Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Roadie: Zacatecas, Mexico

 Street level skyline, Zacatecus-style. (7/26/13)
Only one day after arriving in Monterrey, Mexico, and spending a single night at my brother’s guest room, my mother and I were on the road to Zacatecas. Two friends of my brother were kind of enough to take the trip with us which was a very good thing: we needed to drive through a number of “federale” (police) and military security checkpoints. It was key to travel with those who were either Mexican or knowledgeable in the regional dialect of Spanish.

Fortunately, our guides were both. I was very tempted to take some pictures along the way because I did not want to inadvertently offend any interaction with the federale or motorcycle club members who seemed to be the majority of those sharing the route to Zacatecas during the five hour drive south. While the federales all seemed to be very young (under thirty years of age), most of the motorcycle club members were older.

The view of Cerro de la Bufa (Bufa Hill) from "Main Street.". (7/26/13)
Whereas Monterrey is a fine example of a modern, "Americanized" city, the mining city of Zacatecas, in Central Mexico, is more representative of a colonial town. It also more closely resembles what most American tourists preconceived notions of how cities in Mexico look.

Bust of General Miguel Auza. (7/26/13)
Arches. (7/26/13)
Street vendor outside Zacatecus Cathedral. (7/26/13)
One thing of which there is no shortage in Mexico are churches. The city of Zacatecas is no different. Our hotel was almost directly across the street from one of the more significant churches in town, Zacatecas Cathedral. Built between 1729 and 1753, and regarded by many as the last, and greatest, expression of the churrigueresque (Mexican Baroque) style, Zacatecas Cathedral was a fantastic subject for pictures and location for reflection.

The Zacatecas Cathedral, dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, is
the head temple of the Diocese of Zacatecas.(7/26/13)
The central altar designed by artist Javier Marín from Michoacan,
is covered with gold leaf 24 carat. (7/26/13)
An altar image of the martyr San Mateo Correa. (7/26/13)

When the Zacatecas Cathedral opens for business it fills up quickly with
both tourists and locals. (7/26/13)
Candles are lit in church for grace. (7/26/13)

The pink-hued sand stone is prevelant in the colonial churches and buildings. (7/26/13)
Zacatecus is called "con rostro de cantera rosa y corazón de plata" (face of pink stone and heart of silver) because of the pink stone that many of its iconic buildings are made of and the silver that has spurred its development and history. Like other mining cities in Mexico, such as Guanajuato and Taxco, the city was built near the mines on very rough terrain.

Hilly and narrow streets make tourist driving--and on-street parking--challening.(7/26/13)

Zacatecus from the Cerro de la Bufa (Bufa Hill), 8,770 feet above sea level. (7/26/13)

Equestrian statue of Pancho Villa, atop Cerro de la Bufa, site of his greatest victory. (7/26/13)
We stayed in Zacatecus for three days and two nights. The streets became very crowded once the sun set, so I did not take too many pictures at that time. In addtion to a festival takine placeint own, there was some sort of Mexcian motorcycle club event. The streets were chocl full of locals and club memebers (being a fan of Sons of Anarchy, I was pleased to notice a few "Prospectos" among them, and knowing what irt meant.) My brother and I did, however, head over to a McDonald's one evening for a late evening snack, and I snapped a few quick picks of the cathedral, though I failed to capture the beauty of the facade bathed in light.

The cathedral at night. (7/28/13)
Zacatecus was a second side of Mexico I was pleased to experience--different than Monterrey, but beautiful nonetheless...

Zacatecus Wikipedia Entry (embedded link)

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