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Toluca : capital
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
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approach to TolucaToluca or Toluca de Lerdo is the capital of the State of Mexico. It was founded by the Matlazincas in the seventh century. North of the city, Toloche Mont gave its name to the city. It came from Tolocan meaning «place of the god Tolo, the one who leans the head ». After the Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards, the city became Toluca de San José. This city has a big university and an important industrial center despite the proximity with Mexico City.
Famous for its Indian colored market, Toluca (1,611,000 inhabitants - metropolitan area) is located in the center of a green valley, about one hour driving from Mexico City (take the avenida Constituyentes after the Park of Chapultepec). Its name comes from the Aztec word tolocan, meaning "the one leaning the head”. One would think nowadays it is because they were ashamed (the market of Toluca is famous for robbers and pickpockets). The climate is brisk and boosting because of the altitude (2 670 m or 8760 feet). It is the highest capital in Mexico. An extinct volcano Nevado de Toluca, 4583m ( 15036 feet) high, and sometimes snowcapped, overlooks the city and the National Park of Nevado de Toluca.

   Above picture : approach to Toluca

Toluca is home to 16 museums, making it the city with the second largest number in the country. These include the Museo de Bellas Artes and the Luis Nishizawa Workshop and the Felipe S.Gutiérrez, José María Velasco, and Coin, Print and Watercolor Museums. It also has the Centro Cultural Mexiquense, a spacious complex of cultural buildings including a large library and areas for sports and recreation, in an area of 170 hectares that once belonged to the Hacienda de la Pila. Toluca also boasts museums of moderm art, popular cultures, anthropology and history.

"Portales" of Toluca Like in every city in Mexico, you have to go to the Zócalo. The city is famous for its portales, hundred meters long archway galleries.
Most of the tourists spend hours in the Mercado Juárez, the street market located in the south of the city, behind the bus station. The most interesting day is Friday, when the Otomis and the Matlatzincas from all around flock and bring a lot of diverse products which overflow on the neighbor place.

     Right picture : "Portales" of Toluca

You should see the Museum of Fine Arts, (completely remodeled in 2001 - open 10 AM-6 PM Tue-Sun) with its beautiful façade. It is located downtown behind the palace of the Governor. It is a seventeenth century old Carmelite convent whose art collection illustrates the New Spain of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Around the place of the Martyrs stand volcanic stone buildings with many archways lined with restaurants and boutiques. Toluca houses numerous museums. Go and see the museums José María Velasco (Tue-Sun, 10 AM-6 PM) and the Museum Felipe Gutiérrez, displaying works from these two painters of the nineteenth century.

museum of anthropology of the State of Mexico in Toluca 8 km (5 miles) from the center, the Centro Cultural Mexiquense comprises the Museum of Anthropology and History, the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Popular Arts as well as a library. This center is very interesting. It is open from 10 AM to 6 PM from Tuesday to Sunday. Be aware that the museum of popular art is open until 5:45 PM except on Sunday (2:45 PM). The entrance fee for the three museums is MXN$10.

The State of Mexico Cultural Center displays a big tlalpanhuehuetl, wooden carved war drum, used by the Aztecs and found in Malinalco. There is a copy in the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. The Popular Art Museum displays examples of traditional and modern art and craft, among them are very nice fabrics.

Left picture : museum of anthropology of the State of Mexico in Toluca

cathedral of Toluca The city also has interesting churches, especially the Cathedral, the Church del Carmen, the Church of the Merced, the Church of Santa Veracruz, the Church Santa Clara, the Church de Santa Maria de Guadalupe, the Church of San José El Ranchito and numerous chapels.

church of Veracruz

Right picture : cathedral of Toluca

West of the city is the church of Our Lady of Tecajic, Indian popular sanctuary where there is a much venerated image, painted on coarse cloth. 


Left picture : church of Veracruz


stained glasses of this beautiful garden

Don’t miss the Botanical Garden Cosmovitral (open Tue-Fri 10 AM-6 PM and Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM, MXN$10). The Cosmovitral is a botanical garden of 3 500 m² (0.86 acres), located in the historic center. The building that houses the botanical garden is an impressing wrought iron and glass Art nouveau structure from the early twentieth century. During Porfiriato, it was the city market called Market of September 16.
The structure was completed in 1933, comprising an artistic space with a kaleidoscope of the 65 colors of the stained glass produced by local craftsmen and Tolucan artist Leopoldo Flores, since 1978.

     Some pictures of the stained glasses of this beautiful garden


Map of the city :

Small video about the Botanical Garden in Toluca
The Cosmovitral monument, as its name suggests, is the biggest stained glass in the world (3,200 m2 or 0.79 acres of stained glass windows). It is an impressive work of Mexican Leopoldo Flores, whose main theme revolves around the duality and universal antagonisms, in a game of filtered and multicolored lights. It is fantastic ! The stained glass windows are beautiful and bright ! It is pleasant to stroll in, looking at the multitude of plants from diverse parts of the world.

Cosmovitral Botanical Garden in Toluca Left picture : Cosmovitral Botanical Garden in Toluca and right picture : Nevado de Toluca from the Cultural Center Mexiquense in Toluca

Nevado de Toluca from the Cultural Center Mexiquense in Toluca












Information about Toluca : www.mitoluca.com.mx/croquis.htm



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