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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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,
Map of the city :
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.
Information about Toluca : www.mitoluca.com.mx/croquis.htm
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