|For most of us, when we hear 'Chihuahua', we think about the small dog. But if the dog has that name it's because it originates from this state of Northern Mexico. 'Chihuahua' is also the name of the capital of that state. Chihuahua is a city that is quite old and who is proud of its history, especially of one of its adopted sons: Francisco 'Pancho' Villa, one of the leaders of the Mexican revolution which lead to drastic changes in the political system of the country, a little more than a century ago.|
Founded in 1709, Chihuahua is in a small round valley, surrounded
by hills all around and is just South of the centre of the state.
Although Juarez is the biggest and most dynamic city of the state due
to its proximity to the USA, Chihuahua plays an important economic
role as a trade centre for mining operations all around the city and
with an important Ford plant.
For most tourists, Northern Mexico is limited to the border cities
of Juarez or Tijuana.. or the beaches of Baja California (Cabo San
Lucas, which is a famous Spring Break destination, especially for the
students on the West coast of the USA). For those who arrive in the
centre of the country, they rarely venture North but for those who
do they know the city as being the Eastern terminal of the train that
goes through the Copper Canyon: El Chepe.
Chihuahua is a very large city in terms of size compared to its
small population (about 800 000 people), because of two reasons:
geography and house property. There are many hills surrounding the
city and that imposes some limitations in terms of development. The
sides of the hills not being developed, that forces to take more
space on the flat ground, thus expanding the city. Due to many
different eras of urban development, the city has expanded beyond and
around the industrial parks which were initially located on the
outskirts of the city. Property also plays a big role... since most
people here own their house... there is virtually no apartment
buildings and the city only counts a handful of tall buildings (15
stories or more).
The streets are filled with historic buildings, some being pretty
old, the most famous one being its cathedral (above). Very few adobe
construction here, because the material of choice for construction is
cement. All buildings (stores and residences alike) are right next
to each other, no space in between. Even in gated communities the
houses are packed that way with a little space in the back, totally
enclosed by a high cement wall. Due to the very dry environment and
water supplies issues, you will see grass only in some parks and in
front of rich houses in certain parts of the city.
As in the other cities of the country, the history isn't written
only in the buildings and places... but also in the name of the
streets. It's common in every country to see streets named to
remember heroes and famous people. Throughout Mexico they also name
streets from famous history dates. You'll then see street names like
'20 de Noviembre' or '18 de Marzo' to commemorate important battles
or political changes.
For most of us, when we hear 'Chihuahua', we think about the small
dog. But if the dog has that name it's because it originates from
this state of Northern Mexico. 'Chihuahua' is also the name of the
capital of that state. Chihuahua is a city that is quite old and who
is proud of its history, especially of one of its adopted sons:
Francisco 'Pancho' Villa, one of the leaders of the Mexican
revolution which lead to drastic changes in the political system of
the country, a little more than a century ago.
Being so close to the American border also means the historical city is very influenced by the giant... and on the main shopping streets of Chihuahua, you'll find all the major American fast-food chains, who adapted their menu slightly to have local-inspired choices in addition to their regular offerings.