Vacations, Travel and Tourism to Zacatecas
Zacatecas is a beautiful city located in the middle of Mexico. Its impressive mining industry has been for many years the most emblematic activity of this region, which offers an agreeable ambience, endowed by wonderful landscapes. Due to the beauty of the city, the UNESCO selected Zacatecas as a World Cultural Heritage Site. It is the sort of beauty that is appreciated by residents and visitors, as well as people who like to admire cities with history, tradition and warm hospitality. Its colonial style creates an ideal backdrop when you walk down the streets, flanked by buildings, which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
The origin of Zacatecas' name comes from the Nahuatl words "zacatl" which means "zacate" (a rough, natural fiber), and "co" is a suffix that means "from the place of". Therefore, the literal translation to English is "the place where the zacate abounds". In 1546, after discovering the important silver deposits at the foot of the Cerro de la Bufa, Zacatecas was founded on September the 8th of the same year, turning it into one of the most important cities of New Spain. This is the main reason why its urban aspect adopted a neoclassic architecture and a fine French style.
During the independence and reformist movements in Mexico, Zacatecas was venue of many crucial events, being the most important on the 1910, when the city was taken during the Mexican Revolution by the troops of famous Revolutionary hero Francisco Villa, aka "Pancho Villa".
The weather in Zacatecas is mostly cold, a reason why its residents have adopted the following phrase, which translated literally says, "In Zacatecas there are only two stations (the Spanish word "estacion" can be translated as "station" or "season"): the train station and the winter station (season)", making an appropriated allusion to the range of temperature (anywhere between 50F and 70F) in this city.
The city's beautiful streets are orderly, with the names carved in plaques of pink quarry stone. The majestic monuments and temples built of this material can also be seen on the streets and in the buildings that emanates a stately air which captivates, enchants and enamors.
Mining is undoubtedly one of the oldest, as well as one of the most important, activities of Zacatecas. Research has shown that the first settlements, between 100 and 900 BC, when the first settlements of tribes used rustic tools, such as a stone ax, to extract malachite, turquoise and other minerals. With these minerals, the inhabitants were able to elaborate a type of ink, used to write their codex and decorate ornamental objects. These materials and objects had enormous commercial value during the existence of their tribes, since they interchanged them for the food and clothing. Nowadays, this region remains one of the most important mining zones in Mesoamerica.
The richness of this land was so well-known that around 1549, Zacatecas was already considered one of the most important Novo-Hispanic localities, just behind Mexico City. The mineral resources available are still the base of Zacatecas's economy, silver mining being the most viable and important activity of the city.
In Zacatecas, traditions and festivities are deeply rooted. Folklore is something that can be perceived in the daily activities on its streets, squares and other such representative places. The people from Zacatecas express their land's brilliance with happiness and traditional music from the region.
To visit this colorful city and not take part of an "Andanza" would be a shame. They are also known as "Tamborazos Zacatecanos" and form a part of the famous "Callejonadas", a stroll through the squares, streets and the charming city's alley, where people sing and dance to the rhythm of the music. They are also accompanied by the sound of "barretos", a rhythmical sound that comes from hitting a large chisel with a mallet which once was typically done among the miners. The story goes that miners used to play different musical instruments every Saturday afternoon, right after collecting their weekly salaries. They would get together with a group of friends to walk the streets with their instruments, playing music until daybreak.
Zacatecas: a World Heritage Site
Since December, 1993, the historic center of Zacatecas has been included on the World Heritage List, promoted and evaluated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The colonial buildings and monuments, that are the reason why Zacatecas is included on this prestigious list, undoubtedly make it one of the most attractive places to visit in Mexico.
Zacatecas was awarded this important title because of its historic center, full of magnificent architectural treasures and also due to the beautiful surrounding landscape. The extraordinary way its quarry stone facades have been preserved and the remarkable cleanliness of the city's streets and alleyways were also factors in UNESCO's decision. Take a trip to Zacatecas and experience for yourself this charming colonial city, one of Mexico's most fascinating World Heritage Sites.
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