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Aguascalientes
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
 
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The first inhabitants of this territory were known as the Chichimecas (chichimecas meaning pack of dogs); many of them belonged to nomadic tribes like the Caxcanes, Guachichiles, Zacatecos and Tecuexes. The sedentary population started with the occurrence of the huertas (vegetable garden, orchards) and helped in the development of the oldest neighborhoods in the city : Triana, San Marcos, La Salud, Guadalupe and La Estación.

The name of Aguascalientes is originated from the abundance of hot springs in this area. The city was founded in 1575, under the name of “Villa de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Las Aguascalientes” (village of Our Lady of Assumption of Hot springs) in order to offer help, shelter and protection to the travelers of the “Ruta de la Plata” (Road of Silver). This road connected Zacatecas to the capital of Nueva España (New Spain). The city of Aguascalientes belonged to the delegation of Zacatecas, (territory of new Galicia) before receiving the title of city in 1824. In the promulgation of the constitution of 1857, Aguascalientes was called Free and Sovereign State.
The state is surrounded by the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas. It has more than one million inhabitants and covers 5589 km2 (558,900hectares). The capital has the same name as the state and has more than 644 000 inhabitants as of 2007.

AGUASCALIENTES, Capital


It is a colonial city with a history and a pleasant climate; it is surrounded by vegetable gardens, vines and haciendas breeding toros de lidia (fight bulls).

Well-known for its nice pottery, its embroidery and its wool textiles, the city became famous for the San Marcos Fair, an annual spring celebration, alive and colorful held every April/May. This manifestation started in 1828 to honor the patron saint of the city; it is a large international fair with corridas, cockfights and flowers fights. The whole city vibrates to the sounds of the tambora, the mariachis and other local famous groups.

The city is also called Ciudad Perforada, the” punched city” because of all the underground labyrinths. They were catacombs excavated by Indians in Pre-Hispanic time: they have been in renovation since 2002.

The city of Aguascalientes, located 504 km (313 miles) from Mexico City and 251 km (156 miles) from Guadalajara, has an elevation of 1900 meters (6234 feet). Its climate is dry and warm with an average annual temperature of 20° C (68°F).

Allow two days to visit Aguascalientes.

Historic heart

The historic heart of the city is based on the Patria Plaza (Homeland Place), meeting place located at the crossing of Juan de Montoso street and José María Chávez boulevard, dominated by a 15m (49 feet) high ionic column, called Exedra, and surmounted by an bronze eagle devouring a snake. On the southern side, are the Municipal Palace from the eighteenth century and the Government Palace from the seventeenth century, made from red volcanic stone (tezontle) with a nice façade, balconies and emblems hewed in pink quarry ? The inside, with 111 arches proposes a nice ensemble with two patios whose walls are covered by frescoes from Osvaldo Barra, Diego Rivera’s student (The two buildings are open daily from 7:00AM to 9:00PM). This palace was the feudal palace of Marques de Guadalupe. It is a fantastic baroque building. The municipal palace has a neoclassic façade in pink cantera on two levels.


See the frescoes on the front steps of the palace

Short video about the huge fresco of Osvaldo Barra, Diego Rivera’s student

Among religious interesting buildings, on the western side of the plaza is a Cathedral from the eighteenth century, adorned with paintings of Miguel Cabrera and Juan d'Osorio. It is located at the crossing of 5 de Mayo Street and Francisco I. Madero Street. The inside is neoclassic, rich in ornaments (open daily 7:00AM-1:00PM and 6:00PM-9:00PM).

view of the main plaza with the catedralBehind the cathedral is the State History Museum, neoclassic mansion offering a heteroclite collection of objects, pictures, maps and documents from different periods
(V.Carranza Street # 118, open 11:00AM-6:00PM, Tue-Sun, mxn$37). You can visit several rooms and courtyards.

     Right picture : view of the main plaza with the catedral

Leave the Patria Plaza towards East through Francisco I.Madero Avenue to visit the Museum of contemporary art, located at the crossing of Morelos & Primo Verdad # 8 (open 11:00AM-6:00PM Tue-Sun, mxn$10). The museum displays the works of Enrique Guzmán.

A little further East is the San Antonio Church, neo-byzantine built in the twentieth century (open daily 7:00AM-1:00PM and 6:00PM-9:00PM). It is located at the crossing of Pedro Parga and Ignacio Zaragoza Streets.

In front of San Antonio church, the Aguascalientes Museum (Zaragoza # 507, open 11:00AM-6:00PM, Tue-Sun,mxn$10) is housed in a small neo-classic palace with an orange façade and exhibits the collections of contemporary art of Jesús Contreras and the realistic works of Saturnino Herrán (1888-1918), born in Aguascalientes.

Visit and stroll in the different districts of the city

District of el Encino (southern side of Patria Plaza)

The district was founded in the sixteenth century by Andalusian Hernán González Berrocal. He requested to the Real Court of Mexico City and was granted to him land favor. With the help of the King of Spain, he obtained the lands on July 7th 1565. They are located in Chichimeca land. The certificate of land favor settled down limits : to the north, the hot springs river today Adolfo López Mateos Avenue, to the south a dry stream.
Hernán González Berrocal and his family settled the very controversial lands where formerly lived Chichimecas Indians that constantly assaulted the Spanish houses. In spite of these dangers, the lands were developed with success. When Hernán González Berrocal died, the lands were divided and turned into beautiful orchards. These lands were the birthplace of personages in the art of tauromaquia.

Encino Church with a black Christ painted by Andrés López
The priest Mateo José de Arteaga received land to erect a chapel. This chapel was probably dedicated to the Archangel san Michael on October 4, 1764. The construction of the church started on January 12, 1773. The Church was dedicated to the Lord of Encino in March 1796. Every year, on November13, the inhabitants of the city pray to the honor and glory of the black Christ of Encino. His miraculous appearance is commemorated: one says that a neighbor of the city found an image of Christ in a live oak (Encino) log while cutting it. On June 19, 1854, the church became a parish. A public clock was added on February 19, 1878.
The Church (open daily 4:00-8:00PM) is located at the heart of one of the most ancient neighborhoods in Aguascalientes.
The building has architectonic characteristics from late eighteenth century, meaning from the last baroque manifestation and presents already some characteristics of neo-classic architecture, especially in the tower of three bodies. The huge and fantastic pictures on the sidewalls call the attention of the visitors. One is the Via-Crucis (from Latin, road of the cross, also called trail of pain), collection made in 1798 by Andrés López.

Encino garden or garden of Peace :
It was inaugurated officially on September 16 1890. There is an inscription remembering the foundation of neighborhood of Triana, which occurred on June 7, 1565 and its first Spanish inhabitant: Don Hernán González Berrocal. It is a small wooden garden with pines, palm trees and some flowers. It has been adorned with some iron benches and a central fountain (set up probably installed in 1882) made of tiles with birds and vegetal drawings.

J. Guadalupe Posada Museum :
It is located by the Encino Church. It was the cultural house of the church. This museum is dedicated to the famous engraver of Aguascalientes, José Guadalupe Posada. Satirical artist, he dedicated himself to the caricature of politic men (1852-1913). The big corridors and salons of the museum had been especially adapted for the exhibition of the original works of this engraver (about 200 works). The engraver used revolutionary subjects to criticize the government of the time through a festive image. The museum has four rooms. The first one is a gallery, the second displays the works of Manuel Manilla, Posada’s colleague. The third one is an exhibition hall and the last one is a library with about five thousands books, including poetry and theater work collection. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11:00AM to 6:00PM; the entrance fee is mxn$10; the museum is located 15 minutes walking south of Patria Plaza ,

Every Sunday, at noon, there are events in the central courtyard with the participation of independent groups and the Cultural Institute of Aguascalientes.


District of Guadalupe (Northern side of the Saint Marc district)

From 1767 to 1769, a district was built and inhabited bit by bit. It has been called later” the district of hazelnut trees”. A cemetery was also built. The first inhabitants were potters and dairy farmers. These people came mainly from Calvillo and Jalpa.
This place was also called « Refuge of cemeteries ».
The district of Guadalupe covered part of the city of Aguascalientes, from Emiliano Zapata Street to west of Zaragoza Street, passing by Guadalupe Church and Libertad and Emiliano Zapata streets.

Guadalupe garden
It was first a farming place. Then, it was linked to the church as part of the services to the church and later, it became a cemetery, first for the Church and then for the Government. In 1877, due to sanity reasons, the cemetery was turned into a garden; its name has been Porfirio Díaz for a while but its popular name is Guadalupe Garden. There is an octagonal wrought-iron kiosk in the center.

Guadalupe church (open everyday 04:00PM-08:00PM)
This sanctuary is the second most important religious building in the city. Its construction began in 1767 and ended 22 years later, in 1789. On July 26, 1931 it was dedicated as a parish. The work of the master Felipe de Urée, it is a baroque building whose structure has undergone many transformations and modifications. The façade shows an exuberant baroque style, characteristic of the zone of Guanajuato (called Bajio) known for its stone in filigree. The towers were built in 1973.The huge dome is covered with Talavera tiles, also called “handkerchiefs”. The interior of the church has a very busy decoration; the sculptures and paintings are of great quality. You can admire the beautiful pulpit made in tecali, which is a volcanic stone similar to marble and the four paintings with the four appearances of the Virgin. The painting of the Virgin was done by José de Alcíbar in the second half of the thirteenth century. The Chapel of San Sacrament, located at the bottom of the church and built at the beginning of last century is of neo-gothic style.

Station District (Eastern side of the city)

The construction of the existing station started at the end of the nineteenth century (1884) and at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is one of a few that conserve their original condition.
The general factories of construction, care of machines and material were built in the early twentieth century. This place became one of the greatest in Latin America.

The present station was the second to be built, after another provisory one was built south of the crossing. The construction began in 1910 and the building was inaugurated in1911. It was a work from Italian engineer G.M. Buzzo.
Until the forties, the local families used to go to the station in the afternoons, to stroll on the piers and wait for the departures and arrivals of trains, listening to local bands and wait for the mails brought to the city by the train.

The Mexican State submits the Aguascalientes Station in the Tentative List of UNESCO (the tentative list is an inventory of those properties which each State party intends to consider for nomination during the following years).

Alameda avenue
This beautiful wooded avenue decorates the part located between the railways and the Baths of OjoCaliente. It is 900 m (2700 ft) long by 64 m (193 ft) wide, with four rows of majestic aged poplars. This beautiful road was built late past century in order to connect the eastern part of the city to the new Baths of Ojocaliente.

The old Baths of Ojocaliente (open every day 7AM-7PM)
These ancient Baths are also called the Great Baths. During the colonial period, in these lands, appeared natural pools and drains with thermal water spurting from the spring. The Ojocaliente Spring was the most important one since the foundation of the city.
In 1808, Manuel María Tello, owner of the hacienda of Ojocaliente asked for authorization for building baths. He couldn’t realize his project because of the Independence War. In 1831, Colonel José María Rincón Gallardo, powerful man and new owner of the hacienda, started the construction of baths very close to the spring. The City Council ordered the work suspension because it feared that the water was scarce in the city. However, the construction was finally allowed.
These baths were opened to the public in the middle of the last century and were the first site of tourist interest of the city. The hydraulic architecture and the services have been modified since. The building is of neo-classic style with French influence.

Cultural center "Los Arquitos" (the arches)
The Baths of Los Arquitos have been the first built for the pleasure of the inhabitants, compared to the Baths of Ojocaliente that had a medical character. They also were known as the “Down Baths” in order to differentiate them from the Great Baths of Ojocaliente where the rich families used to go while the poor families took baths in the streams. Open daily 9:00AM-2:00PM and 4:00PM-8:00PM.
Its construction was approved by the City Council on May 4, 1821. They had to first build a 1348 m long underground aqueduct .The springs were artfully connected to the water reservoir, spurting to the 13 pools, the four outside basins, the orchard and the set of public wash-houses and by the end of the nineteenth century to the public basin known as the Puga.
The ensemble has constructions from different times : among them the old Hotel San Carlos, of neo-classic style, its outdoor pools and its neo-gothic arch. The front that has the same style was the main entrance.
For all these reasons, on December 19, 1990, there was published in the Official Journal of the Federation, the Presidential Order saying that the "BALNEARIO DE LOS ARQUITOS", was declared a historic monument.
At the beginning of 1993, works of restoration and rehabilitation started in order to convert the building to a new cultural center allowing a better access to culture and educative services to the inhabitants. The Cultural center of Aguascalientes is in charge of the promotion and diffusion of the cultural activities in general and of the artistic education at the center especially. This center opened in November 1994.


San Marcos district (Western side of Patria Plaza)

Its history
Around 1604, the fast development of the city of Aguascalientes attracted Tlaxcaltecas Indians immigrants. These people settled in the eastern part of the city and founded the San Marcos district.

San Marcos Garden
The first public garden of Aguascalientes depends also upon the patronage of San Marcos. This botanic garden with thick foliage and tall tree shade trails is located six blocks from the Zócalo.
On May 3, 1831 the land was granted in order to create a park. The shape is a rectangle of 168 m long by 88 m wide. The construction of a balustrade started on March 9, 1842. This work, promoted by General Nicolás Condell (Governor of the State, 1842-1843), ended in1847.The wrought-iron kiosk was inaugurated in 1891. The garden is demarcated by a neo-classic pink stone balustrade. There are four entrances towards the four cardinal points. (Open daily 7:00AM-11:00PM).

San Marcos zone San Marcos Church (open daily 4:00PM-8:00PM)
Formerly known as the temple of the new village of the Indians of San Marcos, it was founded by a group of Indians in 1604. This construction stayed unfinished during more than 100 years until 1765. The façade is of baroque churrigueresco style on three levels. On the second level, there is a stain-glass window with the picture of the Virgen del Carmen. The magnificent tower-bell is made of two parts. On each side, the walls are supported by solid buttresses. The inside consists in one nave in a Latin cross shape. In the Presbytery, there is the Major Altar of neo-classic style with the Virgen del Carmen in the center and the sculpture of San Marcos on the top. In the Sacristy, you can admire the "'Adoration of the Kings to the infant Jesus" painted by José de Alcibar in 1775.

     Right picture : San Marcos zone


At the North-East corner of the garden, you’ll reach the old Plaza de Toros de San Marcos (Bullring)
This arena was built in only 48 days. It was inaugurated on April 24, 1896, with famous bullfighters fighting to a full house. Since then, the San Marcos fair is linked to the bullfighting show. Since 1988, there is bullfighting but, during the fair, because of its small size, it is converted into the Theater of the People.

On its Left, the J.Pani Street is a walking street leading to the large esplanade Expo Plaza and its huge mall.
Lined with patios, busy day and night because of the continuing ballet of the street vendors and numerous street shows, it is a very pleasant place to stop.

Plaza de Toros Monumental (Monumental Bullring)
The new bullring was built in 1974, in a more accessible place. It can hold 9,000 spectators. The facilities were improved and it was integrated in the ’Expoplaza in 1992. Now, it can hold 15,000 people who can watch the best bullfighters in the world. On the North side is the statue of "Armillita", the most famous torero of Aguascalientes.




"THE PERFORATED CITY"

This is one of the most important hydraulic underground tunnels realized during the Spanish domination in Mexico. This huge work has earned Aguascalientes the title "La Ciudad perforada" (the perforated city).
The construction of this uncommon infrastructure started in 1730, meaning more than 270 years ago and was realized to the initiative of Mayor Matías de la Mota Padilla.

tres centurias complex Two tunnels are linked to the Caracol :
The west tunnel, 4 km long, leads to Encino Garden. There, a pipe carried the water to the fountain of Obrador, a few meters from the Governor Palace.
Another tunnel pointing north, probably connected directly or indirectly to another spring called la campaña (the bell), is linked to 3 newly discovered aqueducts.
Many generations of Aguascalentenses (inhabitants of the city of Aguascalientes) believed that these aqueducts were a hiding place and an escaping road for a famous burglar of the nineteenth century. This place is called "Las Cuevas de Juan Chávez" (the caves of Juan Chávez).
At the beginning of the twentieth century, these aqueducts stopped working and were forgotten during the next 100 years.

Left picture : tres centurias complex

Visit of the paleontological zone of “El Caracol" (the Snail) (closed since 2007 for important construction)

In 2002, The Coordination of Tourism started a new project of recovery of their assets : the restoration of the underground tunnels. They discovered that this area of Cedazo, where the Caracol is located, is also a paleontological park featuring fossil remains of species that existed in the region many thousands of years ago. This place is the second area of fossils in Mexico according to its age, diversity and quantity of fossils found.
"El Caracol" is a new place of tourist development that the Aguascalentenses are proud of. Visitors need to wait since the place is temporary closed for additional works.

The project will be done in two phases. There is a guided visit of the first phase, in tramway :

ROUTE "El CARACOL"
HOURS
SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS
Leaving from the government Palace at 10 AM, 12 Noon, 4 PM and 6 PM.
(Minimum 5 people)
FEES:
ADULTS : mxn$50
CHILDREN/SENIORS : mxn$30
The fees include the Tramway ride showing you the beauty of the streets and buildings of the city, a visit to the paleontological Laboratory, a boat ride in the waters of the Cedazo, bird-watching at the Refuge of Migratory Birds, visit of Dead man Hill and sunsets on Aguascalientes, visit of the Spring "El Caracol", Exploration and Crossing of the underground aqueducts built more than 270 years ago, discovering the legends of the famous outlaw Juan Chávez.
For more information :
Coordination of Tourism of the State of Aguascalientes
Visitor center :
Patria Plaza;"Palacio de Gobierno", first floor.
01 (449) 915-9504 or 910 20 88 ext. 3755.

Visit of the city in Tranvía (tramway)

See the streets and avenues of the city on a ride with the guides of the Secretary of Tourism who will answer any questions you have.
The Coordination of Tourism of the State of Aguascalientes invites you :
Ride the tramway ! Learn about Aguascalientes, its culture, gastronomy, craft, fairs, tradition and people.
Visit the main tourist attractions through three interesting rides, full of culture, fun and tradition.

El Rielero

he tramway travels among the installations of the San Marcos Fair, driving by the Theater Aguascalientes and the historic Station District with the thematic park de las Tres Centurias where you can stop and learn about the history of the railway. Duration 1h45 mn from tuesday to sunday at 10AM/12PM/4PM.

El San Marqueño

This ride travels west in the traditional San Marcos District famous for its fair, the new thematic park Isla San Marcos, the antic Encino District and the numerous gastronomic sites. Duration 45 mn from tuesday to sunday at 10AM/12PM/4PM.

El Aguascalentense

This ride travels east by the railroad park las Tres Centurias, the Hot Springs Baths and some buildings of cultural, architectural or religious interest. Duration : 45 mn from tuesday to sunday at 11AM/01PM/5PM.

San Marqueño : mxn $27 for adults and mxn$17 for children and seniors.
Aguascalentense : mxn$27 for adults and mxn$17 for children and seniors.
El Rielero : mxn$44 for adults and mxn$22 for children and seniors (The entrance fees to the park The Tres Centurias are included).
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Coordination of Tourism of the State of Aguascalientes
Visitor Center
Patria Plaza, "Palacio de Gobierno", first Floor, (449) 915-9504 or 910 20 88 ext. 3755.


State map :

City map :
san diego garden and el conventito church san diego garden and el conventito church


       Pictures : San diego garden and el conventito church



IN THE AREA

Real de Asientos ("pueblo mágico" or magic village) : this old village, founded in 1548, is located 61 km (38 miles) north-west from Aguascalientes, on the road 25 heading towards Lorette and Zacatecas. It is characterized by the mines that produced gold, silver, copper and zinc.
One of the main interesting places is the Tunnels and art galleries of the Parish of Our lady of Belén. The Tunnels are old underground aqueducts, hydraulic prodigious work from the eighteenth century, located under the parish and used to protect it from the numerous filtrations that threatened its structure.
As well as the architectural colonial beauty of the Larrañaga House and the Sextina Chapel, one can nowadays admire the artistic work of the doors and windows, made in quarry and wrought-iron, of the Guadelupe Church. The majestic interior of the House of the Miner possesses religious anagrams sculpted on quarry. The ex-convento del Señor del Tepozán is a beautiful building featuring an architectonic, civil and religious richness that Aguascalientes is proud of.
It is possible to visit the village and the area by tramway (tranvía) for a slight fee.


Los Charros mexicanos
The Mexican Rodeo or charrería offers colorful shows. In a genuine sportive show, the horseman, dressed in "charros"’ clothes, needs to show his dexterity while catching a bull or a horse with a lasso. At the end, the move called “el paseo de la muerte" (Move of death) consists in switching mounts.

Comments in spanish (nice video of 10 minutes)

 

Fairs and Traditions


matlachines dancers April 20 – May 13, 2014 (dates tba): San Marcos Fair in Aguascalientes. This fair is worldwide famous for the Mexican rodeos.
It is at the same time a fair of traditions and a live-stock fair with mariachis orchestras, bullfights, cockfights, flower battles, fireworks and religious celebrations.

Oct 28 – Nov, 2 (every year): Festival of the Calaveras dedicated to José Guadalupe Posada in Aguascalientes (parades of skulls), www.aguascalientes.gob.mx.

     Right picture : matlachines dancers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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