Valle de Bravo, Mexico
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The town of Valle de Bravo is located in the municipality with the same name, in the western part of the State of Mexico, just a two-hour drive from Mexico City. It was named in 1971 by the federal government as a ''Typical City'' and has been recently awarded the title of a ''Magic Town'' by the Secretary of Tourism. These awards are a consequence of the natural beauty of Valle de Bravo's streets, landscapes, traditions and exclusive atmosphere that increases the attractiveness of this magnificent town.
Valle de Bravo is a charming place that has continuously grown, with regards to residential, commercial and touristic areas. It's a fascinating place for visitors to spend days and nights among its inspiring stone streets, which extend like rivers descending from the hills. In addition the picturesque countryside is dotted with houses that are mainly white, although their bases, in contrast, are painted red and the roofs are constructed of red tiles and wooden eaves.
The town takes its name from a combination of two names, San Francisco del Valle de Temascaltepec, patron saint of the village since the time of the Franciscan conquistadores and Don Nicolas Bravo, a Mexican soldier and politician who recruited several indigenous people from the area for his army.
The historic heritage found in the territory of Valle de Bravo dates back to pre-Hispanic times. In this town, the ancient religious and civil architecture stands out from the contemporary constructions and offers a great vista of the urban landscape. Valle de Bravo has several popular traditions and festivities that define the local culture and, added to the natural attractions of the region, guarantee the visitors a fantastic, educational and inspiring sightseeing experience.The weather in Valle de Bravo is predominantly cold, with some warm days; this is due to its altitude, 7218 feet above sea level. The town, which is located between a wood that is filled with majestic oak trees and a coniferous forest, has a wonderful artificial lake in front of it as its centerpiece. Its magnetism and artistic characteristics have attracted visitors from all over the world, who come to enjoy the array of social, artistic, sporting and even ecological activities on offer in this unique town.
A Rich History
The area presently occupied by Valle de Bravo was populated hundreds of years ago by the Matlaltzinca and the Mazahua, who were indigenous tribes from the central part of the country that shared several territories. Since the colonization of the Americas, a tiny village started to form around the main construction, called the Temple of Santa Maria Ahuacatlan, which was eventually known as San Francisco Valle de Temascaltepec. As time passed by the settlement began to grow and in 1839 it was officially named villa, which later, in 1852, was changed to ''Valle de Bravo'' and became independent from Temascaltepec.
During the Mexican Revolution, Valle de Bravo was attacked six times by Zapatistas and Carrancistas forces between 1912 and 1917. At this time, much of the town's history was lost due to a devastating fire at the City Hall. After this unfortunate event, the town underwent reconstruction, although it served as refuge for several military groups and as a consequence it was the perfect battle field.
By 1947 the reconstruction of Valle de Bravo ended with the building of the Miguel Aleman Hydroelectric System, which in turn created the Avandaro Lake that would ultimately be the reason that the superb tourist destination of Valle de Bravo was created.
So Much to Discover
For several decades, Valle de Bravo has been recognized as one of the most exclusive vacation gateways for the people from the metropolitan area of Mexico City. Here you can enjoy splendid walks beside the lake, rent a boat, go fishing, try water skiing, or even go horseback riding in the surrounding areas and take in the beautiful scenery and rustic charm of Valle de Bravo.
As part of the commercial and cultural attractions in the area, numerous artistic activities are offered usually in the town's main square, which is known for its cleanliness and picturesque antique Mexican design. It is always adorned with flowers, beautifully lit at night and also used for special festivities that include lots of exciting firework displays that are launched from large towers and definitely a sight worth seeing.
Several diverse cultural and sporting events take place in Valle de Bravo, such as Festival de las Almas (Festival of the Souls), celebrated around the Day of the Dead to support the local indigenous cultures, as well as the Festival Internacional de Musica y Ecologia de Valle de Bravo (International Music and Ecologic Festival of Valle de Bravo), which features social-welfare oriented concerts and conferences. Furthermore, the town has hosted an annual triathlon, since 1987, taking advantage of the natural terrain of the area, which is the perfect environment for running, swimming and biking.
Valle de Bravo also hosts a yearly off-road motocross race, which is part of a larger event called Fun Enduro. The event, which has now achieved fame around the world, lasts for 3 days and includes endurance as well as timed races.
Avandaro, also known as Tenantongo, is a town near Valle de Bravo that is adjacent to a gorgeous lake with the same name, and means ''place in the sky'' in the Purepecha language.
Avandaro has fantastic residential and tourist areas that are frequently visited by people looking to play its incredible golf courses, enjoy Mexican antojitos (traditional Mexican food) and savor the typical dishes in the restaurants. Shop for a great variety of handcrafts or go on an exciting horseback ride surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and landscapes; it's all available here. Avandaro is nestled in the mountains, enclosed by a lush forest with marvelous rivers, streams and waterfalls.
The town also has ecological reserves with stone grills, perfect for people who enjoy cooking outdoors. Among the natural attractions, Salto Velo de Novia (Wedding Veil Waterfall) really stands out. This charming cold water cascade provides a tranquil place to relax due to its refreshing breeze and the magnificent way the water falls, resembling a brides veil and hence the name.
The Mazahua are indigenous people who have their origins in a nomad group known as Chichimecas, who settled and extended their terrain throughout the State of Mexico and surrounding area. San Gabriel Ixtla, a town located 10 minutes away from Valle de Bravo, situated in the same municipality, is the main village of the Mazahua.
Since their humble beginnings, these people have been oppressed by the Aztecs, as well as by the conquistadores. Nowadays, their economy is based around handicrafts and crops, since most of Mazahua people own their own land and houses, allowing them to produce many different types of commercial products.In Valle de Bravo, the Mazahua community has been widely accepted by tourists and residents alike. They have adapted to many aspects of modern life, while still managing to maintain many of their cultural customs and their rich heritage.