A colonial city well preserved!
This week, I'd like to give you a little glimpse of the city where my husband and I met and were married. I guess it has been on my mind tonight because that is where my hubby is right now. He and Shane flew out Thursday morning and arrived there safely around 2:30p.m. His brother and parents met them at the airport in Mexico City. They had a 2 1/2hour drive to Queretaro. I spoke with Agustin and Shane on the phone around 8 p.m. Thursday evening. Their trip went very smoothly and they were blessed with a "green light" in customs, which means they didn't have to open their suitcases for inspection! YIPPEE! Not that they wouldn't have passed inspection, mind you, but it's such an annoyance when all you want to do is see your family members who are waiting for you on the other side of that wall!
The State of Queretaro is located in the heart of Mexico, just two hours away from Mexico City and its a treasure chest awaiting to be discovered.
Tourists en route from Mexico City to the popular colonial towns of San Miguel de Allende and Guadalajara might be tempted to bypass this hive of commerce. But the wise ones will plunge in, knowing that the center of Queretaro itself is a colonial gem.
Colonial Queretaro retained the twisting alleys of its old Indian quarter side by side with the 16th century geometric street plan of its Spanish conquerors. The Otomi, Tarasco and Chichimeca lived peacefully with the Spaniards in the old town through the 17th and 18th centuries, when many outstanding civil and religious structures were built. During the 19th century, quiet Queretaro found itself in the midst of Mexico’s struggle for independence.
For these reasons, the Historic Monuments Zone of Queretaro was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Queretaro State is one of the smallest in extension in Mexico with a population of approximately 1'404,306 inhabitants, since its greatness rests so much in architecture, as its wealth in historical facts, its beautiful spots, its thermal waters and curative, large heights to escalate and also caverns to descend and explore.
Queretaro limits to three rivers: the Santa María de Acapulco, the Moctezuma and the Lerma.
The Queretaro name originates of the "Tarasco" and originally of QUERETAPARAZICUYO or YCHAHTZICUYO, that to be abridged remain in Queretaro that it means "Game of Ball". There are other versions that assure that the name originates of Querenda "Stone large or rock"; or of Querendaro "Place or large stones people or cliffs".
With agricultural and livestock farming industries, the state of Queretaro has a largely growing rate of industrial development, and a gateway to the northern, central and southern regions of Mexico.
Its fast industrial development contrasts with the great beauty of its capital city, the historic downtown areas of which were declared Heritage of Mankind by the UNESCO.
Its excellent geographic location helped Queretaro to be the scene of most important chapters of Mexican history.
The Queretaro climate is a gift for the lovers of the nature. Within territory is changing for the variety of heights on the level of the sea.
Symbolic of Queretaro is its Aqueduct, considered one of the great civil engineering feats in North America. Begun in 1726 and finished in 1738, it has 74 massive stone arches that stretch for six miles along the Avenida de los Arcos to the eastern edge of the colonial center. When it was built, the Aqueduct made it possible for the residents of Queretaro to enjoy many public and private fountains, and it still carries water into the city.
On a guided tour of "Convento de la Santa Cruz", visitors can see a clay pipe system developed to receive water from the Aqueduct and distribute it throughout the monastery.
Established in the 16th century, Convento de la Santa Cruz stands on a former battleground atop a hill overlooking the old town, where the apparition of St. James on horseback convinced Otomi Indians to surrender to the conquistadors. Other miracles associated with the site include trees with cross-shaped thorns grown from a cane stuck in the ground by pious friar Antonio Margil de Jesus in 1697.
By the end of the 17th century, Convento de la Santa Cruz operated the first Catholic missionary school in the Americas, and it continues to serve as a religious school today.
The monastery also functioned as a fortress when forces loyal to Emperor Maximilian occupied it near the end of the Mexican War of Independence. Maximilian used it as his headquarters from February to May 1867. After his surrender and subsequent death sentence, he was confined at Convento de la Santa Cruz while he awaited the firing squad. While on the tour, you can enter the room where he was held prisoner. It was quite an experience for me to see the very bed, chair, and table he used!
Interior of the restaurant at Hotel REAL D MINES
At the top of these stairs is a darling little chapel. This is on property of the large University in Queretaro, On the right is a typical colonial style building. I believe our post office was in the downstairs of this particular building.
I hope you enjoyed this abbreviated tour of a beautiful, old city!