Monday, April 28, 2008

Zacatecas, Mexico

Deep in the mine, the guide’s flashlight beam illuminated the vein of white quartz streaked with a tracing of pure silver ore. On such a slender thread was Zacatacas founded by Spanish miners in the 16th century.

Today Zacatecas rests like a rose in the desert of what was once Mexico’s northern frontier. And like that rose, its pink canterra stone buildings glow in the clear, clean light. Called “The Silver City” for its origins, today Zacatecas offers travelers a wide variety of experiences from a tour into the only remaining mine to a exhilarating ride on a zip line from the heights of La Bufa hill into the valley.

For the museum lover, even a week’s stay is too short to cover them all. A full day can be spent at the Rafael Colonel with its extraordinary collection of over 12,000 Mexican dance masks. Museo de Guadalupe has one of the country’s finest collections of 18th century religious art, housed in what was originally a Franciscan convent.

A trip into the countryside brings amateur archeologists to La Quemada, a group of prehistoric ruins perched on the rim of a hill. After investigating the Hall of Columns and the Votive Pyramid, an alfresco lunch at a local restaurant is the ticket.

Unusual hotels include the Quinta Real, constructed around the city’s original bull ring, and Meson de Jobito, a rambling assembly of plazas, alleys, and houses centered around an old city neighborhood. Food runs from the traditional gorditas at legendary Dona Julia’s to fine dining at the Hotel Empirio or the new Santa Rita.

Turismo Zacatecas, Av. Hidalgo#403, Centro Historico, Zacatecas, Zac. Phone +52 (492) 922 6751.

1 comment:

  1. Zacatecas, an early mining town was founded in 1546 after the discovery of silver.