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A UNESCO World Heritage City

Long a favorite with knowing travelers, this almost perfectly preserved colonial city lies in the heart of the colonial highlands Northwest of Mexico City. The streets are wide and clean; the architecture is maintained by municipal decree; and the mile-long, 18th-century aqueduct with hundreds of arches is a remnant of the Spanish heritage of creative infrastructure.

The city’s central plaza is dominated by a magnificent cathedral with twin pink spires. It is considered Mexico’s best example of Plateresque architecture, so-called because its intricate ornamentation is reminiscent of silver plating. Among other interesting buildings is the Museo del Estado, formerly the home of the first empress of Mexico and now filled with archaeological relics from around the state.

This is a place to shop. With streets lined with flower stands and balloon vendors and folk dancing in the main plaza and bandstand concerts on Sundays, the area around the Casa de Artesanias is filled with shops. The Casa itself offers the best of the regional handicrafts: straw work form Tzintzuntzan, lacquer-ware from Urapan, copper from Santa Clara del Cobre and decorative pottery from Chapula.

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