Zacatecas territory extends to an area of 75,040 sq. km. which consist of the eastern Sierra Madre and The Central Plains with a population of approximately 1'353,610 inhabitants. The average temperature prevails at 18 Celsius with the summer months beginning in June and winter months in December.
Zacatecas is home to one of Mexico’s vital railroad systems. The "Central Railroad" route runs from as far south as the State of Mexico to the border town of Ciudad Juarez in the State of Chihuahua. If you choose to travel in a more luxurious fashion to Mexico City you can always take "El Zacatecano" which departs from the City of Zacatecas at 7:30pm with an arrival time of 7am to Mexico City.
The State and Capital name of Zacatecas originate from the Nahuatl language, which describes a "People were Grass is abundant", The word zacatl means "grass" and tecatl means "people".
Zacatecas natural resources are abundant. Especially the extraction of silver from it’s mines which are the highest yielding worldwide. Other key resource is the extraction of calcium sulfate.
Zacatecas, whose gizzard are covered of rich mineral, as the silver, gold, copper, lead, cadmium and zinc, offers to the beautiful tourist colonial cities, warm waters with therapeutic virtues, extraordinary beauty landscapes, cities with large wealth colonial, architectural as well as artistic, crafts between those which emphasize the jeweler's in stones semiprecious, wood articles, of skin and textiles that they are notable for its excellent complete and the exquisite pleasure with which are elaborated.
And by if it would be little, its rich and assorted gastronomy crossbreeds and fine table wines that they are produced in the entity.
Agriculture represents an important role in the state economy. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, onion and oregano are key agricultural products. It’s production of beans and guava lead the nation. Other products that need mentioning are the cultivation of grapevines, chili and tunero cactus.
Cattle raising is also important to the states economy. We can find a history of cattle raising back to the late 16th century when in 1593 bullfights were introduced in both the City of Zacatecas and Sombrerete. In the 17th century cattle raising became widespread when bullfights became common during the religious holidays.
The Zacatecas government has taken all steps necessary to preserve it heritage by maintaining the original architecture for both the religious and civil buildings. An example of such preservation efforts can be seen in the Cathedral. Built between 1730 and 1760, it is the heart of the State Capital. Its façade, reflects the European and indigenous style of architecture of early colonization. These preservation efforts have brought an international audience and in 1994 UNESCO honored the capital city by declaring it Humanity Cultural Patrimony.
Overall, Zacatecas, offers its tourist a taste of colonial Mexico. With its vivid landscapes and a continued tradition of maintaining a 453-year-old tradition, the city can only provide the tourist a gateway to colonial Mexico.
The Museum of Arte Virreinal, where you can admire a collection of paintings of the XVIII century, and an interesting series of anonymous paintings, prepared with a singular technique which gives fantastic optical effects
The Chapel of Napoles, which interior is covered with gold
The Ex-Haciendas of Tacoaleche and Troncoso, built in the XIX century
The artisans of Guadalupe made beautiful inlaid works such as jewel and cigarette boxes, woven blankets and oak wood furniture.
Zacatecas, an early mining town was founded in 1546 after the discovery of silver.This early colonial town became only second to Mexico City during the colonization period in population and economic influence. The city reached its height in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Juan de Tolosa, Diego de Ibarra, Cristobal de Oñate and Baltazar Treviño de Bañuelos founded the noble city on 8th September 1546. Originally it carried the name "The Mines of The Zacatecas", as it was the mines which disgorged fabulous wealth which enriched the Spanish crown. In 1585 it was named "The City of Our Lady of Zacatecas" by the King Felipe II; and He also gave its coat of arms.
In 1993 UNESCO, acknowledging city as a place of exceptional interest and universal value declared the city's colonial core more, continuing to exhibit a rich majestic and stately air, as described by the poet Jerazano (Ramon Lopez Velarde) "... fiel a su espejo diario" ("...faithful to the daily mirror").
Zacatecas main attractions are:
The Calderon Theater (XIX century),
The Baroque-Style Cathedral, built in the XVIII century
The Temple of Fatima
The Santo Domingo Temple, with beautiful golden altars
The San Francisco Convent, built in the XVII century
The San Agustin Church,
The Gonzalez Ortega Market, which nowadays is a commercial center with restaurants, handicraft shops, etc,
The Universo de Pedro Coronel Museum,where artistic works from different parts of the world are exhibited
The Mineralogy Museum of the Autonomous University of Zacatecas
The Meson de Jobito Hotel (Hobito's Hotel), May 08, 2005 1:19 PM
Garden of the Mother
Toma de Zacatecas" Museum
The Enrique Estrada Park, where you can see an amazing aqueduct built in the XVIII century
The Garcia Salinas Park
"Los Faroles" Fountain
The De La Bufa Hill, which is considered a symbol of the City which can be visited by funicular railway. Located on this hill you can see a meteorological observatory and La Toma de Zacatecas Museum and the Mausoleo de los Hombres Ilustres (Famous Men Mausoleum)
Convent of Guadalupe; Museum of Guadalupe, Regional Museum of History (Antique Cars Collection)
The principal festivities in Zacatecas are:
The Fair of Zacatecas, which is celebrated in the first week of September. It's a lively display of the state's commercial, industrial and cultural development.
The De La Morisma Fair in the Chapel of Bracho is a traditional event dating back through hundreds of years. It takes place in the last week of August where three days of battle are reenacted between the Arabs and the Christians.
Festival Cultural Zacatecas, is a much-talked about festival, which takes place through the Holy Week. Beautiful artistic events can be observed displaying the best selection on both a local and national scale.
Tour By Mexico ® e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone/Fax: (777) 318-6541
Zacatecas , state (1990 pop. 1,276,329), 28,125 sq mi (72,844 sq km), N central Mexico. Zacatecas is the capital. Lying on the central plateau, Zacatecas is a state of semiarid plains and mountains. The Sierra Madre Occidental dominates the western half, and a transverse spur (often over 10,000 ft/3,048 m high) of the same range, crossing the state from west to east, divides it. Rainfall is light and vegetation scanty. The absence of large rivers to support irrigation has limited agriculture. Cattle raising is a major activity, but the greatest industry is mining. With gold, silver, mercury, copper, iron, zinc, lead, bismuth, antimony, and salt, Zacatecas is one of Mexico's largest producers of mineral wealth. Low mineral prices, however, have led to the closure of many mines. In recent years there has been a significant outmigration from the state to the United States. After the territory, which under the Spanish also included Aguascalientes, was explored in 1530, it was initially not colonized, and it became a refuge for the indigenous peoples defeated in the Mixtón War. Their continued resistance led to a 1546 expedition from Nueva Galicia to suppress them. The discovery of silver shortly afterward caused a silver rush that all but depopulated Nueva Galicia. Zacatecas is known for its numerous examples of baroque architecture.
The state of Zacatecas is located in the north-western-central high plateau sector of Mexico bounded by the states of Durango, Coahuila, San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, Aguascalientes and Jalisco. The state covers an area of 28,125 sq. miles or 72,844 sq. kilometers.
The city of Zacatecas, it's capital and largest city, has grown up around rich silver-mining operations, although the other minerals are also extracted from the area including gold, mercury, copper and iron ore. Another important economic activity of the state is the raising of cattle on it's outlying ranches.
It's indigenous peoples are fine artists and craftsmen; their wares include embroidered textiles, leatherwork, carved wood and jewellry made with semiprecious stones.
Posted by Zihrena, 2005
When visiting Zacatecas in the fall of 2004, we were intrigued by the menu entries at the Restaurant/Bar El Paraiso on Hidalgo and Plazuela Goitia in downtown Zacatecas.
Asking our waiter about some of them, he very helpfully described the plates and we decided to try two or three of the most appetizing-sounding ones. This is what we had:
Itacate del Minero - which, loosely translated, means "Miner's lunch bucket". (See photo) These consisted of a number of tacos filled with a mixture of shredded meat, beans and eggs in a soft tortilla, wrapped and tied up in a checkered cloth which served as the carrying receptacle for the miners lunches in the past. The cloth, opened up, would conveniently serve as a plate for the tacos and once consumed, the cloth does service as a napkin for cleaning up the drips...
Dobladillos - (See photo, top) - soft tortillas filled variously with black beans, ground spiced beef, cheese and rajas or poblano peppers sauteed with onions. Each taco is folded over twice into neat little packages.
Torrejas - What appeared to be donut-like puffs dribbled with the local specialty, miel de maguey or maguey syrup, and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. A local delicacy that is actually made from slices of french bread dipped in egg and deep fried before being bathed in the miel..
Other regional dishes includes something called Asado de Boda, a dish of pork mixed with red chiles and seasoned with a number of herbs and spices including cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, orange peel and chocolate, commonly served at regional weddings.
Zacatecas also has it's own varieties of enchiladas, carne adobada (meat marinated and cooked in red chiles), hand-made cheeses and gorditas with savory fillings. Mezcal and more recently wines are the beverages of the state. The fruits and other produce of the region figure in many of their sweets such as ates de guayaba y membrillo (fruit jellies made of guavas and quince) and candied yams and squash.
City of Zacatecas, Mexico
City of Zacatecas
The city of Zacatecas is a rose-colored colonial jewel sandwiched between craggy mountains and outcroppings that since 1548, when the settlement was founded, have rendered silver from it's mining operations. Its growth naturally spread along the course of the "Arroyo de la Plata" or Silver Stream at the bottom of ravine. The city is a maze of narrow and twisting streets that seem to slither up the hillsides and its situation and architecture make it one of Mexico's most beautiful colonial cities.
Zacatecas is at an altitude of about 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) in Mexico's north-central plateau.
Places of interest in the city of Zacatecas
The Zacatecs Cathedral was completed in 1732 and is an intricately carved and decorated baroque structure made of the pink stone typical of the area. The Cathedral is located on Hidalgo street in the center of town and surrounded by other gems of colonial architecture.
Palacio de Gobierno
The Government Palace was constructed in the early 1700's as the home of the Count of Santiago de la Laguna, whose wealth was garnered through silver mining. The Palace fronts onto the plaza next to the Cathedral.
The Calderon Theatre, located just down Hidalgo from the Cathedral, dates from the 1800's. It is currently run by the University of Zacatecas and hosts a variety of cultural functions.Of note are it's beautifully decorated 3-storey facade, stained glass windows and it's chandeliers.
Mercado Gonzalez Ortega
Although not an ancient building, this handsome structure was rebuilt after a fire gutted the original market. It is located next to the Cathedral and is notable for it's wrought-iron and arched eastern gallery. The market houses a number of shops and food outlets.
Templo de Santo Domingo
Originally constructed in the 16th C. by Jesuits, this pink-stoned baroque temple was rebuilt in the 18th century and later occupied by the Dominican order along with the Royal College of San Luis Gonzaga next door.
Museo de Arte Zacatecano (Huichol) - The Museum of Zacatecan (Huichol) Art
The museum is located on Dr. I. Hierro across from the Ex-Temple of San Agustin, the museum is open from 10am to 5pm daily except Tuesday.
Above the stairwell to the museum which is housed on the second floor of the building. one is greeted by a impressive large and elaborate Huichol art mural made of "chaquira" (tiny glass beads) embedded in wax on plywood. The mural consists of 80 decorated squares, each square measuring 30 cms (12").
The museum consists of 3 sections, one which holds a variety of religious art, angels, saints, virgins, etc., one which displays ironwork and metal artifacts, and the main section and greatest attraction, which is a fabulous collection of Huichol arts and crafts gathered by Dr. Enrique F. Mertens, who during his time attending to the medical needs of the Huicholes, was often offered embroideries and other crafts by the indians as payment. Rather than accept these gifts, Mertens instead supplied the Huicholes wih thread and cloth and had them embroider a series of embroidery squares of different designs and color combinations. The result is this fabulous collection of 209 squares..
Museo Rafael Coronel - Rafael Coronel Museum (Mask Museum)
Located on 21 de Noviembre and Abasolo, this impressive collection of Mexican masks is housed in one portion of the ex-church and ex-monastery of San Francisco, built in the 16th Century. Other areas of the church and monastery are used for the exhibit of historical artifacts. The museum is open from 10am to 5pm daily except Wednesdays.
Cerro de la Bufa and Teleférico (Cable Car)
The cable car can either be taken from the downtown area up, or from the heights of Cerro de la Bufa down, or both ways - each ride is charged separately (tickets as of August 2004, $21 pesos per person). The lower terminus is located a few blocks up from the Sto. Domingo Plaza via Callejon de Garcia Roja, which is a little uphill hike from downtown (or you can take a bus or cab). If you want to just take the downhill run, take a quick cab ride up to the top of the hill and make your way down.
Atop Cerro de la Bufa is a series of arts and crafts stalls selling souveniers, Huichol art, embroidery, semi-preicous stones and food, as well as the Museo de la Toma de Zacatecas (Museum of the Capture of Zacatecas), which was one of Pancho Villa's most largest victories, and a large statue of Pancho Villa himself.
The views of Zacatecas from the cable car are spectacular (the top most large photo is taken from the cable car vantage point).The teleferico operates between 10am and 6pm and will suspend operations if there is too much wind.
Mina "El Edén" (Eden mine)
This mine is cut diagonally into the mountainside with two entrances, one near the lower cable car terminus on Del Grillo street, the other near the Alameda at Torreon & Quebradillo. The mine shaft follows a vein of silver which was mined, along with other extractions of gold, copper, iron, zinc and lead, as of 1586. It was closed when the lower levels began flooding.
The mine is open for tours from 10am to 6pm.
Near the main Alameda entrance is El Malacate disco, a unique discotheque in the bowels of El Eden. It is open from Thursday to Sunday, 9:30 pm to 2 am. Reservations are necessary: (492) 922-3727.
Guadalupe is almost part of Zacatecas City and a good and easy sidetrip from the city via cab or bus. Of note here are the Franciscan convent and church with it's 19 C. Capilla de Napoles (Naples Chapel), a highly gilded construction in the shape of a cross. It also houses the Viceroyalty Museum of Guadalupe exhibiting art of the colonial era. Next to the convent is the Museo Regional de Historia (Regional History Museum) exhibiting a number of period carriages and antique cars from all over the country. Guadelupe also boasts a Silversmith school, the Centro Platero de Zacatecas, with a number of silver workshops in operation.
A quaint colonial town just over 50 kms south of Zacatecas and at an altitude of some 2,000 meters (7,800 ft), is a pleasant sidetrip from the city. The town was founded at the middle of the 16th C. and some of the buildings of note in the community are the Santuario de Soledad built in 1805 and dedicated to the town's patron saint, the Teatro Hinojosa (Hinojosa Theatre) and the intricate mudéjar-style Edificio de la Torre. Also in Jerez is found the birth-house and museum of Ramon Lopez Velarde, one of Mexico's fine bards. The Jerez region is a rich fruit-growing area producing peaches, applies, plums, apricots and a number of varieties of tunas or prickly pear cactus fruit.
La Quemada Ruins
50 kms to the south-east of Zacatecas City is the La Quemada archaeological site and museum. This highly fortified, terraced and hilltop site was built on an important north-south trading route of the Mesoamericans. It is thought that the settlement reached its height about 900 - 1000 A.D. The on-site museum exhibits artifacts from the most important sites of the State of Zacatecas.
63 kms. north of Zacatecas city is the smaller mining town of Fresnillo, founded in 1554, with a number of notable colonial structures and facilities such as the Museo de Mineria (Mining Museum), Agora "Gonzalez Echeverria", built in 1853 as a mining school, and the Parroquia de la Purificacion, dating from the 18th C.
Western Silver's Peñasquito property is located in Zacatecas State where mining silver has been a way of life for almost 500 years. Today, the region's silver mines are the reason Mexico remains the world's largest silver producer. The historic colonial city of Zacatecas, in Zacatecas State, central Mexico, was settled by the Spanish in the mid-1500s. Its early prosperity was built on the discovery of silver in 1546 by a Basque noble, Captain Juan de Tolosa, and the opening of the San Bernabe and Albarrada's silver mines.
By 1588, the initial settlement had become known as the Very Noble and Loyal Village of Our Lady of Zacatecas, because of the large quantities of silver shipped from the region to Spain. The silver was used to finance Spain's exploration campaigns, not only in Mexico, Central and South America, but around the world. During the sixteenth century, preachers from Zacatecas traveled on missions that took them as far as California. By 1877, silver mined around Zacatecas accounted for 60 per cent of the value of all Mexican exports making it one of Mexico's wealthiest and largest cities.
Today Zacatecas, situated 700 km north of Mexico City, is surrounded by agricultural and cattle-raising lands. Perfectly preserved colonial buildings, more than 400 years old, are testimony to its rich cultural past. Little has changed in the many parts of the city. A casual stroll through the city will reveal ornate cathedrals, historic hotels, monasteries, convents, majestic government buildings and museums full of artifacts and history. In 1993, UNESCO declared the city of Zacatecas a Ôcultural treasure of humanity.'
Zacatecas State is Mexico's eighth largest and has more than 15 mining districts which yield silver, gold, zinc, lead and other minerals. Zacatecas State continues to be the largest source of silver in Mexico and is the reason Mexico remains the world's largest silver producer. The silver mine at El Bote has been in operation for over 200 years.
The Zacatecas Silver Belt is one of the most prolific silver producing areas in the world, hosting the Fresnillo and Zacatecas silver mines which, combined, have produced over 1.5 billion ounces of silver.
Drawing down inventories
Demand for silver has outstripped mining supply for more than a decade. Within the next five years inventories could become critically tight.
GLOBAL inventories of silver are tightening. Each year since 1990 demand for silver has outstripped supply by an average of 140 million ounces a year. In order to meet demand, inventories have been drawn down to between 400 million and 800 million ounces from 2.3 billion ounces, a 50-year low. More importantly, since 1980 the ratio of inventories to consumption has fallen from more than 80 months to under 12 months today.
If this trend continues, inventories of silver will be critically tight within five years. At some point before then the price of silver will have to adjust in order to reduce demand and increase supply.
Large silver deposits are difficult to find. Most of the world's silver is a byproduct of gold, copper and lead-zinc mining where it represents a small portion of the bottom line. There is little economic incentive for these operations to increase silver production. Consequently, the supply of silver may not respond to a small rise in its price. And a sharply higher silver price is unlikely to reduce silver consumption.
Western Silver and its shareholders are well positioned to take advantage of any shortage of supply or rise in the price of silver. The company's 100%-owned Peñasquito project is one of largest undeveloped silver deposits in the world. It is one of the few bulk silver deposits that is economic at metal prices of early 2003. Since then prices have risen sharply, substantially improving the economics of the project. Unlike Peñasquito, many other silver deposits are narrow veins mineable by underground methods that cannot be placed into production or ramped up in size quickly. Significant quantities of gold, zinc and lead, all mineable at current prices, add to Peñasquito's favorable economics.
The Indispensable Metal
The indispensable metal Silver has unique attributes that make it indispensable. It is strong, malleable and highly conductive. It is sensitive to and highly reflective of light. Its reactivity forms the basis for its use in catalysts and photography. Its versatility makes it hard to substitute. Demand for silver falls into three main categories: industrial use which accounts for 40% of silver demand; jewelry and silverware which accounts for 30% of demand and photographic, 24% of demand.
In industry, silver has many electrical and electronics applications including switches, conductors, multi-layer ceramic capacitors, windshields and conductive adhesives. Because of its ease of use in electro-deposition, it is widely used in plating. Its strength and conductivity make it desirable for soldering and brazing. Silver has increasingly important uses in the medical field as a disinfectant for bacteria and algae. Silver's malleability and ability to reflect light makes it highly desirable for manufacturing jewelry. Silver nitrate has been used in photography since its inception. Increasing use of digital cameras and technology has seen some decline in the silver use in the consumer photographic market. Although the use of digital cameras continues to expand, its effect on overall silver usage has been modest.
a milesone driven company
Western Silver is moving forward systematically to develop its key Peñasquito property, reduce overall risk, strengthen the Company and build and nurture partnerships.
In order to add value in the year ahead, the Company plans to:
Complete the pre-feasibility study on Peñasquito's Chile Colorado zone.
Estimate the resource at the property's Peñasco zone also known as the Outcrop Breccia.
Evaluate the high grade intersection at La Palma in the northeast region of Peñasquito.
Evaluate the significance of the property's El Sotol and El Chamisal discoveries.
Complete delineation drilling at Peñasquito's Azul NE and Luna Azul Zones.
Maximize the value of assets outside of Peñasquito.
Add U.S. influence to the Company's Board of Directors.
Continue to nurture and build relationships with partners outside Peñasquito.
F. Dale Corman, P. Eng Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Corman has 40 years of experience in mining, finance and corporate development. He has served as President or Chief Operating Officer of both operating and exploration resource companies, including Consolidated Durham Mines, NBU Mines, Noble Minerals and Oils and U.S.-based Thermal Exploration Company. Mr. Corman also has an extensive investment banking background. He began his career as a field geologist with the Geologic survey of Canada in British Columbia. He joined Western Silver in his current capacity in 1995.
unlocking the value of an emerging silver district May 08, 2005 2:07 PM
Western Silver Corporation is a publicly-traded mineral exploration company focused on discovering and developing silver properties in the Americas. The Company's primary project, the 100%-owned Peñasquito property in central Mexico, is emerging as a large silver-gold-lead-zinc district with significant exploration upside. Peñasquito has been independently confirmed as one of the world's largest undeveloped silver deposits in and is one of the few bulk silver deposits that is economic at recent low metal prices. Western Silver also has an interest in the San Nicolas zinc-copper project with Teck Cominco and owns the Carmacks Copper project in the Yukon. The Company, which is internationally recognized for its technical ability, is listed on the American ( AMEX:WTZ ) and Toronto ( TSX:WTC ) stock exchanges.
DIAZ-SALGADO, Ciro, Posgrado en Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico D.F, 04510, Mexico, email@example.com, CENTENO-GARCIA, Elena, Instituto de Geologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Ciudad Universitaria, Delegacion Coyoacan, Mexico, 04510, Mexico, and GEHRELS, George, Geosciences, Univ of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721
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The Taray Formation is located in the Solitario de Teyra Range, in northern Zacatecas State. It has been considered either part of the Sierra Madre terrane or the Oaxaquia block. It is the oldest exposed unit of the region. Although there are no exposures of the basement, other authors have considered it to be Grenvillian. The Taray Formation is made of highly disrupted rhythmic succession of quartz-rich sandstone and shale. It has interbedded thin layers of black chert, channel-filled conglomerates, and lenses of detrital limestone that contains fragments of crinoids, gastropods, corals, bivalves, and bryozoa. Where the bedding is not disrupted, laminations, inverse grading in conglomerate lenses, sedimentary folding and convolute bedding can be observed, indicating turbiditic flows deposited in a marine setting. This sequence forms a matrix within which blocks of several compositions can be found. The blocks are strongly deformed and in sheared contact with the matrix, are from 1 to 300 m in length, and are all made of the quartz-rich sandstone, black and green chert, pillowed basalts, serpentinite, and scarce crystallized limestone. The matrix shows locally low green schist metamorphic facies, mostly around the blocks. Within the blocks there are in echelon quartz veins that indicate a SW-NE direction of tectonic transport. It is covered unconformably by the Middle Jurassic Nazas Formation. The age of the Taray Formation remains undetermined. There is a report of fusulinids found in a limestone block of Late Paleozoic age. One sandstone sample from the turbidites, analyzed for detrital zircon provenance, yielded ages that cluster around 300 Ma, 600 Ma, and 1 Ga. The youngest zircon ages (around 270 Ma) suggest that deposition of the turbidites had occurred sometime between Late Permian and Middle Jurassic. The Taray Formation has been interpreted as an accretionary prism. We considered that this unit is recording the collision of the Central terrane, of probable oceanic affinity, to the western margin of the North American Plate (Oaxaquia).The Taray Formation has structures originated by two phases of deformation. The first are typical of accretionary prisms. The second set of structures has been observed in the Jurassic Formations as well, and is interpreted to be Laramide in origin.
The city of Zacatecas in northern Mexico is not only a veritable labyrinth of winding streets but also a fascinating labyrinth of artistic and cultural treasures.
Built between hills and on steep slopes, Zacatecas (the name is derived from zacatl = grass and tecatl = people) is one of the few Mexican cities to have a maze-like street plan which makes wandering it a delight, even if it is easy to become disoriented!
The people of Zacatecas are especially proud of having preserved and restored so many ancient architectural and artistic monuments that the city was designated a "Cultural Treasure of Humanity" in 1993 by UNESCO. The result is a happy city, with relatively few above-ground utility poles and no billboard advertising in the historic center.
The following is a suggested self-guiding walking tour of the city center, beginning from the main plaza, by the Cathedral..
The Cathedral was built between 1730 and 1760. The facade, depicting Christ and the 12 apostles, is one of the finest examples of Churrigueresque architecture in Mexico. The rosette window in the center shows especially masterful carving. Inspired by the Holy Trinity, the cathedral has 3 naves, 3 doorways, 3 levels on the main facade with 3 columns defining the niches. The interior of the cathedral is nowhere near so spectacular, though in former times it included a font of solid silver, donated by a local countess.
The main square, or Plaza de Armas, has surprisingly few trees or flowers due to the difficult climate. On its south side is the State Government Palace, an eighteenth century building, originally the dwelling of the Count of Santiago de la Laguna.
Across the main street and on the left as you stand with your back to the Government Palace is the Palacio de la Mala Noche, (The Bad Night Palace), the house of a Spanish miner, Manuel de Rétegui. The discovery of the mine which brought vast, if quickly spent, wealth to the owner, occurred just as he was on the point of committing suicide. Almost next to the Bad Night Palace is the former Hotel Frances, now a tourist information office.
Several blocks walk along Hidalgo Avenue to the east is the former convent of San Francisco, dating from the seventeenth century, now the Rafael Coronel museum with many fine collections including a world-class collection of masks and a display of nineteenth century puppets. (Closed Wednesdays).
Returning towards the center, but on the street above Hidalgo avenue, brings us to the Plaza de Santo Domingo. The church of Santo Domingo, built as a Jesuit church (1746-9) but turned over to the Dominicans when the Jesuits were expelled in 1767, has a particularly interesting interior with 8 Churrigueresque gilded wooden "retablos" or altarpieces, with fine sculptures and paintings.
On the north side of the plaza is the former Jesuit College, now the Pedro Coronel museum displaying this Zacatecan painter's fabulous collection of art from around the world, donated near the end of his life to his native city. Coronel's collection has been described as a "unique example of its kind in Mexico, indeed in all Latin America." The ground floor houses the Elías Amador Library, some 25,000 volumes full of history. The building was at various times in its history a Jesuit college, a Dominican convent, military headquarters and a gaol, before becoming a museum in 1984.
Two short blocks away is the former Casa de la Moneda (Royal Mint), founded in 1810, which later became the State Treasury and is now the Zacatecan Museum, with collections of Huichol Indian art, votive paintings and ironwork.
Continuing on Ignacio Hierro street past the Zacatecan museum, a magnificent doorway greets us on our right. This is the side entrance to the ex-temple of San Agustín. Its main facade was destroyed in the last century and its towers decapitated. The carving on the side doorway represents the dream of Saint Augustine who is shown reclining on his right arm, book in left hand, below olive and cypress trees.
Downhill from San Agustin is the Rosales Arcade, once an important shopping area. Turning back towards the Cathedral brings us to the Fernando Calderón Theater, constructed between 1891 and 1897 and which takes its name from Fernando Calderón (1809-1845), a noted poet and dramatist. Across the street from the theater is the nineteenth century González Ortega Market, completely remodelled in 1982 as a shopping center. This is a good place to look for souvenirs, and below the market (entrances on Tacuba street) are several very good and inexpensive restaurants.
Using the Cathedral as our landmark, we didn't even get lost!
Among fun places to visit with children in Zacatecas are the El Eden mine, where a narrow-gauge mining train takes visitors into the depths below the city and the cable-car or teleferico which soars over the city from one of the mine's upper entrances to the La Bufa hill with its outstanding view over everything. La Bufa has an equestrian statue of Francisco "Pancho" Villa commemorating June 23, 1914, when he and his troops successfully took the city after a nine-hour battle.
If your visit coincides with the three days ending on the final Sunday in August, then don't miss - La Morisma - a colorful re-enactment of the Moors meet the Christians in the hills above the village of Bracho. The costumes are spectacular.
In the suburbs of Zacatecas is the village of Guadalupe, once the base for the great Franciscan drive northwards. The former monastery is now the Museum of Viceregal Art, a treasure trove of secret passages, cells, catacombs, sundials, enormous water tanks, chapels, corridors and doorways, together with magnificent pieces of religious art of all kinds. Highlights include seventeenth century oil paintings in which the subject's eyes seek out the viewer regardless of the angle from which he or she tries to evade the saint's scrutiny, cells furnished in period style, the monastery library and the Nápoles Chapel, richly decorated with complicated white and gold motifs.
Labyrinthine, Zacatecas may be, but the effort to explore its narrow, winding streets is more than repaid by the discovery of so many cultural and artistic riches.
"Zacatecas is the town everyone wants to go back to," a friend said to me when I mentioned that we were going there. If not quite true, at least I know what she meant. Zacatecas was the first town we stayed in the first time we came to Mexico, back in those days when we were frankly apprehensive about coming here. The towns around the border, starting at Nuevo Laredo didn’t look too attractive. I remember lots of garbage, hungry looking dogs, delapidated billboards and roadside cafes you’d never dream of eating in. One’s biggest fear was that one might have a car problem and be stuck there. We skirted around Monterrey and got lost in Saltillo and then drove the long desolate stretch of desert between Saltillo and Zacatecas. If I remember correctly, there’s one gas station on that road - and that’s it.
So Zacatecas, some 400 miles south, came as a pleasant surprise and a relief....a charming, colonial city, and a fairly well-to-do university town with nice hotels, friendly, well-dressed people and some good attractions. In fact, on that first day, we liked it so much we decided to stay another night, even though we had appointment in Guadalajara, most of a day’s drive further down the road. When we left, we said, "We must come back for a week-end or a long mid-week stay."
A year or so later, we were completing the five-day drive from Canada to Mexico and, feeling road weary, we decided to treat ourselves to Zacateca’s finest, The Quinta Real, the luxury hotel which is so cleverly built around a bullring, and for an afternoon and an evening we succumbed to five-star pampering, which we loved. Next morning, as we were driving up the long winding road leading out of the valley in which Zacatecas is nestled one of us was clearly heard to say: "We must come back for a week-end or a long mid-week stay."
Even my Frommer’s Mexico 1996 starts off its article on Exploring Zacatecas with this statement: "Zacatecas is so picturesque that many travelers regret not having planned at least three nights here..."
So that’s what we mean when we say Zacatecas is a town everyone wants to go back to.
It’s a city with abundant charms and attractions, all of them thoroughly documented in numerous guidebooks.
One of my favorites is the Museo Pedro Coronel which houses a surprisingly eclectic art collection featuring not only examples from ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt but works by modern masters like Picasso, Miró, Dalí and Braque. Also on display are sculptures and paintings by Maestro Coronel himself.
A collection of 4,500 Mexican masks is the centerpiece of the Rafael Coronel Museum. Rafael was the younger brother of Pedro Coronel. A long chain of rooms contain the displays of exotic and colorful masks. But the best part of the Museo is simply wandering the beautiful grounds of what used to be a convent, presently undergoing restoration. Take a look around corners and down alleyways between buildings. It’s a site that contains lots of visual pleasures.
If you want to see craftsmen producing silver chains, ear-rings and bracelets - and also to make a purchase or two on your way out, visit the Centro Platero de Zacatecas. It’s a workshop and also a school for silversmiths. Zacatecas’s wealth has been founded on silver for 400 years. Originally, in pre-Hispanic times, the town, located between two mountain ranges, existed because it was the gateway between north and south. When the Spaniards arrived and discovered the rich silver deposits in 1546 the town’s fate took a different turn. Today it is still the biggest silver producer in Mexico. An association of mining engineers supports the Centro Platero, making sure of an ample supply of craftsmen for the future.
Deep in a mine. High on a mountain.
If you would like to buy your silver in an unusual setting try the Edén mine. At the entrance a train will take you 1700 feet straight into the mountain. Deep inside you’ll find two shops. One sells silver, the other sells rock and mineral samples. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can walk even further into the mine. It’s dry and nicely lit and it’s not scary. You get to look down into some quite deep gorges and they’ll even produce a waterfall for you. Keep on going and you’ll come to an elevator which takes you straight up or 200 feet to another exit.
If you’re still feeling brave it’s only a short walk up the street to El Teleférico, a cable car which swings high above the city up to Cerro de la Bufa, the mountain which dominates any aspect of Zacatecas. It’s a four or five minute ride with some wonderful views of the city nestled in a bowl below you. Don’t forget your camera. On the morning we were there the air was clear and sparkling, which is not always something you can say about a Mexican city. On the summit you’ll find an observatory, the Museum of the Taking of Zacatecas and a church, La Capilla de la Virgen of the Patrocinio, patron saint of the city - and more views.
In what other city can you go deep inside a mine and then take a cable car, all in the same morning - and never leave downtown?
Of course there’s a cathedral. This one has an incredibly ornate exterior. However, right beside it, the main square is a bit of a disappointment. It has few trees and even fewer places to sit and while away the time. However, like all other Mexican plazas, it’s still very much a people place..
And if you crave even more cultural attractions, there’s the Convento de Guadalupe with its fabulous displays of religious art (Click for photo), the Regional Museo de la Historia, the Museo de F. Goitia, once a governor’s palace, and now a showcase for the works of Francisco Goitia and other Zacatecan artists.
All these places are well described in the guidebooks. They’re inexpensive and pretty easy to get to.
Actually, the most entertaining thing to do in Zacatecas is simply to go for a walk, especially in the evening. The streets are clean and tidy and nicely paved. There are very few beggars and you don’t have to wave away hordes of pedlars. The shops are worth a close inspection with their abundant displays of leather, jewellry, semi-precious stones, wood carvings and textiles. The architecture is fabulous. Many of the buildings are constructed of the pink stone quarried from the area. The stone has the effect of seeming to change color throughout the day. Each new street offers a fresh vista - a fountain, a stone carving, a unique facade, an ornate balcony decorated with plants or a set of attractive archways. It’s really a neat city, in every respect. It can be hilly in spots and the streets and alleyways wind around seemingly without rhyme or reason. Just follow your instincts and you’ll be constantly surprised and pleased. Also, be advised that Zacatecas is at an altitude of 8,000 feet. That’s a mile and a half up. So don’t get too energetic or you’ll feel the effect. And it can be cool in the evenings, so take a light sweater along.
One unique Zacatecan delight is the callejoneada, which, as it’s name suggests, is very much a street event. We met up with one while out on an evening walk. Frommer’s Mexico 1996 lists it as one of the half dozen best cultural experiences in Mexico. Anyway, it involves taking a stroll with a noisy little brass band which features a couple of exceptionally loud drummers and a man with a burro loaded with a generous supply of mezcal. What you do is sign up to accompany them and they hang a cup around your neck for the mezcal and off you go on a tour of the town, pausing frequently for drinks, singing, dancing and general merry-making that goes on until the wee small hours. It looked like fun. However, I’m getting too old for that kind of thing.
The perfect introduction to Mexico?
Zacatecas has a prosperous, settled look, more like an English cathedral town than a Mexican city. Obviously there’s a sizeable middle class there. I don’t know what they all do. I know the mines still produce silver and there’s a lot of ranching going on in the surrounding area. But these people don’t look like they’re mining or ranching. When we went to find the Centro Platero de Zacatecas we got lost in a suburb of very modern upscale houses in Fraccionamiento Lomas. Dozens of rather splendid custom built houses are under construction there, surrounding an 18-hole golf course. So somebody’s managing to prosper in these inflationary times.
The streets are busy in the evening. No one ever seems to go home. A lot of people have young children with them. I’m sure it’s perfectly safe. So if you’re a bit jittery about coming to Mexico, you couldn’t find a better place to start overcoming that nervousness. It’s the perfect introduction to a country that offers so many surprises and delights. It’s a long day’s drive from the Texas border. But plan on staying more than just one night.
We found several good restaurants in the Centro Historico district. The Quinta Real is always worth a visit - but it’s pricey, as you might expect from a grand class hotel. We were happy to find one restaurant that wasn’t mentioned in anybody’s guidebook. It was La Nueva Galicia, at Plazuela Goytia 102, featuring a wide range of Mexican dishes. I was there with five other people and everyone enjoyed the experience. We also found a Greek ice-cream parlor called Café Nevería Acrópolis where we splurged on baclava and banana splits. (That’s right - a Greek ice-cream parlor!).
Our favorite place, however, was La Cuija, where the owner, who is a dead ringer for Lou Costello, (Remember Abbott and Costello?) and just as much a comedian in his own right, chats with all the diners and, at the merest drop of a sombrero, will try to sell you an extravagantly autographed copy of his cookbook. It’s called Cocina Regional. His name is Filiberto Enriquez Perales. He’ll ask 180 pesos for it, but you can get him down to 150 pesos or perhaps even less. It’s an attractive place. The waiters are all very personable and friendly - cloned, possibly, from Senor Perales. The cuisine is what you’d expect from someone who’s written a Mexican cookbook. We were all more than delighted with our chicken mole, grilled huachinango (a fish) and lomo zacatecano (broiled pork with chile sauce).
Zacatecas just doesn’t get as many tourists as a lot of other Mexican destinations. When I mentioned this to a friend in Ajijic she said: "Yes, Zacatecas is just like San Miguel de Allende - without tourists." That’s not a remark that should make the Zacatecas Tourist Department feel very happy. This might be because Zacatecas is small and some distance from other colonial cities. It may also be because, as I mentioned earlier, Zacatecas is seen by many people as just an overnight stop on the way south. I suspect, too, a big reason is it doesn’t promote itself as much as many other cities - like Oaxaca, for instance, which really works at making tourism a lucrative industry. There are two tourist offices in Zacatecas but the one I visited seemed to exist only to hand out pamphlets. The lone employee there didn’t speak a word of English and my Spanish wasn’t good enough to allow me to phrase the questions I wanted to ask. She wouldn’t have known the answers anyway.
In Oaxaca I clearly recall going to the Secretaría for Tourism Development with a bunch of questions and being given all the information I asked for. Also, I remember the very detailed two-page survey my wife was asked to fill out about tourism one night in the zócalo in Oaxaca. From the information I was given it was quite apparent that officials in that state make good use of the data they gather to promote their area. In my humble opinion, Zacatecas needs to make the same sort of effort.
However, please don’t let any of this criticism deter you. I just hope I’ve conveyed the impression that Zacatecas is a town well worth visiting. I should tell you, too, that as we were leaving on this most recent visit, my wife was clearly heard to say: "Why don’t we come back for a few days at Christmas." I think we will, too.
The Second Patio of the Ex-Convento of San Francisco
Sombrerete, Church Architecture
Sombrerete, Sierra de Organos
South from Zacatecas: A Fascinating Archaeological Site and an Undiscovered Colonial Monument.
Two sites within an hour's drive south of Zacatecas make it well worthwhile to linger at least an extra day when visiting this splendid colonial treasure, described in a previous Mexico Connect article. (Zacatecas) The two sites in question are La Quemada (The Burnt) and Jerez (Sherry).
La Quemada grew into the largest pre-Columbian settlement known in southern Zacatecas. Its original name is unknown; it was christened La Quemada by the early Spaniards who found evidence of a great conflagration.
The modern site museum. opened in 1995, has a scale model showing more than 50 terraces and about 1 km2 of constructions. Occupied from about 200 - 300 AD, its population peaked after 500 AD, before the site was abandoned about 1000 AD, 1000 years ago. The residential elite lived on the edge of the hills.
Most structures originally had a layer of barro (earthenware) and vegetable fibre "plaster", and were finished with a wash of cal (lime). Both plaster and lime have now been all but eroded away, together with the mud mortar that served to bind the rocks. The site served as an unofficial building supply store for a thousand years, losing perhaps 15% of the original constructions.
Eighteenth century historians conjectured that this might have been the legendary Chicomostoc, through which the Mexica passed on their peregrination from Aztlán to found Tenochtitlan. But the constructions are clearly too extensive, and the quality of architecture too high, for La Quemada to have been only a temporary settlement.
A network of "roads", built of slabs and clay, extends from La Quemada to some 200 minor sites on the Malpaso valley floor. The site was built at different times, successive stages covering parts of previous constructions. Delimiting the northern part of the site is a great wall, 900 metres long, 3.80 metres high and 3.60 metres wide. The wall suggests a defensive role for La Quemada but the buildings have civic-religious functions. La Quemada is perhaps best described, therefore, as a fortified ceremonial site.
Who were the first settlers here? Little is known about their origins. They may have been migrants or perhaps they were "home-grown". For a centre of this size, they obviously needed a resource base including ample food supplies. Evidence from the valley floor indicates that they cultivated maize, beans, squash and maguey, and also used amaranth seeds, tomato, nopal leaves and fruit as well as other wild plants.
Trade links must have been very important. Between 500 and 700 A.D., it seems likely that La Quemada had close ties to other key sites, including Chalchihuites to the northwest, then with mining activities never previously equalled anywhere in Mesoamerica. La Quemada apparently became a trade centre for the collection and redistribution of raw materials like salt, minerals, shell etc.
Among advanced construction projects undertaken between 650 and 850 A.D. was the Chamber of Columns, one of the largest roofed structures yet found anywhere in Mesoamerica. Only the columns remain today.
After 850 A.D., La Quemada went into decline, with some residential areas being abandoned and the "Great Wall" being built, presumably for defense. The site was abandoned completely shortly after 900 A.D. Why the decline and abandonment? Did climatic change cause the valley to dry out? Were trade or military conflicts the reason? Perhaps the people who left La Quemada founded the Toltec site of Tula in around 900 A.D.? Whatever the reason, and wherever they went, they left us an enigmatic statement of their prowess as architects, tradespeople and builders.
Much easier to interpret than La Quemada is the undiscovered colonial gem of Jerez. Incredibly, most guidebooks give it no more than a passing mention, if it is even included at all!
Jerez, at an altitude of 2000 metres (6500 feet), was founded in the mid-sixteenth century to help protect the silver trading routes connecting the silver mines of Zacatecas with cities like Guadalajara, from attacks by the wild "Chichimeca" Indians. In time, the city became known as "The Athens of Zacatecas", and today is a National Historic Monument where the stones still tell their stories...
Starting from the central plaza, the self-guided walking tour which follows includes many of the major sites. The central plaza is more correctly called the Jardín Rafael Páez. Its wooden, moorish-looking nineteenth century kiosk, has the half-moon of Islam, Star of David and some Roman bells decorating it, presumably symbolizing the union of civilizations.
West of the Garden is the Palacio Municipal (Town Hall). An earlier version was destroyed by fire in 1913 with the loss of valuable archives. The arcade north of the Garden is the Portal Inguanzo, which includes the facade of the house of the wealthy Inguanzo family, owners of El Tesoro Hacienda and an ice-cream store, "El Paraíso", which displays a selection of old photos of Jerez. Off the north-east corner of the Garden is the sandstone "La Nacional" building. The south arcade is the Portal Humboldt.
A few steps from the Garden is the nineteenth century Santuario de la Soledad sandstone church with twin towers and a lovely main doorway. A stylish fence surrounds its atrium. The main altar is home to the most revered statuette in Jerez.
The elaborate "De La Torre" building across the street has wonderful cedar doors, carved by Severo Revilla, an Indian child abandoned in Jerez after an aborted attack by the "natives". Revilla was raised and named by the local priest. The building is the work of master stonemason Dámaso Muñetón. Originally a school for girls, it is now the Cultural Institute.
The five arches on the north side of the "Small Garden" or Jardín Hidalgo belong to the Teatro Hinojosa, also built by Muñetón, and architecturally one of Mexico's finest theatres. Restoration finished in 1987. Its lovely three-tiered interior features a huge central chandelier that had to be regularly lowered to fill its many lanterns with petroleum. A mirror at the back of the theater reflected the chandelier light back onto the stage as a spotlight. If it looks familiar, perhaps it is - because it is supposed to be an exact replica of the Ford Theatre in Washington D.C.
Walking back past the Edificio De La Torre, are several stores selling some handsome crafts and collectibles. A few steps more and we arrive at Plaza Tacuba. On one side is the "doves" doorway, named for two stone doves beak to beak. Legend tells how a century ago, two powerful hacienda owners arranged a marriage between their respective offspring. Mortified, the children did marry but agreed a joint suicide pact which they carried out right here.
Beyond Plaza Tacuba are the eighteenth century parish church of the Immaculate Conception and, hidden behind a newer construction, the museum of Ramón López Velarde (1888-1921), one of Mexico's leading poets.
If you are lucky enough to visit Jerez during Easter week, then don't miss the town's Judas competition, in which competition entries are hung from various places and then set on fire by horseback riders carrying flaming lances.
Maybe most guide books say there's nothing worth seeing south of Zacatecas, but that only shows that their writers have never been there!
Age, Paleotectonic Setting, and Common Pb Isotopic Signature of the San NicolasVMS Deposit, Southeastern Zacatecas State,Central Mexico
The San Nicolás deposit is a stratiform, polymetallic (Cu-Zn-Ag-Au) volcanogenic massive sulfide (VM deposit hosted within Upper Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks in southeastern Zacatecas State, central Mexico.Both the San Nicolás deposit, which was discovered in late 1997, and the previously discovered (1996) but much smaller El Salvador VMS occurrence, are contained within the El Salvador property, a joint venture property held by Teck Corporation and Western Copper Holdings Ltd.The El Salvador property, or main study area, is located ~60 kilometers east-southeast of the city of Zacatecas and lies along the southern margin of the Mesa Central or Altiplano physiographic province.
Historically the region of the Mesa Central province which encompasses the main study area has been referred to as the Faja de Plata or Mexican Silver Belt due to the epigenetic Ag-Au-Pb mineralization which has been mined in the area since colonial times.Recognition in 1996 that the El Salvador occurrence (<1 Mt) comprises syngenetic rather than epigenetic mineralization, however, highlighted the VMS potential of the region.This potential was confirmed in 1997 with the discovery of the San Nicolás deposit, which is now recognized as the largest VMS deposit in Mexico, with resources currently estimated at approximately 100 Mt at 1.36% Cu, 1.64% Zn, 0.15% Pb, 0.41 g/t Au, and 24.0 g/t Ag.
VMS exploration within much of the southeastern Mesa Central province is hampered by extensive Tertiary and Quaternary cover, poor exposure, and a relatively poor geologic understanding of the region. In view of the tendency of VMS deposits to occur as clusters along favorable stratigraphic horizons, establishing the age of formation of the San Nicolás deposit and its host rocks and achieving a better understanding of the tectonic setting in which the deposit formed was desirable in order to improve VMS exploration models for the region.For similar reasons, establishing a rapid and effective means of distinguishing between epigenetic and syngenetic mineralization was also desirable.
A field based geochronologic, lithogeochemical, and isotopic study was undertaken to address the above issues. U-Pb zircon dating of felsic volcanic rocks provided constraints on the age of sulfide mineralization in both the San Nicolas deposit and the El Salvador occurrence.Mineralization in the San Nicolas deposit was occurring, at least in part, at 148.3 +/- 0.4 Ma. and mineralization in the El Salvador occurrence is younger than 150.6 +/- 0.7 Ma, age constraints which are broadly consistent with the Upper Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous ages of VMS deposits in the Cuale, Guanajuato, and Campo Morado districts elsewhere in Mexico.
Wow!!! Tere, I love this thread.... Yeap Zacatecas is AWESOME, i lived there 3 years and loved it.... While reading all you've posted i remembered all the beautiful memories i have from such a marvelous city
Zacatecas definitely has a lot to offer to both Mexican tourists and foreign tourists