DescriptionNote: For current information about safety/security issues in Chihuahua, refer to the U.S. State Department website (travel.state.gov).
Chihuahua has figured prominently in Mexico's history despite its geographical isolation. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, champion of Mexican independence, was executed here in 1811. It served as headquarters for Benito Juárez when French troops invaded Mexico between 1862 and 1867. Outlaw Pancho Villa frequented the surrounding countryside in the early 20th century and once captured the city by disguising his men as peasants going to market.
Industrial plants clog Chihuahua's outskirts, but like many Mexican cities it has a well-preserved historic center that manages to evoke a bit of 19th-century atmosphere. Downtown is divided by northwest/southeast Avenida Independencia; Plaza de Armas, the main square, is a block below this street. Take a taxi to reach such outlying points of interest as the Museum of the Revolution.
Rising from the plaza is a 115-foot-tall marble column topped by the bronze Angel of Freedom. The statue stands on a slowly revolving base; at night a laser beam shoots out from the angel's sword. About 3 blocks northwest of Plaza de Armas at Av. Juárez #321 is the Juárez House (Casa de Juárez), also known as the Museum of the Republican Loyalty. Between October 1864 and December 1866 president Benito Juárez took refuge in this house while in exile during the brief reign of Archduke Maximilian. It exhibits historic objects, documents signed by Juárez and a replica of the carriage he rode in during a trip through the state. The museum is open Tues.-Sun. 9-6; phone (614) 410-4258.
The small Temple of Santa Rita, Calle 10 de Mayo #1601-A, Colonia Santa Rita, is very significant for Chihuahuans, who consider St. Rita the city's patroness. The site was originally occupied by a hacienda and a smelting plant. The daughter of a general who acquired the property had a chapel built in honor of Santa Rita. In 1837 it became a hospice for the poor, initiating the popular devotion for Santa Rita. The chapel was restored in 1949 and retains its original beams.
The family-oriented Santa Rita Fair, which takes place the last 2 weeks in May, has an old-fashioned midway with rides and regional food vendors, along with a full schedule of cultural events, dances and live entertainment.
The city's ancient aqueduct was begun in 1706; prior to its construction canoes carried water from the Chuvíscar River to a smelting hacienda. The ditches dug for the canoes provided the foundation for a stone aqueduct completed in 1854; some of the semicircular arches can still be seen.
Lerdo Park, on Paseo Bolívar southeast of Plaza de Armas, is the scene of Sunday concerts. Seasonal Sunday afternoon bullfights take place at the 7,500-seat Plaza La Esperanza. For a good selection of Tarahumara and other regional crafts, visit the House of Crafts of the State of Chihuahua (Casa de las Artesanías del Estado de Chihuahua), at Av. Niños Heroes #1101 (near the Federal Palace). The shop is closed Sunday; phone (614) 437-1292.
The El Tarahumara Trolley is a convenient way to see the sights. Service begins in front of the city's cathedral, facing the main plaza; the 19-passenger trolley completes the tour loop in 1 hour and runs Tues.-Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-3. One ticket allows passengers to get on and off at different stops up to four times in the same day; the fare is 100 pesos per person.
Day trips can be made to Aquiles Serdán (also known as Santa Eulalia), east of the city via Mex. 45, and to Aldama, north via Mex. 16. Reputedly the oldest mining town in northern Mexico, Santa Eulalia has been restored and has a cathedral, the Templo de Santa Eulalia de Mérida, that contains impressive religious artwork. Near Aldama are the ruins of the Santa Ana de Chinarras Mission, founded by Jesuits in 1717. These highways run through desert areas with very few facilities; driving at night is not recommended.
Visitor InfoChihuahua State Tourism Office (Información Turística del Estado) Address not available CHIHUAHUA, CH . Phone:(614)429-3596
Things to SeeCasa Redonda Museum