Founded in 1546, Zacatecas offers a rich historical culture combined with 21st -century living. From fascinating museums and cable-car rides of ancient mines, to villages where traditional silversmiths still live and work, the state of Zacatecas is a place where centuries of history meet modern-day elegance and commodity.
Following the discovery of silver deposits, the city of Zacatecas was founded and soon declared a World Heritage site, with stunning religious and civil buildings built by the church. Its culture thrives on Mexican cowboys, silver pieces and leatherwork and is home to some of the most important museums in the country, including a museum featuring masks from every region, and a museum that exhibits sculptures and paintings from the Greek and Picasso eras.
Given its devout history, Zacatecas also has a profoundly religious nature, traditionally expressed during Holy Week in a massive procession with candles that ends in the cathedrals. Today, the high-spirited and folkloric celebration has grown to a series of popular and artistic cultural activities held in its gardens, theaters, museums and even in former bullrings, where paintings are auctioned.
Other activities unique to Zacatecas range from visiting archaeological sites like La Quemada, discovered in 300 AD, to viewing architectural masterpieces. Traditional Zacatecas handicrafts like silver and leatherwork are also major attractions, along with vibrant celebrations and eccentric cuisine. The customary Zacatecas menu can include anything from asado de boda, pipián ranchero and chiles rellenos to enchiladas, pozole zacatecano and the famous molcajate.
Visiting Zacatecas is a colonial-era flashback. The pink stone filigree used in its cathedrals and monasteries are unmistakably reminiscent of historic times. The late 19th century architectural marvels like Teatro Calderón and the wrought iron work adorning its balconies are proof of an unforgettable past.
The archaeological site of Alta Vista, at Chalchihuites, is located 137 miles to the northwest of the City of Zacatecas. Alta Vista was the main ceremonial center of the so called Chalchihuites culture and it represents the northernmost expansion of Mesoamerica. From ca. 100 to 1250 A.D., this culture spread along the corridor of the eastern slopes of the Sierra Madre Occidental, from western Zacatecas to Durango. History of the site.
Manuel Gamio carried out the first scientific excavations in northern Mexico in 1908. In Alta Vista he explored the area we now call Hall of the Columns and the adjacent stairs. Likewise, he carried out borings in the area's "caves", which he considered to be defensive shelters.
According to Kelley, Alta Vista was a ceremonial center, conceived and built between 450 and 470 A.D.
Alta Vista is located almost on the Tropic of Cancer and is positioned so that the corners of the main structures coincide with the axes of the cardinal points, an unusual occurrence in Mesoamerica.