Chihuahua, Mexico

Chihuahua is a city surprisingly rich in architectural beauty, historical heritage and cultural events. Surprising, because to many it seems to be one of the main centers of drug trafficking and crime in Mexico – and this is also true. It is also true that here you can eat excellently, ride along the most beautiful railway line in the country, make trouble, play with miniature dogs on the streets, see dozens of modern and classical sculptures and spend dozens of hours in city museums.

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A ride on a funny train through the mountains and valleys through 35 bridges and 86 tunnels gives tourists the opportunity to admire really stunning pictures.

How to get to Chihuahua

The city is served by the local airport Roberto Fierro, which is 18 km from Chihuahua. But most often they come here by buses that connect Chihuahua with all major Mexican cities.

A bit of history

The main city of the eponymous state of Chihuahua was founded in the early 18th century by the Spaniards. The place for the settlement was not chosen by chance: here the full-flowing Sacramento merged with Chuviscar, and here the path from Parral to the Rio Grande passed. During the war, the Mexican government of Benito Juarez settled in the city, and although this state of affairs lasted only 3 years, the city began to grow rapidly. In the early 20th century, rebels led by Pancho Villa were based here. And at the end of the 20th century, the economy of Chihuahua was incredibly spurred by the transfer of factories of large American corporations to its vicinity.

Alas, the Chihuahua’s reputation for crime is far from flawless. Wars of drug lords with each other rage here constantly. The main Mexican cartel, Sipaloa, is based in Chihuahua – less numerous than the Tijuan Arellano, but at the same time supplying tons of hard drugs to the United States.

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Entertainment and attractions in Chihuahua

The colonial part of the city is very beautiful. There are many pedestrian areas, amazing mansions, ancient churches and beautiful squares. The remaining areas of the city are typically Latin American and are not of particular interest to tourists. Unlike more southern Mexican cities, the locals are quite friendly to tourists. Therefore, you are unlikely to get an unpleasant experience exploring the city on your own during the daytime. By the way, this can be done with the help of a cartoonish look of the El Tarahumara retro trolley bus, which copies the urban transport of the early 20th century with its appearance.

4 things to do in Chihuahua:

  1. Buy cowboy boots. An incredible number of shops selling exclusively them are located on Ocampo Street.
  2. See the colonial aqueduct built in the 18th century.
  3. Take a picture of the modern sculpture “Tree of Life” at the northern entrance to the city – avant-garde, like all the creations of Sebastian.
  4. Be sure to take a ride on the “Chepe” along the Copper Canyon.

One of the must-see sights is the Cathedral of San Francisco. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, “Father of the Nation”, one of the most revered heroes of Mexico’s struggle for independence from the Spaniards (executed by the latter), was originally buried in the cathedral in 1811. After the country gained independence, the body was taken to Mexico City, but the Cathedral of St. Francis is still considered one of the most valuable architectural objects of the city. This is one of the few surviving monuments of the colonial era and the main Catholic shrine of Chihuahua. The construction of the cathedral began in 1715 and was completed in the middle of the century; its appearance is typical of the architecture of the Franciscan order – the cathedral looks simple, humble and snow-white.

Plaza de Armas, “Plaza de Armas” is the very center of the city, which is traditional for Spanish colonial buildings. This is a large square, which today is adjoined by a small pedestrian street with shops and restaurants. On the square stands a beautiful building of the old City Hall built in the early 20th century. And opposite rises the main religious landmark of the city – the cathedral on Libertad Street. It is a fine example of baroque architecture and one of the tallest cathedrals in Mexico. At the cathedral there is a museum of religious art.

Of interest is the Government Palace with a central patio and murals around; however, it is not easy to get inside. Since the assassination of Governor Patricio Martinez right on the steps, the security of the palace has been strengthened several times. The “Father of the Nation” was executed in the palace, and the Altar of the Motherland was installed at this place. Bypassing the palace, you can get to the museum of local history through the back entrance. And behind the Government Palace, at the Dancing Fountains, is the Federal Palace, built in the early 20th century. Previously, there was a prison here, then a post office, and since 2004, the Casa Chihuahua Art Museum has been opened in the palace. A special national shrine that is located inside the palace is the prison cell in which the Spaniards kept Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.

On the streets of Chihuahua there are really a lot – a lot – of dogs of this breed. But they do not look the same at all, varying greatly in color, size and shaggy. Creatively minded owners enhance this effect by painting their dogs in the brightest and most acidic shades.

Another very visible and lively city square is the Plaza Mayor. Since 2003, a sculptural Angel of Liberty has been standing on a high column on it. The angel holds a sword in his hand with a laser in the tip, and can rotate around its axis. In addition to the Angel, several more heroic monuments are installed on the square, as well as fountains and green recreation areas, which attract vacationers here.

The Chihuahua Museum of Decorative Arts occupies the beautiful Art Nouveau mansion of Quinta Gameros. The Museum of Contemporary Art Cassa Redonda is located on the corner of Avenue Colon and Calle Escudero in an early 19th century building. Previously, this building, whose name translates as “round house”, belonged to the National Railway Company. And the Museum of the Revolution is located in the former home of Pancho Villa, a revolutionary hero, and here you can see many items related to him personally, in particular, the car in which Villa was killed. Also in the city there is a museum of republican government – it is also the Cassa Juarez Museum, whose expositions are dedicated to the reign of President Benito Juarez.

Chihuahua also has a mammoth museum with 13 rooms where you can see expositions dedicated to the era of dinosaurs and an exhibition of prehistoric art.

The city has many beautiful old buildings that previously belonged to the local rich. These are, for example, the Creel mansion, the Terrazas mansion, the Quinta Carolina mansion – the former summer residence of Don Luis Terrazas. The residential quarter on Zarko Avenue is also worth a look: here are concentrated some of the most impressive houses of the pre-revolutionary era. There are also many restaurants, cafes and bars; and most importantly, the nightlife in the area is quite safe.

The famous contemporary sculptor Sebastian was born in Chihuahua. He favored his native city with a number of monumental works, the most famous of which can be considered “The Door”. This intricately curved bright red metal structure, one of the tallest in the world, is located in the southern part of the city, on the highway that leads to the city of Delicias.

Trip through the Copper Canyon

Chihuahua is the starting point of the famous Chihuahua-Pacific Railway, which runs through the Copper Canyon and connects the city with coastal Los Mochis – “el Chepe”. And this trip is definitely worth taking if you have at least a little extra time. A ride on a funny train through the mountains and valleys through 35 bridges and 86 tunnels gives tourists the opportunity to admire really stunning pictures. These are small villages, and green gorges with waterfalls, and majestic panoramas of mountain peaks from a height of almost 2.5 km above sea level, and colorful characters at the stations selling wicker baskets and hats.

The way to Los Mochis is not short and takes from 14 to 16 hours, depending on whether you are traveling by regular train or express. The trains have dining cars, and at each station you can buy a lot of delicious things from local grandmothers, so the journey is quite comfortable. Then you can either return from Los Mochis to Chihuahua by plane, or stay on the coast of the Gulf of California.

Palomar Central Park, modern and landscaped, is also definitely worth a visit. It was once difficult to imagine an idea worse than walking around this area. Today, many sculptures are installed in the Pigeon Park, including the Three Doves, which gave the name to the park. Concerts, art events and large parties are also held here.

Chihuahua is famous for its authentic local NorteƱo cuisine – in principle, quite similar to the classic Tex-Mex. However, her dishes are considered quite healthy: they are usually based on beef, cheese and chili.

In the eastern part of the city, in Nombre de Dios, there is another interesting attraction of Chihuahua. This is a large cave system with stalactites and stalagmites – Grutas de Nombre de Dios. You can get here by city bus. Floors are laid inside and handrails are laid, so there are no difficulties with exploring the caves.

Chihuahua, Mexico