters wide, with plenty of nice places to stop, sit down, & take in the amazing views and beautiful flora along the way. It's a ~30 min hike from the Cathedral up the mountain, going at a slow pace.

If you are a little of an outdoorsy type you can hike to the summit of la Bufa which is indicated by the very large cross. It is not too hard to get to it if you find the right way ask an experienced local, but don't try this alone.

Rotonda de los Hombres y Mujeres Ilustres or Mausoleum of the illustrious Men and Women. Nothing very exciting about this structure unless you are extremely interested in researching the history of the city.

But since you are up there why not spend a few minutes here. The views are incredible.

Monasterio de Guadalupe Five miles away, in Guadalupe, Zacatecas, is the again-active Franciscan monastery from which missionaries were sent out to christianize the inhabitants of Texas, New Mexico, and California it is the mother of the Spanish missions in the U.S.

Much of the old monastery is a museum of colonial religious art, paintings by Indians trained in the European tradition.

The paintings are amazing, and the architecture of the cloisters, the church and the Capilla de Napoli is unforgettable.

Museo de Zoquite 8 Miles south.

Ex-Hacienda de Trancoso 12 Miles south

La Quemada 34 Miles south

Take the teleferico or cable car to or from La Bufa, passing high above the city center.

Visit the no longer active silver mine El Eden to see how the mountain under the city was hollowed out by hand over a period of three hundred years, most of the rock was carried up in baskets on the miners' backs, as they climbed out on ropes.

It also has a nightclub and although not many locals frequent the spot, it is fun to go once just to experience the world's only nightclub inside a mine.

Rent a car and go to La Quemada and/or Chalchihuites to see ruins of cities hundreds of years old.

Join locals in a Callejoneada,a walking party around downtown's distinctive callejones, narrow streets or alleys complete with live music and a donkey loaded with free Mezcal.

Usually everybody is welcomed to join and most likely you won't be the only tourist joining the entourage.

Take a number 2 bus for a scenic view of the city from the heights where the poor live, before the automobile the rich preferred not to climb mountains to get to their houses.

Visit Centro Platero Zacatecano to see the silver-processing hacienda, where mercury-based enrichment, developed in Zacatecas and adopted throughout the world, was used for more than a century to get metallic silver from ore.

The State of Zacatecas today still mines about half the world's silver, though the mines under the city are abandoned because of the danger of using explosives in an urban area.

To get there take the Lopez Mateos Boulevard from downtown south towards Guadalupe, take the Bernardez exit, turn Right into Avenida Mexico, and then left at the Security gate.

The former hacienda is within a gated community, no worries, they let anyone in. An easier option would be to take a cab.

Shopping in Zacatecas

Pitiado-A local craft in which leather artifacts are beautifully hand-embroidered in complicated designs using pita thread.

Assorted Mexican Candy.

Local artifacts - in the Mercado Gonzalez Ortega, there is a shop that sells native Huichol artifacts, some of which can be relatively hard to find elsewhere. Apart from that, the usual things you find in tourist shops.

Los Dorados - Plaza 450, opposite to the arcs is one of the best spots for enjoying a traditional dinner. Expect a little wait as the place is popular and small.

Cafe Neveria Acropolis at Av. Hidalgo and Rinconada de Catedral, just across the way from the Cathedral in the Centro Historico is a good bet for tourists who want a conventional breakfast, if you can find a seat.

Back in the days it used to be a hotspot for dignitaries, celebrities and artists visiting the city, evidence of whose passage line the walls. The Italian-style coffee is quite nice, and the huevos rancheros come recommended.

La Cuija One of the oldest more formal restaurants is in the basement of the same Mercado building as the Acropolis. By the way, Zacatecanos usually eat their principal meal around four o'clock in the afternoon.

If a restaurant looks deserted at U.S. mealtimes, it may still be very popular.

Mi Pueblito is a nice traditional Mexican restaurant near the Cathedral and recommended by locals. It is located inside of a shopping plaza just to the northeast of a Mercado building.

El Barretero is away from the center, on the other side of the railroad, but has excellent food and usually live music strings, piano, Mexican popular music, not mariachi. Try the cabrito or baby goat.

Hacienda Del Cobre or House of the Coopper Kettle Traditional Mexican fare. Serves fantastic molcajete, a type of stew made of a variety of ingredients such as chilis, chicken, pork, steak, avocados, cheese. Served in a hot from the fire molcajete bowl or mortar.

Las Costillas de Sancho or The Ribs of Sancho Serves beef bibs and great steaks. Relaxing atmosphere with well stocked central bar. English menus are available by request.

Vips Mexican version of Denny's. Owned by the Walmart company. Serves American style breakfast as well as Tex-Mex versions of traditional Mexican dishes. English menus are available by request.

Quinta Real Resturant Restaurant is inside the Quinta Real Hotel which is the old bullring of San Pedro. The restaurant is on the balcony of the rotation of the bullring, which has been turned into a beautiful colonial patio.

Stone pavement and adorned style with abundant flowers combine with the meal to make this a unique restaurant. English menus are available by request.

La Traviata Good Italian fare in the shopping district.

State Zacatecaz is a Mexican state. It is a desert state and the food is excellent.

La Mayora, Plaza Goitya 104. 1:00 pm 11:30 pm. The only restaurant serving only 16 & 17 century Zacatecan cuisine in downtown Zacatecas.

Mezcal - Tequila is a variety of Mezcal. Zacatecano and Huitzila are some traditional local brands. Avoid anything that doesn't say 100% agave.

Accomodations in Zacatecas

Hostal Villa Colonial, The family-run Hostel Villa Colonial located on Calle 1 de mayo behind the Cathedral is the best value in town.

It is in a beautiful colonial building and the large rooftop terrace has a breathtaking view of the cathedral. Although a hostel, it also has private rooms which also have a beautiful view.

The owners provide excellent advice and really know the town. Kitchen use. Internet 15 Pesos/h. Dorms from 100 Pesos.

Hostal Las Margaritas, this family run hostal is a great value at $14 a night. Calle 2da de Las Margaritas #105.

Hostal Don David just around the corner of Hostel Villa Colonial, Calle del Obrador 204.

Rigoberto o Violeta, is a bit less comfortable. Dorms from 90 Pesos. Internet 7 Pesos/h.

Hotel La Central Right beside the central bus station, handy if you don't want to go further for a room. Internet available. Rooms are 380 pesos.

Juvenil Villa Deportiva, 1 & 2 Zacatecas has two institutional style youth hostels. Both have about 100 beds and cater to youth groups, although anyone is welcome to stay. Cost is ~$2USD/night.

Quinta Real Hotel. For something a little more upscale, try the Quinta Real, which previously was the town's plaza de toros before it was turned into a luxury inn.

Maria Benita comfortable but not expensive, is the Maria Benita, Ave. Lopez Velarde, midway between downtown and the university campus. If you get a street-side room you may see parades, protests, and other local activities from your window.


Some places to visit

Day-trip places include the Convent of Guadalupe, La Quemada, Fresnillo, Juchilpila canyon amongst others.

Fresnillo
Fresnillo founded in 1554 by Francisco de Ibarra, is the second largest city in Zacatecas state, north central Mexico and the seat of Fresnillo municipality.

As a rail and highway junction, Fresnillo is the center of a rich mining area known especially for silver, and the location of one of the world's richest silver mines, the Mina Proano or Fresnillo Mine, which belongs to the Penoles mining company.

It has a mining school, and agriculture and cattle raising are other important economic activities. Fresnillo is also the municipal seat of the municipality of the same name which surrounds it.

The municipality had a population of 196,538 and an areal extent of 4,947 square kilometres.

It is the location of religious pilgrimages to see the famous Santo Nino de Atocha, a Roman Catholic devotional statue brought to Mexico from Spain.

Jerez de García Salinas
Jerez is a town and municipality in the Mexican state of Zacatecas. To distinguish the two, the town, is officially called Jerez de Garcia Salinas to honor an 18th-century reformer.

The town of Jerez is the local government of 128 other communities, a rural area noted for its production of fruit trees and dairy.

The town was named a Pueblo Magico to attract tourism, as it lies close the state capital of Zacatecas and offers handcrafts, traditional food and architecture.

Guadalupe
Guadalupe is the third-largest city in the state of Zacatecas in Mexico. It lies adjacent to the east side of the city of Zacatecas and is a component of the Zacatecas-Guadalupe metropolitan area.

The city had a 2005 census population of 99,572 inhabitants and serves as municipal seat of the municipality of Guadalupe.

La Quemada
La Quemada is an archeological site, also known as Chicomoztoc. It is located in the Villanueva Municipality, in the state of Zacatecas, about 56 km south of the city of Zacatecas on Fed 54 Zacatecas–Guadalajara, in Mexico.

La Quemada is made up of numerous different size masonry platforms built onto the hill, these were foundations for structures built over them.

On the south and southeastern sides is a high concentration of ceremonial constructions, some of which are complexes made up of sunken patio platforms and altar-pyramid, a typical Mesoamerican architectonic attribute.

On the west side is a series of platforms or terraces, apparently more residential structures than ceremonial.

All architectonic elements of La Quemada were constructed with rhyolite which is a volcanic effusive rock of the granite family slabs, extracted from the hill located northeast of the Votive Pyramid.

To build the structures and join the slabs a clay and vegetal fiber mortar was used, as it degrades and erodes in time, it caused wall deterioration.

Over the masonry walls several clay stucco layers were applied, currently only a few samples of original finishing remain.

Studies made to date, provide basis to determine that the monumental complex was constructed at different times.

It is known that the structures built were constructed over previous constructions, which were covered by later constructive stages.

If the total elements of this site are considered, from the extensive roads and the numerous smaller sites linked to La Quemada, this is a singular archaeological site in the context of mesoamerican sites.


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