DescriptionZacatecas (sah-kah-TEH-kahs), capital of the state of the same name, is built in a ravine on the slopes of Cerro de la Bufa, a mountain 8,748 feet high. This centuries-old mining settlement was conquered by the Spaniards in 1548; 40 years later it was bestowed the title of “The Very Noble and Loyal City of Our Lady of the Zacatecas” because of the vast quantities of silver shipped from the region to Spain. Although surrounded by agricultural and cattle-raising lands, Zacatecas continues to be a center for silver mining. The largest mine in the region is 200-year-old El Bote, which is still in operation.
Elaborate old mansions, an aqueduct and stone steps connecting steeply inclined flagstone streets lend Zacatecas a decidedly medieval atmosphere; the historic city center was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. The beautiful baroque buildings also attest to the great wealth that was generated by the mines.
A wide, divided avenue 5 kilometers (3 miles) long leads east from downtown to the suburb of Guadalupe, the site of an early 18th-century convent. It once served as a base for Franciscan missions established to the north of Mexico in what is now the southwestern United States. The town is noted for its colonial architecture in addition to marquetry (inlaid woodwork) and wool sarapes with portraits woven into their designs. Trancoso, 22 kilometers (14 miles) east of Zacatecas off Mex. 45/49, has one of the most elegant and best preserved old haciendas in Mexico.
In the barrio of Bracho, on the north side of the loop road encircling the city, the Festival of La Morisma is celebrated the last week in August. The highlight is a spectacular re-enactment of a 3-day battle that took place between Moors and Christians in Spain, carried out by thousands of locals dressed in colorful costumes. Prior to the mock battle the participants march in a huge morning parade accompanied by bands of musicians.
The year's biggest event is the Zacatecas National Fair (Feria Nacional Zacatecas), which takes place over 2 weeks from early through mid-September. A celebration of Zacatecan culture, it offers theatrical performances and traditional dances that honor indigenous ancestry as well as impromptu band performances and concerts featuring well-known Mexican pop music stars. There's also a midway with carnival rides for kids and plenty of booths selling regional food and beverages.
Visitor InfoZacatecas State Tourism Office (Secretaría de Turismo del Estado de Zacatecas) Calle Hidalgo ZACATECAS, ZA . Phone:(492)922-6751
Things to SeeCathedral