This World Heritage Site greets us with its pink stone face and its silver heart

Zacatecas, a city in North-Central Mexico, is the capital of the state of Zacatecas. Both domestic and foreign visitors come here to enjoy its charming streets, winding alleys, and beautiful buildings with pink stone facades. Because of this stone and the large amount of silver extracted from its mines, Zacatecas is known as the city “with the stone face and the silver heart.”  

Since its origins as a mining camp in the sixteenth century, Zacatecas has been valued for rich silver deposits and other minerals. On January 20, 1548, pioneering prospector Juan de Tolosa founded the city with Diego de Ibarra, Cristóbal de Oñate, and Baltasar Temiño de Bañuelos.

One of the world’s largest silver mines, Fresnillo, Zacatecas, is only about 30 miles from Zacatecas. Also close by is the village of Plateros. Many make pilgrimages to Plateros at Christmas to bring toys to the Santo Niño de Atocho, a symbol of Zacatecas and the protector of miners. 

Some mines have been adapted for tours, including El Edén, a mine that is part of the Zacatecas below-the-surface to the sky circuit. The tour offers a cable car ride to the legendary Cerro de La Bufa, where visitors can admire the rock formations, mineral colors, and underground machinery.

With a mix of curves and straight lines, the city center architecture is distinctive. Its avenues are punctuated by alleys boasting their own legends. The Callejón del Indio Triste (Alley of the Sad Indian) tells the story of the obsessive love of Xólotl, Lord of Pánuco, for Xúchitl, the last Chichemec Princess. Other notable Zacatecas alleys are Mantequilla, Gallos, Merceditas, San Francisco, Santero, Mono Prieto, Tenorio, and Resbalón.

The Cathedral, with Baroque filigree, is a must-see, as are the Art Nouveau and Neoclassical buildings, panoramic view from the classic cable cars, and art museums with collections from the Viceroyalty period and twentieth century paintings. The callejoneadas, tours where visitors stroll along the streets to the beat of estudiantinas (wandering minstrels), are also enjoyable.

Hotels in Zacatecas range from the authentic Hostel del Vasco, the Hotel Emporio with a pink facade, the sprawling Meson de Jobito, to the unique Quinta Real Zacatecas — to name a few.

The name Zacatecas comes from the Nahuatl language and means “the place where the zacate grass is plentiful.” As a result of its natural beauty and architectural value, the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. Zacatecas tourism is a growing industry.

    Activities

  • Traditions and Festivities
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Extreme Sports
  • Archeology
  • Architecture
  • Museums and Cultural Centers
  • Cuisine
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Shopping
  • Nightlife
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Mining lands by tradition, the mountains of this region are the guardians of customs and beauty

Flanked by two big mountain ranges, the state of Zacatecas, with a long mining tradition, offers several attractions, historical as well as natural.

There are also several options when it comes to ecotourism. You can visit, for instance, the beautiful rock formations, of impressive unique shapes, that stand out in the Western Sierra Madre.

You must live through the unique experience of observing nature from a place like this one. The options are plenty: rambling, hiking, rappelling, fishing, hunting, photographing the landscape, camping and so forth. A lot can be done immersed in the nature that characterizes the region.

The Zacatecas population, of deep religious customs, is constantly celebrating its Saints. For this reason, most of the state’s biggest celebrations are linked to these traditions. The food, the parades of allegorical floats, the fancy costumes and the representations of biblical events, overflow with joy throughout the territory all year round. In addition, the mestizo folk tradition can be observed in each corner of the region.

Since the 18th century, the success of the mining activity has turned the state into a wealthy place, an important commercial gateway of intense financial exchange. Consequently, the architecture here was erected to satisfy the needs presented by such a growth. The capital developed in this way a unique and unpredictable style which has now become part of the World Heritage Site, given the abundant number of civil as well as religious buildings it boasts, providing the very particular traits that characterize it.

The long architectural tradition expanded beyond the capital, so that today it is easy to find cities and towns in the state that are rich in examples of colonial, Baroque and Neo-classical styles. Former haciendas, abandoned mines, ghost towns and so forth, are also part of the attraction of this region.

The nature and architecture of this state will always go hand in hand with the fascinating popular art that the locals have to offer. Be it in silver, wood, ceramic or textile, the Zacatecas imagination is manifested in beautiful ways throughout the state.

Climate: Dry to semi-dry and sub-humid, mild
Temperature: 63°F / 17°C annual average
Location: Central northern Mexico
Area: 46,938 sq miles
Capital: Zacatecas

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