We spent a few days in Zacatecas, which was once the world’s largest silver producing city. There are still many working mines and the city is built on and among the mountains containing the mines. We were both surprised at how large the city is.
One of the most attractive and well-known features of Zacatecas is its buildings which are built from the local pink sandstone. Much of the architecture is in a very elaborate Mexican baroque style, especially the cathedrals which are very ornate.
We decided to take a tour of the city so that we could learn its history as well as see some of the highlights. We began our tour at the Bufa, which is the top of a hill overlooking the city. There we learned about a famous battle that turned the tide for the Mexican Revolution, thanks to Pancho Villa.
There is also a chapel on the Bufa which is famous for the pilgrimages that go there. According to our guide there are 2 million people in the U.S from Z – hard to believe - and they make the yearly pilgrimage with the Mexicans. Evidently so many come that they are assigned days according to their profession. Taxi drivers one day, teachers one day, mechanics one day and so on.
After touring the Bufa we took a cable car down the mountain to the Mina Eden, or Eden Mine. Great view of the city below and not as scary as I had anticipated.
The mine was pretty interesting. It’s set up with figures showing how the miners had to work when the mine was open. Mostly they were Indians who were enslaved by the Spanish. It was easy to imagine what a horrendous and risky existence they had in the mines. But, times change and now there’s a nightclub in addition to the restored levels of the mine that we saw on our tour.
Following the mine tour we visited the Cathedral and learned its history. The front of the cathedral has an incredible amount of detail and each one is there for a reason and has a special meaning. Following the tour we had lunch and walked around the city until we could walk no more.