From Monterrey I headed to the historic centre of Zacatecas, a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Road to Zacatecas
When I was in the Baja I rode through “swarms” of these yellow butterflies. In Monterrey they weren’t yellow but I think they are Monarch butterflies. There were all over the place. As I rode out they were getting into my helmet, smsching against my glasses, and impaling themselves on my headlight grill.
On one of my breaks I saw this dead one, in tact, on the road.
You rarely see these butterflies back home anymore 🙁
Finding my Hotel
As usual, my GPS led me to the wrong spot for my hotel. This time it wasn’t fun. The historic centre of Zacatecus consists of narrow cobblestone road, much of which are on steep hills. I was sweating trying to negotiate them, and it wasn’t just because it was hot out!
I was so happy to finally reach my hotel without dropping my bike. I thought for sure I would. The hotel let me park it right in front where reception could keep an eye on it.
I stayed at the Hotel Posado Tolosa, an inexpensive hotel in the heart of the historic centre. The room was nothing to speak about, but it was cheap and I could walk everywhere.
I usually try to get to places around 1 or 2 pm so I have a chance to explore the city. Today was no different. Off I went.
According to UNESCO:
The Historic Centre of Zacatecas, located in the south central part of the state of Zacatecas, between the Bufa and Grillo hills was founded in 1546 after the discovery of a rich silver lode, Zacatecas reached the height of its prosperity in the 16th and 17th centuries. Built on the steep slopes of a narrow valley, the town has many historic buildings, both religious and civil. With Guanajuato, Zacatecas is among the most important mining towns of New Spain. It was a major centre of silver production, and also of colonization, evangelization and cultural expansion. The townscape of the ancient centre is moulded to the topography of the steep valley in which it is situated and is of outstanding beauty. The Historic Centre of Zacatecas has almost completely preserved of the urban design in the sixteenth century, taken as a basis for further development in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The peculiar and representative architecture of the 18th and 19th century make the city a clear hierarchy among the major work by volume and modest buildings.
The historic area comprises 15 religious complexes, mainly of the 17th and 18th centuries, among them the convents of San Juan de Dios, San Francisco, San Augustín and Santo Domingo. The cathedral (1730-60) is a highly decorated Baroque structure with exceptional facades and other features that reflect the absorption of indigenous ideas and techniques into Roman Catholic iconography. The Jesuit church of Santo Domingo has a quiet beauty which contrasts with the Baroque flamboyance of the college alongside it. Its massive dome and towers provide a counterpoint to the nearby cathedral. It now houses a new Fine Art Museum.
Important secular buildings include the 18th-century Mala Noche Palace, the Calderón Theatre of 1834, the iron-framed Gonzalez Market of 1886, and the pink stone Governor’s Residence. Quarters, named after trades or local topography, contain fine examples of humbler urban architecture from the 17th century onwards.
The Historic Centre of Zacatecas is a typical model of urbanization based on the irregular topography of a narrow glen. Today, the city of Zacatecas retains a wealth documentary that illustrates a significant stage in the history of Mexico and humanity as well, as monumental architectural styles that blend together, achieving an exceptional value.
OK – I’ll just let the pictures do the talking 🙂
Of course there is a Starbucks nearby ha ha
During the night the town switches into party mode. It is all lighted up.
I did manage to find one deserted alley.