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A Tour of the State of Jalisco

Zacatecas

Zacatecas is the capital of the state of Zacatecas which is the Nahuatl name for the indigenous people who inhabited the area before the arrival of the Spanish. The name ultimately derives from the Nahuatl word for a type of grass common in the region, zacatl. The region where this grass grew was originally called Zacatlan, and its inhabitants, Zacatecas.

Zacatecas fascinating colonial downtown offers plenty of sightseeing options and excellent examples of colonial architecture. Zacatecas was founded in 1546 and built over a rich vein of silver discovered by Juan de Tolosa in the same year. This and other mines in the vicinity attracted a large population, and it soon became one of the chief mining centers of Mexico, later it was officially-recognized as a city in 1584. In 1588 Philip II, King of Spain, gave Zacatecas its own coat of arms. The Franciscans built a college in 1616.

Silver from Zacatecas and from Potosí in Bolivia was coined as pieces of eight and transported around the world by the Spanish treasure fleets and the Manila galleons, this is the silver that helped pay for the growth of the Spanish Empire.

The Cathedral is one of the most beautiful examples of churrigueresque architecture in Mexico. It is an elaborately carved red-stone (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 cupola was reconstructed in 1836 and imitates that one of the church of Nuestra Señora de Loreto in Mexico City.

Zacatecas is built in a deep, narrow ravine, 2496 m (8050 ft) above sea level, with narrow, crooked streets (callejones in Spanish) climbing the steep hillsides, and white, flat-roofed houses. The colonial center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and features elaborately decorated buildings, old palaces, residences and mansions; cobblestoned streets, colonial fountains and wrought-iron lanterns. The city is centered on the Plaza de Armas, a small open square bordered by the cathedral and old 16th to 18th century mansions and palaces including the governor's palace. Other small plazas and parks (jardines) dot the city, among them the Jardín de la Independencia and the tiny (19 m²) Jardín de Juárez where the municipal palace is installed. Churches abound, and many have recently been converted into art galleries or museums.

Near the cathedral, on a corner of the Plaza de Armas lies Veyna Alley leading to the Church of Santo Domingo, built by the Jesuits between 1746 and 1749, has a beautiful baroque façade, splendid gold wood-carved altarpieces, all of them churrigueresque, as well as Francisco Antonio Vallejo paintings (XVIII) that represent scenes of The Passion. The College of La Compañía de Jesus shows a richly sculpted façade, its cloister is surrounded by halls whose vaults are decorated with cherubim. Nearby the Church of San Agustin has a plateresque facade decorated with a bas-relief.

The Parish of La Virgen del Patrocinio, built in 1728, lies at the summit of a hill, Cerro de la Bufa. Overlooking the city from an elevation of 150 m (500 ft) is the Cerro de la Bufa, a rocky outcropping crowned by a chapel and which is a popular spot for hiking and taking in the view of the city below. The city is also famous for its "Teleférico", an aerial tramway built by a Swiss company in 1978. The tramway starts at the Cerro del Grillo and "flies" over downtown Zacatecas giving passengers a breathtaking view of the city. The tramway then climbs up to the Cerro de la Bufa where passengers can visit a museum or enjoy the view of the city.

Del Cubo aqueduct: It runs through the city. It was constructed more than 250 years ago. In 1914, during the Mexican Revolution, Zacatecas witnessed a major combat of the Mexican Revolution, in a battle known as the Toma de Zacatecas (Taking of Zacatecas) between the Federal armies of Victoriano Huerta and the Constititutionalist troops of General Francisco Villa. Villa's victory led to the end of the Huerta regime. A monument to the battle and General Villa is at the summit of the Cerro de la Bufa overlooking the city.

Mining is now no longer as important a part of the local economy, and in fact the primary mine (the Mina El Edén) has been converted into a tourist attraction, including an underground disco in a large hollowed out cave. Indeed, the city of Zacatecas is a popular tourist destination for Mexicans, and many of the local businesses cater to them. Its population as of the 2005 census was 122,889. Zacatecas is home to the Autonomous University of Zacatecas (UAZ).

Zacatecas - Mexico
Zacatecas Main Street - Mexico
Zacatecas Church Facade- Mexico
Zacatecas Ex-Bull Ring - Mexico
Zacatecas Aqueduct - Mexico
Zacatecas Steeple - Mexico Zacatecas Church - Mexico
 

Zacatecas Tower - Mexico Zacatecas Street - Mexico

 

Begins in Morelia and ends in Guadalajara.

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