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Historic centre of Zacatecas
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2013-11-09 16:33:03 | Zacatecas, Zacatecas, Mexico
Keywords: history, UNESCO
Visiting the old Centro of Zacatecas for a photographer is much like a kid being in a candy store. It's such a wonderful place to visit your eyes and your camera lens aren't wide enough. It's almost like travelling into the past as well since the historic centre has not really been altered in the last 300 years... its structure and streets layouts are the original ones. With the narrow streets along the slopes of the two main hills in the Northern part of the city, the very steep steps in between streets, the curves in the streets imposed by the topography and of course the buildings themselves.

You will not find any brick exteriors or wood buildings in that Centro... and modern constructions are extremely rare. Virtually all buildings are made out of cement and bricks but are all covered with plaster; the most elaborate ones are covered with marble, granite or other similar material. If you forget for a moment the cars and the electric cables, you could very well be in 16th, 17th or 18th centuries. There are no electric signs or any other element that would break the magic of the area. Most of the streets are still covered with cement tiles or flat rocks (instead of cobblestones or bricks as in other old cities), not with asphalt.

Zacatecas was founded in 1546 after they discovered silver in the mountains surrounding the current city location. It remained an important silver production centre until the 20th century. The height of the city was in the 16th and 17th centuries, when Guanajuato became a more important silver producer. A few years after its creation, the city counted no less than 34 mines in activity.

Because of its location and richness, Zacatecas was also an important centre for the colonization and the evangelization up North. Groups left Zacategas to go expand Christianity up to current territories of Texas and California.

Within the Centro you also have the two main tourist attractions of the city: the teleférico and the mine El Eden. The teleférico is an aerial cable car, which links the Centro to the top of the Bufa (one of the mountains around the city), at a height of about 85 m (280 feet) for a distance of about 650 m (2 145 feet). The old gold and silver mine is now a museum open to the public and it also has a bar inside one of the old galleries.

There's a road linking Zacatecas and the city of Guanajuato, which was dubbed Rio de la plata (River of the Silver) because it linked the two most important silver mining cities of New Spain (colonial name of Mexico) and by which most of the silver produced in Mexico transited towards the capital. That road is also classified by the UNESCO as part of the World Heritage Sites. Although I have been on that road with the bus, I don't consider I've visited that 'site'... and it's hard to document that road itself.

Related posts:
Historic Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco
Historic Centre of Morelia
Historic Monuments Zone of Querétaro
Fortified city of San Miguel and Sanctuary
Historic town of Guanajuato


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