Located in northwestern Mexico in the state of Chihuahua, the capital city of Chihuahua is the nation’s twelfth largest city with a population of 841,490 people. The city is known for its industry and exceptionally high literacy rate—one of the highest in Mexico. Many visitors find Chihuahua an exciting place to visit due to its culture, climate, and many extraordinary landmarks.
Geography and Landscape
The city of Chihuahua is famously shaped like an L and is situated in a mountain valley. Small mountains run through the city from north to south, but in reality, there are mountains surrounding the capital and the terrain outside of its perimeter is rugged and hilly. While mountain streams enter the city, the two major rivers that run through it are the Rio Chuviscar and The Sacramento River. While essentially a semi-arid locale, Chihuahua enjoys a varied climate; temperatures can range significantly due to its position between the Mexican Plateau and the desert.
The city was founded in 1709. Like many regions of the north, the state was slow to accept Spanish subjugation and its indigenous peoples fought assimilation for centuries. The city was founded due to its position on two rivers and its proximity to important mines and mine routes. The city was greatly influenced by Spanish missionaries who helped settle the mountainous and remote regions of New Spain. During the Mexican War of Independence, the city became notorious as the place where Miguel Hidalgo, known today as the Father of Mexican Independence, was executed. For a brief period during the nineteenth century, the city and much of the state were taken over by the United States during the Mexican-American War. In the 1860s when Benito Juarez made the Chihuahua the capital of his exiled government, it began to experience a great increase in both population and wealth. As an operations base for Revolutionary General Pancho Villa, the city was more extensively involved in the Mexican Revolution, which is why there are various historical monuments generated from this period.
In more recent history, Chihuahua benefitted from its position relatively near the U.S. border. It has grown tremendously prosperous due to its industrial economy based on many sites of foreign manufacturing plants. Agriculture and ranching are still important to the city and state, but its industrial profile has led to its dramatic increase in wealth and higher standard of wages and living than most other large Mexican cities.
Tourism in Chihuahua
The city experiences considerable tourism. Many visitors come for both business and vacations. While many colonial structures were demolished in the course of the city’s expansion, there are still exceptionally noteworthy colonial buildings to see. The city’s cuisine is noted for its traditional takes on Mexican cowboy favorites, but also represents foods from other cultures and nations. With its vibrant nightlife and cultural scene, the capital is one of the north’s most attractive tourist hubs.
Things to See and Do in Chihuahua
The Government Palace: This is one of Mexico’s most important landmarks. It contains the shrine to Miguel Hidalgo and the famous murals depicting the hero’s execution painted by Diego Rivera.
The Metropolitan Cathedral: This stunning Baroque church is an important site on any tour of the city. It dates to 1725 and is the seat of the state’s Archdiocese.
Plaza Mayor: This famed square is a popular destination for residents and tourists alike. It contains the Angel de el Libertad statue that commemorates freedom for all Mexicans.
The Federal Palace: While the building is worth visiting, the Federal Palace is especially noted for its Dancing Fountains, a light and water show that is popular with visitors.
Grutas de Nombre de Dios: With its stalactites and stalagmites, this massive cave system is one of the city’s most popular eco-destinations. Many adventures visit Chihuahua to explore these astounding caves.
Mansion Quinta Gameros: This Art Nouveau mansion is home to the capital’s decorative arts museum.
El Palomar Central Park: Once one of the capital’s most run-down and crime-ridden area, this city niche has been transformed into a beautiful park where concerts and art exhibits are regularly featured.
The Church of Santa Rita: As Saint Rita of Cascia is the city’s patron saint, the church is a popular attraction.
Museum of the Revolution: With its prominent role in the Mexican Revolution, the city has a large part of the historical story to tell. It showcases its history in the one-time home of Pancho Villa that has been transformed into this museum.