After a long drive and a rest my first experience of Zacatecas was at night. The city has gone to great lengths to illuminate their many fine late period colonial buildings. This makes for quite a delightful experience which is totally different in the day.
It is the capital of the State of the same name in north central Mexico. It quickly became one of the most important cities in New Spain with much of its silver enriching the Spanish crown. The area saw battles during the turbulent 19th century but a major event was the Battle of Zacatecas during the Mexican Revolution when Francisco Villa captured the town-then lost it again.
Mining for many raw materials still remains an important industry in the State. Zacatecas is one of the richest states in Mexico. Because of it’s architecture the city is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Above and below- Hidalgo Street which is the main throughfare.
Above– The Teatro Calderon. Built in the nineteenth century was once one the most luxurious theatres in Mexico.
Above and below The Plaza de Armas with the Governors building and The Catedral precinct.
Above and below the baroque facade of the Catedral de Zacatecas is perhaps shown best by the dramatic nightime lighting.
Above-Masonry in the walls of the Cathedral. This is a typical technique throughout Mexico.
Above Zacatecas in 1836.
Below- Today the view from our rooftop mirador where we stayed.The city is built in a ravine and so everything is uphill (or downhill).
Above and below– The Catedral was built 1718-1732. A flamboyant baroque exterior with a very simple interior.
Like many Catholic sites in Mexico is located over the ruins of pre-Hispanic temples.
Above0 the Templo Santo Domingo as a useful backdrop.
Above– The Calderon Theatre by day.
Above- A corner window in the Palace of the Governors
View of the street from the Mercado Gonzalez Ortega which is Porfiro era Belle Epoque mall.
Above view from the entrance to the Museo Pedro Coronel. (He was the brother of Rafael Coronel who will be the subject of another posting).
It was built in 1616 as the Colegio de la Purisima Concepcion and eventually after the expulsion of the Jesuits becoming a Dominican school. Below here it is in an early map.
The first thing one encounters is the magnificent library of some 25,000 books and early manuscripts. (More on the contents later).
Below- There is a little french style window in one of the galleries that leads out onto a quiet rooftop patio where there is a little memorial to Pedro. Stunning close up views of the tiled dome.
Above the decorative entrance to the small Jardin De La Madre
The architecture covers about every period except modern. Colonial, Baroque and Belle Epoque.
Above a gateway into the Alameda Park which leads up to the original silver mine.
Above– A view of the hill that overlooks the town called La Bufa. On it are museums, lookouts, an observatory and a cable car that travels across the city.
Above– A similar view in the 1830’s. The Mercado is now built on this spot.
Not all the buildings are grand. Many charming alleys and narrow streets invite exploration.
Below– The alley of The Sad Indian !-I think because of the sad fate of those first Indians sent underground to mine all that silver. See next posting on that mine.
Above and below- The Hotel Quinta Real occupies the spot where the old bull ring used to be. In the late nineteenth century bull fighting was outlawed in certain cities by President Porfiro in attempt to assuage the feelings of European investors at the time.
Above and below. These two statues sit in a church who’s name I do not know BUT apart from the usual homage to Jesus there also sits ……..
…a saint for those who sweep the floors.
Below– A great restaurant is The Leyenda (the Legend). In keeping with the artistic nature of this town every surface is covered with some kind of art.
Below- This seems to be the place where some of the art is made.
Below- Masks are big part of Mexico and in particular Zacatecas because of its wonderful mask museum.
More on that in another posting soon.
Below- Sadly Zacatecas- unlike many other colonial cities, has too many old buildings in bad repair or just on the verge of falling down.
The while reason for the city of course was the Mina El Eden silver mine. Not an Eden for those enslaved to work there in the most atrocious conditions. It began operations in 1586. At one point a quarter of the worlds silver came out of that mine making Spain rich on the backs of the native people. The mine is now an interesting tour but photographs do not do the place justice.
Today there is even a nightclub down there.
Below an altar to a little patron saint of the miners- Santo Nino de Atocha.
One item of interest in the museum was this six feet high fossil of a palm leaf and fish. Would make a great coffee table !
Below-Map showing Zacatecas State.