combination of a first class bus out of Chapala (8 a.m.) and a taxi
to the new bus station terminal 5, we take the 9 a.m. first class
bus to Zacatecas. 320 Pesos bought each of us tickets on this air
conditioned bus with movies and refreshments provided by Omnibus. We
arrive on time at our destination 5 hours later.
After arrival and
the station, we always check the bus schedule for departure times to
our next destination. This is an excellent habit to form and will
save you time and hassle later.
From the bus
terminal, we pay our taxi
25 Pesos to take us to Hostal Colonial, in the center of the city
which has this spectacular view of the cathedral from its upstairs
terrace. Two kitchens are available in this hostal, one on this
level and one downstairs. Our room was 250 Pesos per night and
included Cable TV, hot water, WiFi access, book exchange, sitting
room and use of kitchens.
Centuries ago, this area of
Mexico was inhabited by several indigenous tribes who had never been
conquered by the Aztec Indians of the south. There are four primary
tribes who inherited the area of present-day Zacatecas called the
Zacatecos, Cazcanes, Guachichiles, and the Tepehuanes.
As we mentioned
previously, the buildings in Zacatecas are made from the pink stones
of the quarry nearby. At various times during the day, the sunlight
on the stones will bring a type of subtle glow to the city. Think
shades of rose, cream, mocha, and gray. Truly lovely.
Latin America has
many fountains built within their city limits and this adds a
relaxing touch to a bustling place of over a million inhabitants.
When we arrived
at our hostal, we asked for a recommendation to have lunch. By now,
it was almost 4 p.m. and we were hungry! This restaurant is
Adobado de Boda and it was hopping! I had the specialty of the
house and Billy had enchiladas con pollo. With tip it came t
o 250 pesos - a bit steep considering we pay about 100 Pesos in
Chapala for a similar meal - but it was tasty.
The main cathedral is in the center of this
photo. Notice the very clean streets. Everything is made from pink
Hidalgo, a parish priest from the Mexican town of Dolores, issued a call to
rebellion from the Spaniards in 1810, he marched his rebel armies
through this city. When Mexico finally achieved its independence in
1821, Zacatecas joined the new federal republic and was formally
incorporated in 1824.
callejones are common in these colonial cities. Zacatecas is a
little like a Latin-style San Francisco, California. There are
hills, steps and steep inclines. The weather is similar also, crisp
and sometimes overcast or foggy. But when the sun shines, it is
carry the vehicular traffic, and the side callejones are
filled with shops and pedestrians.
plagued with political and military conflicts throughout the 19th
century. The whole state was a critical battleground in the War of the
Reform and the capital of the state, the city of Zacatecas, was
occupied back and forth, by both sides. Even French forces occupied
this regal city, but the occupation lasted only two years. By 1867, the
French had been expelled from the country.
Did I mention
Up and down, and
all around. Wear walking shoes when you visit.
this tranquil city being overrun at war time with impassioned
countrymen fighting for their independence. Did anything happen on
these steps? Or around the corner?
another common feature of architecture in Latin America. The
repetitive pattern against the pink stone is peaceful, and the
effect of a long hallway to another location creates mystery.
These silver bracelets
were some of the most delicate and intricate work I have ever seen.
Prices were affordable and the designs were captivating.
In 1546, a Basque
noble, Juan de Tolosa, was the first European to find silver in
Zacatecas when a small group of Indians living near the present-day
city of Zacatecas brought him several pieces of ore as a gift. In
1548, the Spaniards established many silver
mines and the roads leading from Zacatecas to the rest
of the country were known as the "silver paths."
southern Mexico, eager to earn the higher wages offered by miners,
flooded into the region.
has more than fifteen mining districts which yield silver, lead,
zinc, gold, and other minerals. Thanks to Zacatecas, even today
Mexico is the largest producer of silver in the world, contributing
17% of the world's total output.
dulceria sold specialty sweets from the area. If you want to try
jams, candies, sweet almonds, or syrup this is the place to wander
While much of
Mexico displays bright, riotous color mixes, the capital city of Zacatecas is more
sedate. Here in the center of the photo you can see a building
painted an understated gray-blue to coordinate with the surrounding architecture.
the highlands of Mexico is a must adventure for any traveler. From
the famous silver mining city of Zacatecas to the most Mexican town
in Mexico, Jerez, and finally the World Heritage and enchanting,
University city of Guanajuato. All of these places were unique and
unquestionably worth a visit. For more information and practical
tips for planning this journey for yourself, we offer The
Adventurer's Guide to Mexican Highlands
The morning sun
is gentle perfection and wandering around early in the day will bring you
tranquil enjoyment. Bring your jacket!
More arches, more
steps! There is wordless comfort in the obvious tradition found
here, and I'm taking a rest by the potted plants and enjoying the
everywhere in this city - obvious in the architecture and stone work
seen at every turn.
missionaries had begun a vigorous campaign to win the hearts and
souls of the native people of Zacatecas, and by 1596, fourteen
monasteries dotted the present-day area of Zacatecas. It was part of
a policy called "peace by persuasion" and it proved to be more
effective than the use of the sword.
quantities of food, mostly maize and beef, along with assured freedom from
enslavement helped to settle the area.
street in a city that has yet to awaken.
This stone is
far more orange than many that are used in Zacatecas. Definitive
swirls and slants mark this selection.
In the 1880s, a
transportation revolution brought the railroad to Zacatecas. By the
end of the decade, Zacatecas was linked by rail with several
northern cities, including Ciudad Juarez. The Mexican Central
Railway, which ran from Mexico City through Aguascalientes,
Zacatecas, and Chihuahua, became a major catalyst for the massive
immigration from Zacatecas to the United States during the Twentieth
The colors of
Mexico's flag are draped over the balconies of this building
creating a patriotic and festive statement.
building with tall posters advertising musicians and upcoming
aqueduct running through a park in the city.
Today, in many
parts of Zacatecas, a hundred or more ruins in the state
reveal an ancient civilization that flourished between approximately
200 and 1250 A.D. In fact, a large pre-Columbian settlement
can be found in southwestern Zacatecas.
This is the
Quinta Real, an upscale, famous hotel/restaurant built in an old
bull ring setting. The floors are made of the indigenous pink stone,
and the walls are painted this soothing terracotta color. This makes
for a splendid display of color and light.
This is the old
photo was taken on the topmost level that you see in this photo.
The places that used to house the bulls are now designer stores on
the bottom floor.
aqueduct in the background.
Part of the
restaurant is out-of-doors allowing a spectacular view of the bull
ring below as well as the ancient aqueduct across the street. The
restaurant is upscale and if it is too pricey for you, come for
coffee and a pastry or a happy hour drink instead. You'll enjoy the
view as well as the service.
This is the
These vendors are
selling a medicinal juice from a plant that is naturally sweet
without altering its original flavor. This beverage is excellent for
colds, sore throat and the gripa, or flu.
anything, we give it a whirl! They weren't kidding, it was
in this captivating town. Mini plazas and small shops make for
pleasant detours. We had lunch in one of the small restaurants at
this plazita and it had only two items on the menu: Enchiladas
and Pozole. We split one of each and both were excellent.
With beverages, 100 Pesos was our total.
used to be a convent years ago. Most of it is in ruins and is now a
sort of historical monument to the past. It is worth visiting - just
ask anyone about the ex-convento and they will direct you
here. It is a pleasant walk from downtown. Entrance is 30 Pesos per person.
gentleman sitting on a bench in the afternoon shade, watching the
world go by.
For 27 Pesos per
person, you can take the Teleferico up the Bufa and
see the expansive view of the city. It's an enjoyable walk to the city
below through the small and convoluted streets or take
the Teleferico back down - but you will have to pay the same
fee to return.
On the top
of the Bufa is a very good historical museum with many
newspaper clippings along with photos, a church and many bronze
statues commemorating the war heroes of the Mexican revolution. The
man on the horse in this photo is Pancho Villa.
In June 1914, the
city of Zacatecas became the center of national attention when
Pancho Villa and his Dorados stormed the city to clash with Spanish
forces commanded by General Victoriano Huerta. The battle, which
became known as La Toma de Zacatecas (The Taking of Zacatecas),
was the largest and bloodiest of the revolution, leaving 7,000
soldiers dead and 5,000 wounded; the number of civilian casualties
was never recorded.
2010 is a big
year in Mexican history as they are celebrating their 200 year
anniversary of their independence from Spain, and 100 years since